How exactly do they get people to play parts where they are supposed to be ugly? Do they advertise for ugly people? I recall in the Aussie soap “Prisoner Cell Block H” (yes I know it was just called “Prisoner” in Aussie) Judy (played by Betty Bobbit) was called a “Fat Cow” in every other episode.
I realize the actors must know that they are fat but do they mind?
To quoted from “The Simpsons” when Moe tried out for a soap opera part and lost it as he was too ugly…The casting director says “I wanted Mary Ann from Gilligans Island ugly, not ugly, ugly”
Whether or not they actually use such tactics, I once had the notion for a want ad that would read something like:
WANTED: Ugly, ignorant rednecks for crowd scenes in upcoming Burt Reynolds movie to be filmed locally. Must have few teeth, bad hair, be at least 50 lbs. overweight, own no clothes that fit, and have bad skin and other features that render them offensive and otherwise contemptible. Please apply at 423 Court St., Room 40B, between 5:30-8:30 AM Mon-Thu.
You’d be surprised at how tickled some actors are that their ugliness is actually a career plus. “Character” actors aren’t expected to be good-looking. They don’t command the salaries of Brad and Gwyneth, but their careers last a lot longer. I’d rather have Steve Buscemi’s career than, say, Peter Scolari’s. Or Harvey Keitel’s instead of John Davidson’s.
Shelley Winters, quite the babe back in the 50s, was actually advised by her acting teacher to put on some weight. “You’ll never be out of work.” And by God, she never was. The streets of LA are littered with beautiful actor wannabes.
I’m signed up with a couple of talent agencies, as is pretty much everyone else. The TV stations and ad agencies (I don’t know how movie producers work) basically just call up the agency, spell out exactly what they’re looking for, and ask the agency if they have anyone who fits the description. “Ugly,” like “beautiful” is subjective and inexact, so the requests are usually along the lines of “the character’s 40-ish, balding and really overweight/ a twentyish thug/ a street prostitute and drug addict/ a young waiter with a really big nose/etc.” The agencies, when calling up actors to see if they’re available, will usually be straightforward with what the role is.
Basically, if you’ve decided to get into acting (or just walking across the background, as I usually end up doing), you’re probably already very familiar with how you look and where that look fits, and have accepted what kind of roles you’ll get and what kind you won’t. Most of all, you understand that it’s just a role, not a personal character judgement. Those who do get insulted by it most likely quit.