Mad Dog Casting

Following the world premiere of Fantastic Beasts, Mad Dog 2020 reveal some of the secrets from the wonderful world of extras casting; finding and selecting men and women to play the human backdrop against which the main players act out their craft.

Film and TV extras casting is always demanding but for a film like Fantastic Beasts, the exacting standards needed to create the on-screen magic which sweep the audience into another world are even higher. The combination of magic and reality means every detail is considered, this is background casting at a high level. Mad Dog 2020 worked closely with the Crowd Second, Art Department, Costume and Make-up to bring the vision to life for the different groups needed, including the Macusa, Aura, and the Blind Pig.

With an extensive book, the search for the right people started with existing Mad Dog 2020 artists. Around two thirds of the Mad Dog 2020 artists who worked on the film were already registered, and outreach and special casting sessions were used to find the remaining third.

Mad Dog 2020 trawled their extensive database for people with exactly the right look, clothes size and skills where required. Availability was also key with many of those involved working up to ten days on the film over the course of three months and some working for much longer. The re-creation of 1920’s New York meant finding new men and women to join the books in the shooting locations; London and Liverpool, who looked like the people in New York a century ago.

Just like Tarzan, where we had to go and find people who would play tribesmen for weeks on end, we needed to find a myriad of additional people to represent the hustle and bustle of New York. In the run-up to casting, some of the Mad Dog 2020 team spent weekends visiting community events. They were made very welcome at community events, including the London Italian Community – rumour has it the team were well fed!

From these events, people were invited in for special open castings. Attention to detail is a watchword for films, TV and commercials but for this production to create the magical look, it was even more important. Everyone involved was individually selected.

The roles varied from body doubles and stand-ins for the stars, walk-ons, featured roles and background. Availability was important as everyone involved had to be fitted for costumes, hair and makeup and acting training was given to those involved, with each person being given a role or character.

Many of those who joined Mad Dog 2020 to work on Fantastic Beasts have gone on to work on other productions – their involvement with Fantastic Beasts has given them the bug for being on set. It is a Mad Dog 2020 extra who magically repairs New York after an incident!

Everyone involved had an amazing time, and having been sworn to secrecy, can at last talk about their experiences as the film is released.

Films like Fantastic Beasts are those which the whole industry wants to say they worked on. Mad Dog 2020 are proud to have been part of this amazing film.


Mad Dog 2020 Extras at a special screening. Photography by Mick Ryan Photography


To find out more about how Mad Dog 2020 find fantastic extras for you, read the latest blog post or get in touch with a member of the team today.

Contact Mad Dog 2020 on 0207 305 5272, or get in touch via our contact page, for assistance with extras casting for commercials, film and television.

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