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Does Twitter Really Have the Power to Influence Film Casting?

The Beatles Movies Casting Sparks Debate on the Power of Social Media

Does Twitter Really Have the Power to Influence Film Casting? The Beatles Movies Casting Sparks Debate on the Power of Social Media

Once, we talked about fanservice, or rather, scriptwriters and authors (especially of manga, anime, and TV series) were accused of fanservice—changing plots, dynamics, and characters mid-course based on the audience's tastes and desires, thereby betraying the original intention of the work to become more popular and successful. A mortal sin, hated by true fans, easily recognized and denounced.

Fanservice in the Age of Fandoms and Fancasting

Now, thanks to or because of social networks, the concept of fanservice is increasingly blurred and intangible. Everyone follows everything; a film's success is determined by the virality of its soundtrack, the trends it sparks on TikTok and Twitter, and the weeks-long debates carried on by users about any aspect of it. Just think, in the last few months, of Dune Part 2, Challengers, or Furiosa. Box office results don't even matter. And that's not all. Every time a film is announced for production, the most passionate users (or those keen to follow current trends) engage in bold fancasting, loudly calling for the return of a particular director or actor. As you can imagine, it's always the same faces, the favorites. Leading the pack are Paul Mescal, Timothée Chalamet, Jacob Elordi, Florence Pugh, Zendaya, and many others.

@pisceswithasideoffries #stitch with @RomansEmpire #Rapunzel #Tangled #FlourencePugh #CastingDirectors #FanCast I See the Light - From "Tangled" / Soundtrack Version - Mandy Moore & Zachary Levi

Casting for the Beatles Movies

Sometimes fancasting comes true, or almost. It happened, apparently, with the Beatles movies. Director Sam Mendes is working on four interconnected feature films, one dedicated to each member of the iconic band. Some time ago, Paul Mescal was announced as part of the cast, though it wasn't clear in what role. After all, a versatile actor like him could easily portray any of them. However, this news sparked a series of extravagant fancasts. The actual cast was revealed a few hours ago and... it’s not far from what social media users had imagined. Mescal will play Paul McCartney, Harris Dickinson will portray John Lennon, Barry Keoghan will be Ringo Starr, and Charlie Rowe will take on the role of George Harrison. These films have been approved by the Beatles themselves, but the casting choices have left many in the public unimpressed. Let's try to understand why.

What About Opportunities for Young Actors?

Many people have criticized these choices, indirectly blaming (if we can call it blame) social media trends that push for casting the same actors in all possible roles as if they guarantee social buzz and approval, for fanservice. Harris Dickinson became one of the white boys of the moment after The Iron Claw, and Barry Keoghan shocked everyone with his final scene in Saltburn (and he's dating one of this summer's most popular pop stars, Sabrina Carpenter). No need to mention Paul Mescal, beloved by many and always busy. The only slightly lesser-known one is perhaps Charlie Rowe, who still has many films and TV shows in his filmography and has been working in the field since he was just 11 years old. Public opinion seems to agree: they wanted younger, less famous actors, discovered from the streets of Liverpool. Overall, it seems the push against fancasting and fanservice aims to convince casting directors and film producers to go beyond social media's desires and discover new talents, so we don't get too quickly tired of the same beloved familiar faces. Regardless of the real power of these platforms, which is almost always impossible to measure but worth considering, this seems like positive advice, all in all.