Ensemble cast

Last updated

In a dramatic production, an ensemble cast is one which comprises multiple principal actors and performers who are typically assigned roughly equal amounts of screen time. [1] [2]

Contents

Structure

In contrast to the popular model which gives precedence to a sole protagonist, an ensemble cast leans more towards a sense of "collectivity and community". [3]

Cinema

Ensemble casts in film were introduced as early as September 1916, with D. W. Griffith's silent epic film Intolerance , featuring four separate though parallel plots. [4] The film follows the lives of several characters over hundreds of years, across different cultures and time periods. [5] The unification of different plot lines and character arcs is a key characteristic of ensemble casting in film; whether it's a location, event, or an overarching theme that ties the film and characters together. [4]

Films that feature ensembles tend to emphasize the interconnectivity of the characters, even when the characters are strangers to one another. [6] The interconnectivity is often shown to the audience through examples of the "six degrees of separation" theory, and allows them to navigate through plot lines using cognitive mapping. [6] Examples of this method, where the six degrees of separation is evident in films with an ensemble cast, are in productions such as Love Actually, Crash and Babel , which all have strong underlying themes interwoven within the plots that unify each film. [4]

The Avengers , X-Men and Justice League are three examples of ensemble casts in the superhero genre. [7] In The Avengers, there is no need for a single central protagonist as each character shares equal importance in the narrative, successfully balancing the ensemble cast. [8] Referential acting is a key factor in executing this balance, as ensemble cast members "play off each other rather than off reality". [3]

Hollywood movies with ensemble casts tend to use numerous actors of high renown and/or prestige, instead of one or two "big stars" and a lesser-known supporting cast.

Other notable films with ensemble casts

Television

Ensemble casting also became more popular in television series because it allows flexibility for writers to focus on different characters in different episodes. In addition, the departure of players is less disruptive than would be the case with a regularly structured cast. The television series The Golden Girls and Friends are archetypal examples of ensemble casts in American sitcoms. The science-fiction mystery drama Lost also features an ensemble cast. Ensemble casts of 20 or more actors are common in soap operas, a genre that relies heavily on the character development of the ensemble. [12] The genre also requires continuous expansion of the cast as the series progresses, with soap operas such as General Hospital , Days of Our Lives and The Bold and the Beautiful staying on air for decades. [13]

An example of a success for television in ensemble casting is the Emmy Award-winning HBO series Game of Thrones . The epic fantasy series features one of the largest ensemble casts on the small screen. [14] The series is notorious for major character deaths, resulting in constant changes within the ensemble. [15]

Other notable television shows with ensemble casts [16]

See also

Related Research Articles

A comedy film is a category of film in which the main emphasis is on humor. These films are designed to make the audience laugh through amusement and most often work by exaggerating characteristics for humorous effect. Films in this style traditionally have a happy ending. One of the oldest genres in film—and derived from the classical comedy in theatre—

Monty Python British surreal comedy group

Monty Python were a British surreal comedy troupe who created the sketch comedy television show Monty Python's Flying Circus, which first aired on the BBC in 1969. Forty-five episodes were made over four series. The Python phenomenon developed from the television series into something larger in scope and influence, including touring stage shows, films, albums, books and musicals. The Pythons' influence on comedy has been compared to the Beatles' influence on music. Regarded as an enduring icon of 1970s pop culture, their sketch show has been referred to as being "an important moment in the evolution of television comedy".

Alan Dale Actor

Alan Hugh Dale is a New Zealand-born actor. As a child, Dale enjoyed theatre and rugby. After retiring from the sport, he took on a number of occupations, before deciding to become a professional actor at age 27. With work limited in New Zealand, Dale moved to Australia, where he played Dr. John Forrest in The Young Doctors from 1979 to 1982. He later appeared as Jim Robinson in Neighbours, a part he played from 1985 until 1993. He left the series when he fell out with the producers over the pay he and the rest of the cast received. In 2018 it was revealed that Dale would reprise his role as Jim for one episode on 25 December, 25 years after his last appearance.

Alexa Havins American actress (born 1980)

Alexa Carole Havins is an American actress. She first came to prominence in 2003, when she became the originating actress in the role of Babe Carey Chandler on the soap opera All My Children. Her role as the flawed but good Babe Carey earned her a Daytime Emmy Award nomination in 2005 and recognition as being half of one of the show's most popular soap opera pairings.

<i>The Aunty Jack Show</i>

The Aunty Jack Show was a Logie Award-winning Australian television comedy series that ran from 1972 to 1973. Produced by and broadcast on ABC-TV, the series attained an instant cult status that persists to the present day.

Epic film style of filmmaking with large scale, sweeping scope, and spectacle

Epic films are a style of filmmaking with large scale, sweeping scope, and spectacle. The usage of the term has shifted over time, sometimes designating a film genre and at other times simply synonymous with big-budget filmmaking. Like epics in the classical literary sense it is often focused on a heroic character. An epic's ambitious nature helps to set it apart from other types of film such as the period piece or adventure film.

Jo Joyner English actress

Joanne Mary Joyner is an English actress. She is known for her roles as Tanya Branning in the BBC soap opera EastEnders and Mandy Carter in Channel 4 drama Ackley Bridge. Since 2018, she has starred as Luella Shakespeare in the BBC crime drama series Shakespeare & Hathaway: Private Investigators.

Gwen Taylor is an English actress who has appeared in many British television programmes. She is known for her roles as Amy Pearce in the sitcom Duty Free (1984–1986); Barbara Liversidge in the sitcom Barbara (1999–2003); Peggy Armstrong in the drama series Heartbeat (2005–2009), Anne Foster in the soap opera Coronation Street (2011–2012) and Violet Highway in BBC soap opera EastEnders (2021–present). She was nominated for the 1990 BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress for her role as Rita Simcock in the comedy series A Bit of a Do (1989). Her film appearances include Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979) and The Lady in the Van (2015).

Ross Davidson

William Russell "Ross" Davidson was a Scottish actor best known for his role as Andy O'Brien in the BBC soap opera EastEnders.

Lyn Ashley is an Australian actress who worked in the United Kingdom on television during the 1960s.

Anthony Lewis is an English actor.

Duke Lavery

Duke Lavery is a fictional character from General Hospital, an American soap opera on the ABC network, primarily portrayed by Ian Buchanan. The role was created by executive producer Gloria Monty and co-head writer Norma Monty. Duke is introduced as the mysterious owner of a local night club who falls in love with police chief Anna Devane. Unbeknownst to the rest of Port Charles, Duke is laundering money for the mob but when his criminal ties cost him Anna, he teams with her ex-husband Robert Scorpio to bring down the mob. Duke and Anna's romance becomes quite popular among fans achieving supercouple status and rivaling Anna's romance with Robert. In 1987, Duke's feud with the Jerome crime family leads to Anna miscarrying their unborn child. Duke and Anna's story comes to a tragic end in 1989 when Duke is presumed dead. The producers would recast the role with Greg Beecroft as Jonathan Paget who was revealed to be Duke with plastic surgery only for the character to be killed off in 1990 – dying in Anna's arms due fan disapproval.

<i>Monty Pythons Flying Circus</i> British sketch comedy television series

Monty Python’s Flying Circus is a British surreal sketch comedy series created by and starring the comedy group Monty Python, consisting of Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam, aka the "Pythons". The first episode was recorded at the BBC on 7 September 1969 and premiered on 5 October on BBC1, with 45 episodes airing over four series from 1969 to 1974, plus two episodes for German TV.

Amy-Leigh Hickman is an English actress. She is known for her roles as Carmen Howle in the CBBC sitcoms Tracy Beaker Returns and The Dumping Ground, Linzi Bragg in the BBC soap opera EastEnders and Nasreen Paracha in the Channel 4 drama Ackley Bridge. Her other roles include Ester Kamali in Strike Back (2013), Sia Marshall in Safe (2018), Mimi Saunders in Our Girl (2020) and Bethany in Innocent (2021).

British comedy films

British comedy films are comedy films produced in the United Kingdom. In the early 1930s, film adaptations of stage farces were popular. British comedy films are numerous, but among the most notable are the Ealing comedies, the 1950s work of the Boulting Brothers, and innumerable popular comedy series including the St Trinian's films, the Doctor series, and the long-running Carry On films. Some of the best known British film comedy stars include Will Hay, George Formby, Norman Wisdom, Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers and the Monty Python team. Other actors associated with British comedy films include Ian Carmichael, Terry-Thomas, Margaret Rutherford, Irene Handl and Leslie Phillips. Most British comedy films of the early 1970s were spin-offs of television series.

<i>Ackley Bridge</i> British television drama series

Ackley Bridge is a British comedy-drama series set in a multicultural academy school of the same name. The series began broadcasting on Channel 4 on 7 June 2017. Following the conclusion of the first series, a second series was announced, which was first broadcast in 2018. After a third series consisting of eight episodes was broadcast in 2019, Ackley Bridge was renewed for a fourth series. While the fourth series was originally set to air in September 2020, filming was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning the series premiered in April 2021. The fourth series saw an overhaul, including an earlier timeslot, shortened runtime, and several new cast members. In June 2021, production on the fifth series of Ackley Bridge commenced.

Joe Gill is a British actor, known for playing the part of Finn Barton in the ITV soap opera Emmerdale.

Sam Retford British actor

Sam Retford is a British actor, known for portraying the role of Cory Wilson on the Channel 4 drama Ackley Bridge. As well as starring in various stage productions, he has also made appearances in television series such as Casualty and Death in Paradise. In 2021, he joined the cast of the ITV soap opera Coronation Street as Curtis Delamere.

Carla Woodcock is an English actress, known for her roles as Susie Garrett on the Netflix series Free Rein and Marina Perry on the Channel 4 series Ackley Bridge.

Mandy Carter (<i>Ackley Bridge</i>) Fictional character from Ackley Bridge

Mandy Carter is a fictional character from the Channel 4 school drama Ackley Bridge, portrayed by Jo Joyner. Mandy first appeared in the pilot episode of the series, first broadcast on 7 June 2017. Mandy was initially introduced as the headteacher of the fictional Ackley Bridge school, and her storylines in the series have included the breakdown of her marriage to Steve Bell, trying to help her mother escape from an abusive marriage to her father, trying to save her school and becoming pregnant.

References

  1. Random House: ensemble acting Linked 2013-07-17
  2. Steven Withrow; Alexander Danner (2007). Character design for graphic novels. Focal Press/Rotovision. p. 112. ISBN   9780240809021 . Retrieved 2009-09-05.
  3. 1 2 Mathijs, Ernest (March 1, 2011). "Referential acting and the ensemble cast". Screen. 52 (1): 89–96. doi:10.1093/screen/hjq063 via academic.oup.com.
  4. 1 2 3 "Ensemble Film, Postmodernity and Moral Mapping". www.screeningthepast.com.
  5. "Intolerance (1916)". www.filmsite.org.
  6. 1 2 Silvey, Vivien (June 5, 2009). "Not Just Ensemble Films: Six Degrees, Webs, Multiplexity and the Rise of Network Narratives". FORUM: University of Edinburgh Postgraduate Journal of Culture & the Arts (8) via www.forumjournal.org.
  7. Child, Ben (April 23, 2012). "Avengers Assemble disarms the critics" via www.theguardian.com.
  8. "Joss Whedon talks in depth about the ensemble cast of 'The Avengers'". www.hypable.com. November 19, 2011. Retrieved 2020-06-15.
  9. Gaughan, Liam. "What makes a good movie with an ensemble cast?". dallas news. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  10. Ehenulo, Kelechi. "A Fish Called Wanda – Throwback Review". setthetape.com. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
  11. 1 2 Mathijis, Ernest. "Referential acting and the ensemble cast". academic.oup.com. Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  12. "View of Soap operas and the history of fan discussion | Transformative Works and Cultures". journal.transformativeworks.org.
  13. "The Survival of Soap Opera (Part Two):The History and Legacy of Serialized Television". Henry Jenkins.
  14. Campbell, Scott (June 10, 2014). "David Cameron: 'I'm a Game of Thrones fan'" via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  15. Brereton, Adam (June 12, 2013). "The Game of Thrones: Nobody wins, everybody dies". ABC Religion & Ethics.
  16. Goodman, Tim. "Power Rankings! Ensemble Casts". hollywood reporter. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  17. "Ackley Bridge series 2 cast: Who is in the cast of Ackley Bridge on Channel 4?". Daily Express . Retrieved 23 June 2020.