In television and film, just like in real life, characters often have to move from place to place. Very often, at least for stories set in modern times, they do it like we do: in cars. But someone has to take these cars, to decide what fits a character’s role, personality, and price. It’s the art of automotive casting, and it’s hard.
When researching cars suitable for filmed media, the person responsible for casting cars (usually someone in the transportation department) should consider the show’s characters as people. If this character was a real person, in real life, what would they do really to drive?
One of the perfect examples of automotive casting on TV was Walter White’s Pontiac Aztek in Breaking Bad. Walt begins the series as a family man – father of one, soon to be father of two. He needs space to haul groceries, Walt Jr’s crutches, and rooftop-bound pizzas, and he needs that space to come cheap. An early, unloved SUV from a dead brand is a perfect fit.
Walt’s crossover wasn’t even a factory color offered by Pontiac — the show had its Azteks repainted in a faded gray-beige-green tone, a color no one would notice out of the corner of their eye. The Aztek came in bright colors and in your face when new (including a very good yellow), and it just wouldn’t have suited a mild-mannered high school teacher.
But the Aztek, originally, was a adventure auto. It offered coolers, tents, stereo controls in the cargo area. It was a car that yearned for more in life, to explore, to To do Something. The same could be said for this mild-mannered high school teacher, and the kingpin he has become.
What are your shining examples of casting cars in movies? Which car fits a character so well, so entirely, that nothing else could compare? Leave your answers in the comments, and we’ll round up some of our favorites this afternoon.