Moviemaking: What determines whether an actor is cast in a part in Hollywood? 11 answers on Quora
Here's my answer:
Bankability, bankability, bankability. I'm often sadly disappointed by the negative artistic effect of the Hollywood system. Once in a while an inspired and passionate director like Richard Donner will come along and cast someone because they are the perfect one for the part, not because Hollywood executives have crunched their numbers and hedged their bet. Ergo Christopher Reeve as Superman. The numbers guys wanted Robert Redford to be Superman. As ridiculous as that would have been, it is no more ridiculous than many of the films today and their choice of stars.
The numbers guys are not always right. Their numerical crystal ball is imperfect. Take The Tourist for example. Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. People should be banging down the theater doors to watch it, right? Wrong. Domestic Gross: a measly 67 million.
Let us never forget that film is, and always must be, an art. The left-brained analyzers will always need need to be held in check by the right-brained creatives. Take away creativity and art, and what is film? (Answer: A useful technology for scientists to study animal motion.) If what we want is to do is crunch numbers and be logical, we can work for an accounting firm or do something else that appeals a heck of a lot more to that side of the brain.
Let's cast our vote, by not just mindlessly watching whatever cookie-cutter, horribly written, trite "bankable star" flick Hollywood lobs at us, but by choosing to watch films that obviously stand head and shoulders above the rest as thoughtfully and creatively made, and contributing meaningfully to our human existence
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