How to Get Cast in a DC Comics Movie or TV Show

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Photo Source: Frank Masi/Jonathan Olley/™ & © DC Comics/Warner Bros/Katie Yu/HBO Max

DC Comics is responsible for releasing more than 100 movies (and counting) over the course of 70 years, beginning with 1951’s “Superman and the Mole Men.” Since then, the comic book giant has repeatedly reinvented itself, making its mark with hits like 1978’s “Superman” and 21st century offerings like “Justice League,” “Aquaman,” “The Dark Knight,” and “Wonder Woman.” DC’s also a force on television, with more than 80 series to its name, ranging from classics like 1952’s “Adventures of Superman” and 1966’s “Batman” to modern shows like the CW’s “The Flash” and HBO Max’s “Doom Patrol.” 

If you want to show off your acting chops in the DC Universe’s next big box office hit, we have some tips on how to get involved. From what’s in the works to advice from actors who have appeared in the DCU, here’s our guide to getting cast in this mega-franchise.

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What is DC Comics?

DC Comics, one of America’s oldest comic book companies, published its first title—the namesake “Detective Comics #1”—in 1937. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, and Catwoman are among the iconic banner’s most famous characters. The comics have spawned a whole universe of movies and TV shows revolving around its superheroes and supervillains. Along with “The Batman,” the latest installment in the adventures of the Caped Crusader, starring Robert Pattinson, 2022 also saw the release of “Black Adam” starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as the newest DCU superhero to join the big-screen pantheon. 

Now, as the DCU prepares to embark on a new journey guided by James Gunn (“The Suicide Squad,” Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy”) and producer Peter Safran (“Peacemaker,” “Aquaman”), the franchise will reboot some classic characters, while also introducing us to those we haven’t yet seen on the big screen as part of the current cinematic universe, including Swamp Thing and Booster Gold.

Which actors are in the ensembles of DC movies and TV shows?

DC’s films have featured some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Christopher Reeve (1978’s “Superman”), Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson (1989’s “Batman”), Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, and Morgan Freeman (Christopher Nolan’s “Batman” series), Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix (who both won Oscars for playing the Joker, in 2008’s “The Dark Knight” and 2019’s “Joker,” respectively), Ryan Reynolds (2013’s “Green Lantern”), Henry Cavill (2013’s “Man of Steel”), Ben Affleck (2016’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”), and Idris Elba (2021’s “The Suicide Squad”). 

And don’t forget about the women of the DC Universe, including Margot Kidder (“Superman”), Kim Basinger (“Batman”), Michelle Pfeiffer (1992’s “Batman Returns”), Nicole Kidman (1995’s “Batman Forever”), Halle Berry (2004’s “Catwoman”), Anne Hathaway (2012’s “The Dark Knight Rises”), Amy Adams (“Man of Steel”), Gal Gadot (2017’s “Wonder Woman”), and Margot Robbie (2020’s “Birds of Prey”). 

Many Hollywood heavy hitters have also starred in DC Comics series, including Adam West and Eartha Kitt (1966’s “Batman”), Lynda Carter (1975’s “Wonder Woman”), Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher (1993’s “Lois & Clark”), Tom Welling (2001’s “Smallville”), Regina King (2019’s “Watchmen”), Ruby Rose (2019’s “Batwoman”), Brendan Fraser (2019’s “Doom Patrol”), and Kaley Cuoco (2019’s “Harley Quinn”).

Harley Quinn

How does the casting process work for DC Universe movies and TV shows?

The DCU is so well-known that it can feel overwhelming to even audition. However, it’s critical to trust your creative instincts. That’s how Gal Gadot won the role of Wonder Woman, making her debut as the superhero in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” 

The movie’s director, Zack Snyder, discussed Gadot’s audition with Ben Affleck in an interview with Film Junkee. “They were doing a scene that’s not in the movie; we had just written it for the audition,” Snyder said. “[Gal] was just confronting [Affleck’s Batman] about his drinking—or, I don’t know, something intense. And so she says something to him at the end of the scene; it’s kind of a riff on the: ‘You’ve never known a woman like me.’ And then in casting, he’s doing the scene like this: [makes a serious face]. And then she says it, and he goes, ‘Whoa.’ And it was awesome, because we were just like, ‘I guess this is Wonder Woman.’” 

But even stars have their doubts. Christian Bale told MTV that he felt like he screwed up his “Batman Begins” audition. “I got there. They put me in Val Kilmer’s [who played the role in ‘Batman Forever’] suit,” Bale said. “It didn’t even fit properly, and I stood in it, and I went, ‘I feel like an idiot. What kind of guy walks around dressed like a bat?’ I went, ‘I can’t do this in a normal voice. I have to become a beast in order to sell this to myself.’ I went home that evening, and my wife said, ‘How’d it go?’ I went, ‘I kind of did this.’ And I showed her, and she went, ‘Oh, you fucked that one up, didn’t you?’ Thank God they went for it.”

But what can actors expect now that Gunn is at the helm? When a fan reached out to the filmmaker on Twitter discouraging him from bringing “Guardians” actors into the DCU, Gunn tweeted: “We have hundreds of roles to cast. As I’ve always done, some will be brand-new faces, some will be actors I’ve worked with before, and some will be actors you know who I’ve never worked with. What matters most is [that] the actor fits the role and they’re easy to work with.” With big names like Cavill now leaving the DCU, it’s safe to say there will soon be more room for unknowns to make their mark.

Shazam

What projects are currently filming?

Most of DC’s films, such as “Blue Beetle,” are in postproduction and many of its shows are nearing the end—the CW’s “The Flash” will end after Season 9, and its “Superman & Lois” likely only has “one or two more seasons” left. On Jan. 31, Gunn revealed his plans for the universe now that he and Safran are co-CEOs of DC Studios. Referred to as “Chapter 1,” the DCU equivalent to Marvel’s “Phase 1,” this first round of films and series will be called “Gods and Monsters.” Kicking off in 2025, this Chapter will consist of 10 movies and shows, with two of each released in theaters and on HBO Max, respectively.

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Here’s what you can look forward to:

Movies:

  • “Superman: Legacy”
  • “The Authority”
  • “The Brave and the Bold”
  • “Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow”
  • “Swamp Thing”

TV shows: 

  • “Creature Commandos”
  • “Waller”
  • “Booster Gold”
  • “Lanterns”
  • “Paradise Lost”

Additionally, projects outside the main DC universe will be considered "Elseworlds," with two in active development: Matt Reeves's "The Batman - Part II" and Todd Phillips's "Joker: Folie à Deux." keep you updated on all the latest news about DC’s new chapter right here.

The Batman

 

Where can you find DC Comics casting calls and auditions?

While there are currently no opportunities available in DCU movies or series, be sure to keep an eye on our casting calls page for updates—especially when filming for Chapter 1 begins. In the meantime, check out our superhero casting roundup for your chance to join an action-packed project. You can also read our guide to landing a role on HBO Max’s “Titans” for insight into what the DCU tends to look for when it comes to TV casting.

Who are the casting directors for DC Comics movies and TV shows?

While the massive DC franchise employs a number of CDs across its many projects, Kristy Carlson is a name to know, according to Deadline. She is currently the head of the feature casting department at Warner Bros. Pictures, which owns DC Comics. Prior to that, Carlson was the senior vice president of the department; she has been at the studio since 1999. She served as casting director for DC films, including “Wonder Woman” and its sequel, “Justice League,” “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “Man of Steel,” and “Watchmen.” She also worked in the casting departments on the “Harry Potter” films, “Edge of Tomorrow,” “Crazy Rich Asians,” and “A Star Is Born.”

The Flash

What are the best audition tips for landing a role in a DC Comics movie or TV show?

Michael Keaton, who played Bruce Wayne in director Tim Burton’s 1989 “Batman” and its 1992 sequel, “Batman Returns,” discussed his approach to auditions on an episode of Backstage’s In the Envelope: The Actor’s Podcast. “I made this decision: I never looked at an audition as an audition again,” he said. “I looked at it like: Oh, I have a job. Here’s my job. I have a script. I went to work. If I was only there 25 minutes, when I left, I was getting off work. So I said, ‘It doesn’t matter if I got the job. I already got the job.’ It may take a while, but it’ll pay off in the long run.”

Ben Affleck, on the other hand, who donned Batman’s cape in 2016’s “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” and 2017’s “Justice League,” advised actors to always come prepared—something he did not truly learn until he began directing. “I realized, ‘Oh, this is what works, this is what doesn't work.’ So many times I didn't know the lines; I just thought I'd just hold the pages. Only when I started directing did I think, ‘No one has ever gotten a part just from holding their pages,’” he shared. “Don’t even bother going in if you haven't memorized it or can at least play the scene. So many times I didn't make the time to do it, and I would go in and stumble through and wonder why I didn't get the call.

Halle Berry, who played the titular character in 2004’s “Catwoman,” emphasized the importance of perseverance and believing in yourself. “If you want to be seen in a certain light and there’s no role for you, create it,” she told us. “That requires being focused, being tenacious, not taking no for an answer, and really having a desire to do something that you love. It’s about believing in yourself—believing that you can do it.”

Regina King, who starred in the Emmy-winning HBO limited series “Watchmen,” said that finding a common bond with your character is essential to success. “Although a character is not you, it’s kind of your job as an actor to find a bit of you in that character, because that’s what allows you to play it honestly,” King told us. “I know it sounds crazy, but you could even be playing a murderer. Finding something in there…that you the actor can connect to—that’s what our job is.”

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