As production trends change and more and more TV and films are internationally co-funded, productions made in the UK can be set anywhere in the world, in any era. The casting demands for background artists, as well as for the featured cast, can be very specific and it can be difficult for extras to know how their look will fare at a casting. Extras can make sure they have the right photos, attitude and skills, but when it comes down to it, whether they get the work can depend on their look.
At Mad Dog 2020, we are regularly asked what kind of looks our clients are currently asking us to find. We asked our Film Project Manager, Hattie Mark, to give an indication of the most popular looks at the moment.
The type of look that clients ask us for depends on the time that the shoot is set in as well as the style the Director is seeking to create. For period dramas, we often need people who are slim, have long hair, beards are an asset, and generally no piercings, died hair or tattoos, with notable exceptions like Pirates of the Caribbean. When we are working on war films or even those with police and security in, we need people who have actual military or police experience and sometimes we need extras who are willing to have a drastic haircut in order to look like they are from a particular era. For more modern day films, the hipster look is incredibly popular at the moment; think beards, top knots, thick glasses and checked shirts.
The location also matters when casting extras. If the shoot is set in a different country, the type of look we would be casting for would need to be tailored to the local region, and we would be looking for people who are originally from that country, if possible.
As soon as the second Assistant Director, Line Producer or the Production Manager present our Casting Executives with a full breakdown of the production, and a brief detailing the quantity of film extras required, as well as the look that they wish to create and the availability required, Mad Dog 2020 begin looking for the right people for the film from their book of registered artists.
Sometimes the requirement is so specific in terms of looks, skills or geography that Mad Dog 2020 bring in the people needed through outreach, working closely with the production team on casting if a large number of people need to be found for a specific location.
Mad Dog 2020’s expertise in street casting is used when large numbers of very specific people are needed, from the 550 Tribesmen for the Legend of Tarzan who had three very different distinct looks for each tribe; they had to be physically fit, one tribe was made up of 250 men over 6 feet tall and available for continuity for two months.
Mad Dog 2020 undertook extensive street casting to find the right people for the Casino scenes in Skyfall, finding over 300 Chinese people including experienced Casino staff to ensure that the scenes looked completely authentic.
Mad Dog 2020 held open castings in Dorset for Far From the Madding Crowd to find over 500 people with the period look needed, including a core group of 80 who were needed for many of the shoots.
Mad Dog 2020 offer a vast and diverse library of artists for film, television and commercials. With artists from all walks of life and communities, Mad Dog 2020 are committed to finding the perfect face(s) for you.
If we don’t already have the ideal extra for you on our books, our team of experienced Casting Executives will outsource talented artists to fit your brief, no matter how obscure or challenging.
To find out more about casting extras for film, television and commercials, call Mad Dog 2020 on 0207 269 7910 or email us via the Contact Us page on our website.