Nov 28
CASTING by Corie Henson  |  Posted in Articles  |  on Thu, Nov 28, 2013

Ask any theater booker on a planned movie project and the advice would be to have a good casting. “Hindi tatayo ang pelikula kung walang artista,” that means the cast should include at least one popular actor (or actress).

Casting is one factor that separates an indie from a mainstream movie. The more popular an actor, the higher the talent fee. Ang mga unang indie movies ay walang sikat na actor sa kanilang cast due to budgetary constraint.

Maybe that’s the main reason why early indie movies did not earn. “For so many years ay wala namang kumitang indie dahil walang patronage,” claimed a booker. Another thing, walang venue dahil hindi pa equipped ng digital projector ang mga theaters.

Mother Lily of Regal Films is one producer who firmly believes in good casting. In fact, tinawag siyang star maker sa kanyang mga Regal Babies. Halos lahat ng movies ni Maricel Soriano, Snooky Serna at Dina Bonnevie ay blockbuster sa box office.

Good casting din ang formula ng Tanging Ina that set a record in box office sales in 2003. The film starred Aiai Delas Alas in the title role, with her various husbands played in cameo roles by Edu Manzano, Jestoni Alarcon and Tonton Gutierrez.

For support, Tanging Ina has Marvin Agustin, Shaina Magdayao, Eugene Domingo, Heart Evangelista, Carlo Aquino, Nikki Valdez, Alwyn Uytingco, Serena Darymple, Jiro Manio, Kaye Abad, Angelica Panganiban and John Prats.

“Malaki talaga ang puhunan,” sabi ng isang moviegoer patungkol sa heavy cast ng Tanging Ina. But the gamble paid off for Star Cinema which bankrolled the project. Understandably, the success of Tanging Ina gave birth to sequels.

The sequels of Tanging Ina had the same big number of cast. And the formula didn’t fail because all the sequels of Tanging Ina earned more than 100 million pesos. Kasama na rito ang last episode na Enteng Ng Ina Mo with Vic Sotto.

Ayon kay Martin Scorsese, “More than 90% of directing a picture is the right casting.” Acting skills ang concern ni Scorsese dahil bale wala ang ganda ng script at husay ng directing kung sablay naman ang acting.

An example of a miscast are the movies that starred Manny Pacquiao. Anak Ni Kumander, an action movie, was a certified flop and Wapakman, a comedy, was a box office failure as well. Both movies were entries to the Metro Manila Film Festival.

Bukod sa hindi talagang actor si Pacman ay wala siyang following sa movies. “He failed to translate his popularity in boxing into box office numbers,” sabi ng isang veteran writer sa kanyang broadsheet column.

With the success of The Hunger Games, a science fiction novel of Suzanne Collins that earned more than 600 million dollars in 2012, Jennifer Lawrence was a virtual nobody (in spite of nominations from several award-giving bodies).

Ang sabi ni Gavin Polone, isang producer, “Before the Hunger Games, I had Jennifer Lawrence give the best reading for parts on two movies I was casting.” Pero hindi nakapasa si Lawrence. But now? Pinag-aagawan na siya ng mga studios.

The James Bond series is one example of careful casting. The actor playing the role of James Bond was always in focus. May distinct character si James Bond na dapat lumutang sa portrayal ng actor.

Photo from

Sean Connery had 7 movies followed by Roger Moore likewise with 7 films. Timothy Dalton had 2 while Pierce Brosnan had 4. The last James Bond was Daniel Craig with Casino Royale in 2006 and Quantum of Solace in 2008.

Bukod sa lead actor ay selected din ang mga leading ladies o female support ni James Bond. Syempre, sexy at maganda. This is another factor that enhances the quality of James Bond films.

Certified box office hits ang lahat ng James Bond movies. Hindi lamang dahil sa story at set design kundi pati na rin sa casting. The cast should be appropriate to the characters, ayon sa Eon Productions.

Kimmy Dora has two characters in the title role, i.e. Kimmy and Dora with contrasting personalities. Piolo Pascual, the producer, agrees that only Eugene Domingo would fit to play the dual roles.

Versatile comedienne Eugene Domingo

Released in 2009, Kimmy Dora earned almost 80 million from a budget of 20 million pesos. Not bad for an indie with minimal promotion. “Iba kasi si Uge (Eugene), may fan base na yan,” a radio commentator said.

For good casting, here are some tips from Filmonomics:
1. Check the availability of the actors. May kasabihan na it’s not much of the ability but more of the availability. The shooting calendar should be finalized before engaging the actors/actresses.

2. Be aware of the chemistry of your actors. Dapat may rapport ang mga actors sa isa’t isa. It’s not good to cast warring actors in a project.

3. Resolve at once the issue of location. Paano ang shooting kung hindi willing pumunta sa malayo (o delikadong) location ang cast?

4. Confirm the bankability of the actor as regards the box office. You pay a price for the actor’s appeal to the moviegoers.

And if you have second thoughts on the planned casting you can perhaps hire a casting director to do the job.

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