I was wondering how (famous) actors apply for a movie character role. I recently saw that the main character from Arrow wanted to play The Riddler in the new Batman movie. Source

He said himself:

I think all the superheroes are taken now. I'll play The Riddler, okay? It's a villain, but I like The Riddler.

How does it really work? Do the producers of the movie ask him or do they make a list of viable actors or do they need to somehow do auditions or does he (or his agent) just go up to the producers and say, Hey I want to play that character?

What's like the process here?

  • I can't see him like a riddler. I think riddler is too important character and we need someone with more layers , maybe Jake Gyllenhaal, as they are obviously not going to consider Cory Michael Smith.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Jun 15, 2016 at 8:45

2 Answers 2


This can change depending on the scale of the production, the star's profile and the nature of any preferential deals or professional networking that can occur with a specific agent/agency.

You'll notice in all films/TV there is typically a credit for 'Casting', and this is the person in charge of talent acquisition.

A casting agent can be hired on the basis that they have a track record of acquiring a certain level of Star (someone can be chosen if they've consistently landed A-List actors for a role), and it's the casting agents job to 'sell the film' to a prospective star, and to oversee the hiring process. They obviously work closely with the productions producer and a director; if one has been appointed before a star is cast, which isn't as common as you might expect in a Hollywood Studio system, where films are often vehicles for a specific star.

There is no set protocol of whether an actor has to audition, and whether this is a formal process or simply sending in 'a tape' of them reciting part of the script.

It stands to reason that the bigger the star, the less likely they'll have to audition. With someone like Robert De Niro or Christopher Walken, they'll have such a pedigree that the studio knows exactly what it's getting, and will often write the role specifically for that actor.

Contrastingly, if someone is being cast against type (say Arnold Schwarzenegger in a RomCom), odds are they'll still have to audition for the role.

  • I've also heard that big actors will get in touch with the director or producer if they really want to a role. This may happen through their "people"; the actor's agent tells the director's or producer's people that the actor is interested or would be interested if (insert requirements here). Jun 15, 2016 at 20:30
  • I've seen more than one scene in a showbiz movie/TV show where a has-been actor/actress is insulted that they have to "read for a role" (i.e. audition) instead of just having it offered to them. Sep 17, 2016 at 22:28

In some cases, the star may petition for the role.

As evidenced in this article, A-list stars will send gifts or other incentives in an attempt to persuade a studio to give them a role.

In some cases the star doesn't have to audition; they get sent a script (via their agent) and asked if they wish to have the part. In some interviews both stars and directors have mentioned making a direct phone call.

Of course, nepotism can play a part (I'm looking at you, Will Smith).

Auditions for A-listers are quite rare, and usually if an A-list person has had to audition, they'll tend to mention this while promoting the film.

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