Casting Lessons from The World Cup

I love soccer (also known as football). The World Cup is my favorite sporting event. I love it even more than The Super Bowl and The Summer Olympics, and I’ve been watching game after game with excitement. I’m always a casting director, that’s just how my brain works, and some of these players should go into acting after their playing days are over. One of the other joys of watching soccer is that it helps me to practice my Spanish. I love to watch the games on Univision and hear the answers shout “GOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!”

While watching Univsion one day, I was struck by the below commercial for Hyundai, not because of the content or originality, but because I had seen it before. The exact same Hyundai commercial, with the exact same actors had aired on ESPN and only the language and the uniforms were different. Watch and be amazed!

What is the lesson here for actors? Doesn’t this just mean less work to go around if the same actors are playing to different markets? Well, yeah, but it also means that actors need to expand their language skills and think outside of their ethnic backgrounds to see what other ethnicities and backgrounds they can reasonably portray. Hyundai tweaked this commercial for a different market with a simple change of language and jersey. Who knows, they may have aired this same ad all over Europe with the same actors in 10 different languages!

Actors, I encourage you do make a list of the ethnicities you could realistically play and see how you might be able to crack into commercials for that target market. I watch The World Cup and see diverse squads like Brazil, Germany, England, USA, Algeria and more with people of every hue playing for their countries. The world is getting smaller, and it’s time for actors to diversify their portfolios.

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