Are there any rules or other metrics that help determine if a role is considered a leading one or a supporting role? Or is it more like a gut feeling? Clearly, the choice is obvious in many movies such as Terminator or Pitch Black. But how do they determine the lead when there are several "main" characters to choose from?

For example: Lord of the Rings had Elijah Wood (Frodo), Ian McKellen (Gandalf), and Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn). Or Pulp Fiction's John Travolta (Vincent), Samuel L. Jackson (Jules) & Bruce Willis (Butch). How did they determine who was the leading role?

(Not sure what tags to put on this one)

  • @Paulie_D - Related but it doesn't go into what metrics (minutes on screen/salary/etc), if any, are used to help the studio determine who ends up being lead actor/actress.
    – iMerchant
    Feb 27, 2017 at 23:34
  • @iMerchant You mean the answers don't go into those metrics? That would be the fault of the answers, not the question. It still seems pretty much the exact same question. Otherwise you might want ot point out how it isn't and how that existing question doesn't adress what you want to know.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Feb 28, 2017 at 0:03


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