Casting directors reveal why it is so hard to find child actors.
In a recent report by The Hollywood Reporter, casting directors revealed the challenges they face when they are tasked to find child stars for major motion pictures, TV shows and commercial.
Stranger Things casting director Carmen Cuba explains that there are now a growing number of opportunities for young child actors. But, that the supply of young quality actors is not meeting up with the demand. For example, for Stranger Things, Cuba saw 2,000 kids from all over the world.
“The percentage of kids being cast has grown parallel to the amount of projects,” she says. Adding, “I can usually tell from the first audition if it’s going to work.”
The auditions for Stranger Things started with video auditions followed by Skype auditions and the role that received the most submissions was for the role of Nancy, who was ultimately played by Natalia Dyer. “Maybe it was that she represented such an iconic figure for everyone on the creative team — the big sister everyone has a crush on, the teenager finding her way in love, the rebellious daughter, the good student,” she says.
Ultimately, casting directors agree that it requires broader casting requirements in comparison to casting grown-ups. “For adult roles, a lot of times its quality versus quantity,” says Yesi Ramirez, the casting director behind Moonlight. “But for kids, you want to see as much as possible because you want to see what is out there.”
But, it is more than just the child’s acting talent. The parent’s behavior is also being auditioned. From The Hollywood Reporter:
“[Parents’ behavior] can be a deciding factor,” says Modern Family‘s Jeff Greenberg. Screen-testing four children for the role of Joe, he recalls a member of the wardrobe crew confiding that “one of their mothers was being a little difficult. If it got down to it, we would sort of consider that.”
The biggest difference between adult and child casting is the amount of refinement. “Kids are either very raw because they haven’t done that much or they’re very slick because they’ve done
too much,” Greenberg says says.
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