CastingCASTING IN THE STUDIO ERA
CASTING IN THE CONTEMPORARY CINEMA
OFF-CASTING AND MISCASTING
ALTERNATIVE APPROACHES TO CASTING
Casting is one of the least understood or appreciated behind-the-scenes processes in filmmaking. Indeed, casting decisions are made all the time that change the course of film history. How altered would the film landscape be if Inspector Harry Callahan in Dirty Harry (1971) had been played by John Wayne (1907–1979)? Or Frank Sinatra (1915–1998)? Or Steve McQueen (1930–1980), Walter Matthau (1920–2000), Paul Newman (b. 1925), or Robert Mitchum (1917–1997)? All were offered the role, and all turned it down. Dirty Harry made Clint Eastwood (b. 1930) into an American cultural icon and lightning rod. However, it is easy to imagine that the movie would have been dismissed as just another cop film with any of these actors in the title role.
Casting is usually characterized outside the film industry as something the director does. Director Elia Kazan (1909–2003) once said that three-fourths of directing is casting. However, no director alone can cast a film, television show, or stage play. The process is too time-consuming to be done by their directors amid many other preproduction duties. Furthermore, many maintain that casting involves as much creative collaboration as other aspects of filmmaking.
During the Hollywood studio era, each company cast its films in-house, using mostly contract players. Sometimes, if the unit making the film felt that certain roles could not be cast with studio personnel, they looked outside for actors unattached to a studio, actors with nonexclusive studio contracts, or those whose home studio was willing to loan them out. The casting of the Hollywood-on-Hollywood classic Sunset Boulevard at Paramount in 1949 is instructive. For the role of the delusional former silent movie star, director Billy Wilder (1906–2002) and producer Charles Brackett (1892–1969) looked for someone who actually had been as big a star as the fictional Norma Desmond. After interviewing a number of 1920s movie queens, Wilder and Brackett cast Gloria Swanson (1899–1983), who had retired from the screen in 1934. For the role of Max, Norma's servant, ex-director, and ex-husband, Erich von Stroheim (1885–1957) was cast. The former director, who supported himself in the sound era as an actor and had acted for Wilder in Paramount's Five Graves to Cairo (1943), returned to play a role almost humiliatingly like himself. Most of the other parts were cast in-house. William Holden (1918–1981), a journeyman leading man in routine pictures who had joint contracts with Paramount and Columbia, took over the role of the gigolo writer Joe Gillis after Montgomery Clift (1920–1966), the hot young free-lance actor who had first been signed, backed out. Sunset Boulevard, released in 1950, made Holden a major star. Betty Schaefer was played by Nancy Olson (b. 1928), a contract ingenue. In a film that called for real-life Hollywood personalities to play themselves, the most important of these roles could be cast with a contract employee, namely Cecil B. DeMille (1881–1959), who helped found Paramount and nearly thirty years before had made Gloria Swanson a star at the studio. The result is as perfectly cast a film as one can find.
The studio with the largest stable of actors, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), boasting of 'More Stars Than There Are in Heaven," worked its contract stable like a self-contained stock company. The "major minors," Columbia and Universal, relied upon and benefited the most from other companies' contract players. James Stewart (1908–1997), an MGM contract player from 1935 until his induction into the US Army in 1941, was mostly ill-used by his home studio, which could not determine his "type"—comic actor or romantic lead. Frank Capra (1897–1991), the anomalous star director at Columbia, asked to borrow Stewart for the male lead opposite house star Jean Arthur (1900–1991) for You Can't Take It with You (1938). Capra and Columbia borrowed Stewart for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), again opposite Arthur, in a film that turned out to be a star-maker for Stewart. Also in 1939, MGM loaned out Stewart to Universal for Destry Rides Again, a western comedy that launched the new career of Marlene Dietrich (1901–1992), the former Paramount star whom Universal had just signed. Both films clicked, confirming Stewart's comic gifts, his unique bashful magnetism, and his ability to project emotion, sincerity, and visionary passion. MGM, having been shown Stewart's value by the smaller studios, put his new stardom to proper use in The Shop Around the Corner and The Philadelphia Story (both 1940).
Sometimes, when seeking to duplicate the success of another studio, MGM was not above borrowing supporting actors whom a rival studio had made known in certain types of roles. Gene Lockhart (1891–1957) and Charles Coburn (1877–1961) played businessmen to whom the hero appeals for help in Twentieth Century Fox's Story of Alexander Graham Bell (1939), a major hit. MGM borrowed Coburn and Lockhart for its own biopic of an American inventor-industrialist, Edison the Man (1940).
During the studio era, and later on television, type-casting was the rule. Studio casting directors thought of Charles Coburn when looking for a wise, gruff, and lovable (or a roguish, gruff, and lovable) old man; Gale Sondergaard (1899–1985) fit the bill for an exotic or sinister "foreign" woman; C. Aubrey Smith (1863–1948) was Hollywood's embodiment of Merrie Old England; and so on. Marion Dougherty, one of the first independent casting directors in the 1950s and 1960s, compared casting in the studio system to "ordering a Chinese meal: one from column A and one from column B. That's why you'd see the same actor in the same kind of roles" (Kurtes, "Casting Characters," p. 40).
The prevalence today of the independent casting director is one of the results of the end of the studio system. In the 1950s fewer films each year were produced, as opposed to financed or distributed, by the studios. The number of actors under contract dwindled to insignificance by the early 1960s. Casts now had to be assembled from scratch. Independent casting directors who were hired on a film-by-film basis emerged to fill the need. The first to build lasting careers were Lynn Stalmaster and Marion Dougherty. While Dougherty, based in New York, learned her craft in the breakneck world of live television drama in the 1950s, Stalmaster worked out of Hollywood, casting TV episodes just as the film studios began to reconvert many of their soundstages for the production of television series. Stalmaster's first major theatrical film was I Want to Live! (1958), a realistic biopic of Barbara Graham, a convicted murderess executed in California in 1955. Its producer, Walter Wanger (1894–1968), and director, Robert Wise (1914–2005), specified that they wanted the film—beyond its star, Susan Hayward (1917–1975)—to be populated by unknowns, people who would look like ordinary cops, petty criminals, reporters, and prison guards. Stalmaster brought the director little-noticed TV actors, stage actors, and some nonprofessionals. I Want to Live! was one of the first films to give screen credit to a casting director.
Generally, in contemporary post-studio era cinema, prospective actors for a film's roles are brought to the director by the casting director, who has already auditioned actors, most often through auditions made known to agents and publicized in actors' trade papers. Casting directors also rely on résumés and head shots they have on file, as well as their memories of actors who recently made good impressions at auditions for other parts. Once the casting director has winnowed down a list of plausible players for each role, he or she brings in the director, who sometimes has actors come in for "call back" readings, with the casting director present. Some directors look at videos that the casting directors have made of actors reading the "sides," or scenes. Sometimes a director will use a combination of these. If the lead has already been cast, finalists for second or third lead and other supporting roles might read for the director with the lead actor; other times, candidates for a role read with professional audition readers.
This process, which has held sway in essence since the 1960s, grew along with the new Hollywood in which independent production, talent agencies, and freelance talent govern the way films are made. The job of the casting director is usually to find all the roles below that of the star whose participation is necessary to attract financing for the project in the first place. As casting director Jane Jenkins said in 2003, "We bring in the 100 people that Mel Gibson has to speak to over the course of the film. That's what we cast." (Gillespie, Casting Qs, p. 380).
Stalmaster maintains that he rarely sees a miscast role (Parisi, "Dialogue"), and at the level of the roles that he and his colleagues cast, that is largely true. A supporting role for which there is no pressure to choose a star can be cast by the actor who is best for the part. There are notable examples of star-making roles whose casting was influenced by casting directors. For example, Marion Dougherty convinced John Schlesinger (1926–2003) to meet the little-known Jon Voight (b. 1938) for the role of Joe Buck in Midnight Cowboy (1969), after Dustin Hoffman (b. 1937), a star coming off The Graduate (1967), had already been signed.
Casting directors have yet to win a union or guild and, as independent contractors, do not receive benefits or have retirement plans. A professional organization, the Casting Society of America (CSA), was founded in 1982 and boasts 350 members. CSA gives annual awards, the Artios (Greek for "perfectly fitted"). Casting directors have lobbied without success for a Best Casting Academy Award®. An Emmy for television casting, however, has been awarded since 1989.
There is much in film folklore, if not in fact, about directors with informal "stock companies" of actors with whom they work again and again. The directors best known for utilizing a "family" of actors are John Ford (1894–1973), Ingmar Bergman (b. 1918), Mike Leigh (b. 1943), Robert Altman (b. 1925), and Spike Lee (b. 1957). Calling upon an established ensemble, both in front of and behind the camera, has enabled these directors, all of whom are very prolific, to put new projects together quickly. Altman, with his background in series television, learned his craft in "stock company" conditions. The stock companies of the non-Hollywood or post-studio Hollywood directors serve the purpose that production units had served in the studio system. Indeed, the stock company may have allowed Ford, who made one independent film per year even during his studio contract days and went completely "off the reservation" in mid-career, to become in effect his own studio, carrying his own resources with him from film to film.
b. Omaha, Nebraska
A pioneer of the profession, Lynn Stalmaster is credited with helping cast 228 films and 150 television series and television movies in his fifty years as an independent casting director. A former actor and a graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), he began by casting television episodes. The volume of work involved in casting weekly episodes with just a few days notice moved him to open his own casting office. Stalmaster convinced the producers of the hit western Gunsmoke (1955–1975) to spread a much wider casting net and fill their show with new faces not usually seen on westerns. Stalmaster soon became a magnet for new talent from all over the world for such prime-time network television series as Have Gun, Will Travel (1957–1964), The Twilight Zone (1959–1964), and The Untouchables (1959–1963).
With his partner James Lister (1926–1969), Stalmaster cast the compelling dramatic film I Want to Live! (1958), and his company became a valuable resource for independent film productions, particularly those with distribution deals through United Artists. Thus Stalmaster received credit (sometimes as "Lynn Stalmaster & Associates") on films of Billy Wilder (The Fortune Cookie, 1966), Stanley Kramer (Inherit the Wind, 1960; Judgment at Nuremberg, 1961) and Hal Ashby (The Last Detail, 1973; Bound for Glory, 1976; Being There, 1979). With six full-time casting associates at his company's peak, Stalmaster helped establish the dual purpose of the casting director—serving as an advocate for actors and as the link between the agent or manager and the film and TV director or producer—while bringing a filmmaker the most talented and interesting ensemble possible.
A man of great enthusiasm and energy, Stalmaster seemed to thrive on the task of seeing, keeping track of, and remembering for roles individual actors among the thousands who descend upon Los Angeles. Stalmaster has said that he has auditioned and videotaped thousands of actors and nonprofessionals all over the world. He claimed that he has the singular ability to spot a one-percent difference onscreen between one actor and another who might have been better for the role. One of Stalmaster's better known coups is Superman: The Movie (1978), the makers of which found themselves stumped in casting the all-important title role. Stalmaster recalled Christopher Reeve from past auditions and brought him in to test.
One of the oddities of the casting profession is that it has become an overwhelmingly female-dominated profession, making Stalmaster's achievement not only remarkable, but also generous in that it prepared the ground for the success of many young people, most of them women. Stalmaster was one of the founding members of the Casting Society of America and received the Hoyt Bowers Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Casting Profession at the 2003 Artios Ceremony.
I Want to Live! (1958), The Great Escape (1963), In the Heat of the Night (1967), Deliverance (1972), Sleeper (1973), The Last Detail (1973), New York, New York (1977), Roots (TV, 1977), Superman (1978), Being There (1979), Tootsie (1982), The Right Stuff (1983), The Untouchables (1987), Bonfire of the Vanities (1990), "Making Superman: Filming the Legend" (DVD documentary, 2001)
Parisi, Paula. "Dialogue: Lynn Stalmaster." The Hollywood Reporter, 8 January 2004.
The director with a stock company in the truest sense was Bergman. Liv Ullmann (b. 1938), Max von Sydow (b. 1929), Erland Josephson (b. 1923), Gunnar Bjornstrand (1909–1986), Ingrid Thulin (1926–2004), Bibi Andersson (b. 1935), and Harriet Andersson (b. 1932) all got their start with Bergman, played the major roles in his small-scale, intimate films, and contributed in essential ways to the intensity for which Bergman's films are known. None of these actors is in
fewer than seven Bergman films. Moreover, von Sydow's nine-film collaboration with Bergman produced many of the director's signature films, from The Seventh Seal (Det sjunde inseglet, 1957) to Shame (Shammen, 1968), as did Liv Ullmann's appearance in Persona (1966), Cries and Whispers (Viskningar och rop, 1972), and Face to Face (Ansikte mot ansikte, 1976), as well as three Bergman films opposite von Sydow. When some of this company, especially Ullmann and von Sydow, became internationally known, they may have "graduated" from Bergman—von Sydow, for instance, last worked with him in 1971—but they owed much of their training and screen image to him.
Mike Leigh is a somewhat similar case; as an independent European artisan making small-scale films, Leigh has a unique relationship with his cast. He finds players for his characters, researches and improvises with them for an extended period, then goes off and writes the script, which the cast returns to perform. A number of actors, including Lesley Manville (b. 1956), Jim Broadbent (b. 1949), and Timothy Spall (b. 1957), first made their names in Leigh's films, then became in demand in the industry. Thus, while the names of Broadbent and Spall are generally connected to Leigh, they have each made only three films with him, and one of Broadbent's appearances, in Vera Drake (2004), was a cameo.
This leads to an essential point about stock companies. Many actors and directors closely associated with each other in the minds of filmgoers actually worked together on just a handful of films. Commercial filmmaking, with its myriad schedule conflicts, makes stock companies difficult to keep together; directors often find that a favorite actor is not available, even if he or she wants to be, "unavailability" being in general one of the most common reasons that one actor is cast and not another. Moreover, an actor's work with a given director often takes place during a limited period. For instance, Shelley Duvall (b. 1949) is among the actors most associated with Robert Altman, but their six-film collaboration ended in 1980. Ford is also interesting in this respect. John Carradine (1906–1988) appeared in iconic roles in eight Ford films. However, after The Grapes of Wrath (1940), Carradine and Ford did not work together for eighteen years; Carradine was then cast in The Last Hurrah (1958), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), and Cheyenne Autumn (1964). Ford, at the end of his career, recalled actors from his heyday, like Carradine, Andy Devine (1905–1977), and Olive Carey (1896–1988), wishing to include them in nostalgic but bitter films that revised his earlier, more upbeat renditions of American myths.
Often the aura of a director lingers with certain actors; they trail their associations with him into other projects. This is true of many of the actors who worked with Ford, as well as Martin Scorsese (b. 1942) veterans like Robert De Niro (b. 1943), Harvey Keitel (b. 1939), Joe Pesci (b. 1943), and Lorraine Bracco (b. 1955), and also of Spike Lee cast members such as Giancarlo Esposito (b. 1958), Roger Guenveur Smith (b. 1959), and Bill Nunn (b. 1953). Sometimes the associations amount to a form of typecasting. Michael Murphy (b. 1938) began his career playing weak, insincere organization men in Robert Altman films like McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971) and Nashville (1975), then went on to play similar roles for other directors. Thus Murphy was ripe for a reunion with Altman, which occurred with the cinema-verité style TV miniseries Tanner '88 (1988), with Murphy perfectly cast as a struggling presidential candidate.
Members of a director's "stock company," then, carry that director's work with them throughout their careers and are more often than not remembered as having done their best work under the director's auspices. John Wayne was often little more than a self-parody away from his mentor, John Ford. De Niro's many films away from Scorsese have been largely undistinguished. Other close actor-director partnerships have included Johnny Depp (b. 1963) and Tim Burton (b. 1958), Toshiro Mifune (1920–1997) and Akira Kurosawa (1910–1998), Marcello Mastroianni (1924–1996) and Federico Fellini (1920–1993), Jean-Pierre Leaud (b. 1944) and François Truffaut (1932–1984), and one of the few in which the director floundered without the actor: Marlene Dietrich and Josef von Sternberg (1894–1969).
One of the responses to the relative freedom brought about by the end of the studio system was an increase in the frequency of "off-casting" or "casting against type." As studio contracts expired and were not renewed, stars found themselves free to play a broader range of roles. Many of the roles taken by Humphrey Bogart (1899–1957) and James Stewart after 1949 typify successful off-casting. Bogart, whose tough cynicism was transformed into heroism in the films of his Warner Bros. star years, was drawn to roles like the grizzled sot in The African Queen (1951), a part originally intended for Charles Laughton (1899–1962); the urbane screen-writer with uncontrollable violent tendencies in In a Lonely Place (1950); and the paranoid Captain Queeg in The Caine Mutiny (1954). For James Stewart, playing driven, neurotic, possibly disturbed loners in the films of director Anthony Mann (1907–1967), such as The Naked Spur (1953) and The Man from Laramie (1955), moved the fortyish actor away from his "boyish" image and helped him deepen his emotional range. This change readied Stewart for the great roles Alfred Hitchcock (1899–1980) would offer him in Rear Window (1954) and Vertigo (1958).
For women as well, freedom from studio contracts meant new opportunities, but these were often traps, or perhaps respites from the traps in which actresses were usually caught. Susan Hayward escaped the insipid love interests she played in her Twentieth Century Fox contract movies (David and Bathsheba, 1951; Demetrius and the Gladiators, 1954), taking challenging and realistic roles in biopics like I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955) and I Want to Live!. Doris Day (b. 1924), severely typecast at Warner Bros. as the girl next door in nostalgic musicals, in her first role as a freelancer, played Ruth Etting (1897–1978) in the melodramatic musical biopic, Love Me or Leave Me (1955). The film brought her acclaim, but also letters from fans deeply offended at seeing Day as an alcoholic trapped in an abusive marriage; she never accepted such a role again. Less surprisingly, when wholesome actresses like Donna Reed (1922–1986) and Shirley Jones (b. 1934) played prostitutes, they won Oscars®. These did not keep Reed and Jones from receding later into TV sitcoms (The Donna Reed Show, 1958–1966, and The Partridge Family, 1970–1974), where their sunny personas were permanently etched.
Moreover, the rise of Method acting, as seen especially in the wide and lasting influence of Marlon Brando (1924–2004), encouraged versatility in acting and the assumption that a good actor should be able to play anything. This led to more adventurous casting but also to a good deal of miscasting; even Brando was capable of appearing ridiculous in the wrong role, as in Desirée (1954), in which he played a bored-looking Napoleon, and The Teahouse of the August Moon (1956), in which he impersonated a Japanese interpreter.
Off-casting works when it illuminates character by revealing aspects of an actor's talent that had been previously undiscovered, as Hitchcock knew when he cast boys-next-door Robert Walker (1918–1951) and Anthony Perkins (1932–1992) in Strangers on a Train (1951) and Psycho (1960), respectively. Perkins's case provides a cautionary tale, however, about how good off-casting can turn into typecasting if producers thereafter are unable to picture the actor in any other kind of role. Conversely, actors typecast as heavies have turned their careers around by playing a nice character or two. Ernest Borgnine (b. 1917) was known for brutal bullies in From Here to Eternity (1953) and Bad Day at Black Rock (1955) when he took the role of Marty Piletti, the good-hearted lonely butcher in Marty (1955). Borgnine projected ordinary humanity and decency and won the Academy Award® for Best Actor. This was off-casting that played as perfect casting.
The line between off-casting and miscasting can be thin. Gregory Peck (1916–2003) was so convincing playing earnest heroes of high moral rectitude that no one, including Peck, seemed to realize that he did not have the range to play much else. His attempts at ferocious characters like Captain Ahab in Moby Dick (1956) and evil villains like the Nazi doctor Josef Mengele in The Boys from Brazil (1978) are infamous embarrassments. These are cases in which the actor miscast himself, and the producer, the director, the studio, and Peck's fellow actors went along, hoping the gamble would work. Like other miscast calamities—from Oprah Winfrey (b. 1954) in Beloved (1998), whose rusty acting skills were not up to the demands of a very difficult role, to a fifty-year-old Roberto Benigni (b. 1952) as Pinocchio (2001)—these were the follies of a well-meaning, powerful star to whom no one wanted to say no.
Broadly speaking, most miscasting has occurred when a major star has been put in a role for which he or she is clearly unsuited in order to increase the film's box-office appeal. There is virtually a miscasting hall of fame: John Wayne as Genghis Khan in The Conquerer (1956), Elizabeth Taylor (b. 1932) in Cleopatra (1963), Cybill Shepherd (b. 1950) in Daisy Miller (1974), Demi Moore (b. 1962) as Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter (1995), Tom Cruise (b. 1962) in Interview with the Vampire (1994), Anthony Hopkins (b. 1937) and Nicole Kidman (b. 1967) in The Human Stain (2003). As these examples indicate, literary adaptations and historical films are the most difficult to cast because critics and audiences bring a preconceived concept of the characters, one that can clash with the personae of wellknown actors.
The most basic alternative to conventional casting is to use nonprofessionals. Some directors believe that only through untrained faces can social reality and human truth be captured on film. The Italian neorealist films of directors such as Vittorio De Sica (1901–1974) and Roberto Rossellini (1906–1977) are the best-known exemplars of this type of casting. Such approaches did not begin with neorealism, however. Soviet directors of the 1920s, such as Sergei Eisenstein (1898–1948) and Vsevolod Pudovkin (1893–1953), cast their films' collective protagonists along the principle of typage, a way of casting "faces in the crowd." Not quite stereotyping, typage is the depiction of sailors, officers, or factory workers in summary images that evoke every sailor or worker. The Soviet filmmakers wanted players who could perform actions simply and artlessly and would thus serve their functions as "cells" in the cinematic "organism."
This use of the actor as formalist material differs markedly from the humanism of a director like De Sica, a film actor himself, who thought that nonprofessionals could better convey a realism that would move audiences. De Sica and Rossellini, as had the Soviets, discovered their casts by announcing open casting calls, which drew members of the public to audition. They also instructed assistants to keep their eyes open for people who might have a look that the filmmakers were seeking. Interestingly, the casting of children in American movies today is done through a similar combination of open calls and happenstance. When casting children for major roles, Debra Zane says, "you have to do searches, you're looking at as many six-year-olds as you can find, and then you see a child in the mall and you ask the mom, 'Can I talk to you for a moment?"' (Gillespie, Casting Qs, p. 371).
Another kind of casting that employs nonprofessionals is the "acting as modeling" favored by Robert Bresson (1901–1999). Like other directors who prefer to use non-actors, Bresson sought to eliminate learned, practiced expressions and gestures. However, Bresson saw acting itself as belonging to the theater, not film. For such films as Un condamné à mort éschappé (A Man Escaped, 1956), Pickpocket (1959), and Une femme douce (A Gentle Woman, 1969), Bresson's models were trained to be themselves while saying words they have memorized by repetition, like automatons (another term Bresson often used), rather than learned by internalization, as an actor would do. Therefore the spectator projects emotion onto the models based on their words and actions, rather than sharing an emotion that the actor projects. Bresson's models were often brought to him by friends who believed the potential models had the presence and personality that the director would then paint onto film with his camera. This is not to say that anyone could be in a Bresson film. Indeed, most of his characters are young and attractive, but Bresson looked for a quality that the camera will pick up, rather than qualities that an actor can create for the camera to photograph.
Georgakas, Dan, and Kevin Rabelais. "Fifty Years of Casting: An Interview with Marion Dougherty. Cineaste 25, no. 2 (2000). 26–32.
Gillespie, Bonnie. Casting Qs: A Collection of Casting Director Interviews. Hollywood, CA: Cricket Feet Publishing, 2003.
Kondazian, Karen. The Actor's Encyclopedia of Casting Directors. Hollywood, CA: Lone Eagle Publishing, 1999.
Kurtes, Hettie Lynne. "Casting Characters." American Film 15, no. 10 (July 1990): 38–44.
Mell, Eila. Casting Might-Have-Beens. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2005.
Quandt, James. Robert Bresson. Toronto: Toronto International Film Festival Group, 1998.
Casting is the process used to replicate three-dimensional prints or marks. It is widely used to obtain the exact replicate of toolmarks, tire tracks , shoeprints , and sometimes teeth. Casting is of paramount importance in forensic sciences as it allows a crime scene investigator to collect an identical copy of a mark or print from a scene, which can then be compared to a seized tool, shoe, or tire in order to establish a link between a suspect and a crime scene.
Casting can only be accomplished on three-dimensional marks or traces. In the case of tool-marks, for example, casting can be used to obtain the perfect copy of the mark of a screwdriver used to force open a door during a burglary. With a shoeprint, it allows for the shoeprint of a thief that was left in the soil outside the window of the apartment he or she exited to be preserved as evidence . A vehicle used to flee the scene of a murder could leave tire tracks in the snow, which can be recorded and saved for later comparison with a suspicious vehicle. Casting is also used to record dental characteristics of a body and compare these characteristics with known dental records in order to make a proper identification .
The choice of casting material depends on the mark to be copied and the surface on which it is found. For most toolmarks, a dental cast polymer is used. It consists of two pastes mixed together right before the cast is taken. Once mixed together, the paste is applied onto the mark and allowed to dry before being removed. With tire tracks or shoeprints, usually a plaster, such as plaster of Paris, is used. This kind of casting material does not provide as many details as the dental polymer, but can cover a bigger surface and will dry very well over surfaces such as soil. On snow, the use of plaster is not ideal, and molten sulfur offers a much better cast. Sulfur is heated until it liquefied and then poured onto the trace. As soon as the sulfur touches the cold snow, it immediately hardens and takes the shape of the print.
see also Crime scene investigation; Microscope, comparison.
Casting Grip 26
Power Stroke 26
Forward Cast 28
Overall Tips, Points and Advice 28
Physical Conditioning 30
False Casting 31
Tailing Loop/Sudden Stop 31
Follow Through 33
Single Haul 34
Double Haul 35
Types of Casts 36
Posture (Body Position) 40
Distance Casting Trajectories 41
Wiggle Cast 41
Practice Methods 42
Wind Direction In Your Face 44
Wind On Your Back 44
Off Hand Casting 45
Backwards Cast 45