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. The film follows the lives of several characters over hundreds of years, across different cultures and time periods. 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.
Films that feature ensembles tend to emphasize the interconnectivity of the characters, even when the characters are strangers to one another. 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. Examples of this method, where the six degrees of separation is evident in films with an ensemble cast, are in productions such as Babel, Love, Actually and Crash, which all have strong underlying themes interwoven within the plots that unify each film.
Ensemble casts are notably prevalent in the superhero genre, where characters established in their own individual films will later appear together in large crossover films. The Avengers and Justice League are notable examples of this. In The Avengers, there is no need for a single central protagonist in the feature as each character shares equal importance in the narrative, successfully balancing the ensemble cast. Referential acting is a key factor in executing this balance, as ensemble cast members "play off each other rather than off reality".
Another notable example is the action film series The Expendables which collectively features the most flamboyant names of Hollywood action movies production.
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 to the premise than it would be if the star of a production with a regularly structured cast were to leave the series. The television series Friends is an archetypal example of an ensemble cast occurring in an American sitcom. Ensemble casts of 20 or more actors are common in soap operas, a genre that relies heavily on the character development of the ensemble. The genre also requires continuous expansion of the cast as the series progresses, with soap operas such as Days of Our Lives and The Bold and the Beautiful staying on air for decades. Science-fiction mystery drama series Lost also features an ensemble cast.
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. The series is notorious for major character deaths, resulting in constant changes within the ensemble.
Alysia Reiner (born July 21, 1970) is an American actress and producer. Reiner is best known for playing Natalie "Fig" Figueroa in the Netflix comedy drama series, Orange Is the New Black (2013–present) for which she won a Screen Actors Guild Award for her role as part of the ensemble cast.
Reiner starred in and produced the financial drama, EQUITY, which was bought at Sundance by Sony Pictures Classics and was released nationwide. It is now being developed into a TV series by Tri-Star and ABC. Reiner has appeared in several Off-Broadway plays and won an Obie Award for her performance in An Oak Tree. In Sideways, the critically acclaimed comedy-drama film, Reiner played Christine Ergarian, where she won her first ensemble cast SAG award. She plays D.A. Wendy Parks in the ABC crime-legal drama TV series, How to Get Away with Murder and Sunny in the F/X comedy Better Things.
In 2016, she also appeared in Season 4 of Masters of Sex on Showtime, as Lilian Izikoff on Rosewood, and Fiona in Michael Showalter's TBS series Search Party.Boston Public
Boston Public is an American drama television series created by David E. Kelley and broadcast on Fox. Set in Boston, the series centers on Winslow High School, a fictional public high school in the Boston Public Schools district. It features a large ensemble cast and focuses on the work and private lives of the various teachers, students, and administrators at the school. It aired from October 2000 to January 2004. Its slogan was "Every day is a fight. For respect. For dignity. For sanity."Boston Society of Film Critics
The Boston Society of Film Critics (BSFC) is an organization of film reviewers from Boston, Massachusetts in the United States.
The BSFC was formed in 1981 to make “Boston’s unique critical perspective heard on a national and international level by awarding commendations to the best of the year’s films and filmmakers and local film theaters and film societies that offer outstanding film programming.”
Every year for the past three decades, the Boston Society of Film Critics give their Boston Society of Film Critics Awards. The 2009 award for best picture and best director went to The Hurt Locker directed by Kathryn Bigelow and also won three other awards (best actor, best cinematography and best film editing). It was the first time in the organization's thirty-year history that one film took home five awards.Categories of awards:
Best Foreign Language Film
Best New Filmmaker
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best Use of Music in a FilmAwards are also given for Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Foreign Language Film (if the Best Picture is in English), Best Documentary, Best Ensemble Cast, Best Use of Music in Film, and Best New Filmmaker. The New Filmmaker award is named for David Brudnoy, Boston-area radio talk show host and film critic, who was a founding member of the BSFC; He died in 2004.Epic film
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.
Epic historical films would usually take a historical or a mythical event and add an extravagant setting and lavish costumes, accompanied by an expansive musical score with an ensemble cast, which would make them among the most expensive of films to produce. The most common subjects of epic films are royalty, and important figures from various periods in world history.Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Ensemble Cast
The Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Ensemble Cast was one of the annual Gotham Independent Film Awards awarded between 2005 and 2012. The award was called Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Ensemble Performance between 2008 and 2012.Hannah and Her Sisters
Hannah and Her Sisters is a 1986 American comedy-drama film which tells the intertwined stories of an extended family over two years that begins and ends with a family Thanksgiving dinner. The film was written and directed by Woody Allen, who stars along with Mia Farrow as Hannah, Michael Caine as her husband, and Barbara Hershey and Dianne Wiest as her sisters.
The film's ensemble cast also includes Carrie Fisher, Farrow's mother Maureen O'Sullivan, Lloyd Nolan (in his final film role), Max von Sydow, and Julie Kavner. Daniel Stern, Richard Jenkins, Fred Melamed, Lewis Black, Joanna Gleason, John Turturro, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus all have minor roles, while Tony Roberts and Sam Waterston make uncredited cameo appearances. Several of Farrow's children, including Soon-Yi Previn (who married Allen in 1997), have credited and uncredited roles, mostly as Thanksgiving extras.
Hannah and Her Sisters was, for a long time, Allen's biggest box office hit (forgoing adjustment for inflation), with a North American gross of US$40 million. The film won Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress. It is often considered one of Allen's major works, with critics continuing to praise its writing and ensemble cast.Impostor (TV series)
Precious Hearts Romances Presents: Impostor is a 2010 Philippine television drama series loosely based on the PHR pocketbook of the same name created by Martha Cecilia and directed by Jerome Chavez Pobocan. It also serves as the 11th installment of the Precious Hearts Romances Presents series. The series stars Sam Milby, Maja Salvador, Melai Cantiveros, Jason Francisco, and Precious Lara Quigaman, with an ensemble cast consisting of Jon Avila, Izzy Canillo, Long Mejia, Yayo Aguila, Bobby Andrews, Menggie Cobarrubias, Racquel Villavicencio, Kitkat, Kakai Bautista, and Lollie Mara in their supporting roles. The series premiered on ABS-CBN's Kapamilya Gold afternoon block, replacing Precious Hearts Romances Presents: Love Me Again from May 17 to September 17, 2010.
This is about people who got into an accident and end up changing faces.It's Complicated (film)
It's Complicated is a 2009 American romantic comedy film written and directed by Nancy Meyers. It stars Meryl Streep as a successful bakery owner and single mother of three who starts a secret affair with her former husband, played by Alec Baldwin, ten years after their divorce – only to find herself drawn to another man: her architect Adam (portrayed by Steve Martin). The film also features supporting performances by Lake Bell, Hunter Parrish, Zoe Kazan, John Krasinski, Mary Kay Place, Robert Curtis Brown and Rita Wilson, among others.The film was met with average reviews from critics, who praised the acting of its ensemble cast but declared its story rather predictable. It became another commercial hit for Meyers, however, upon its Christmas Day 2009 opening release in the United States and Canada. It played well through the holidays and in to January 2010, ultimately closing on April 1 with $112.7 million. Worldwide, It's Complicated eventually grossed $219.1 million, and surpassed The Holiday (2006) to become Meyer's third-highest-grossing project to date.For their performances, the cast was awarded a National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Award for Best Ensemble Cast the same year. In addition, the film was nominated at both the Critics' Choice Awards and the Satellite Awards and garnered Meyers two Golden Globe nominations, including Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Screenplay. Streep and Baldwin each were individually recognized with Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor nominations at the Golden Globe and BAFTA award ceremonies, respectively.James Marsden
James Paul Marsden (born September 18, 1973) is an American actor, singer and former Versace model. Marsden began his acting career guest-starring in television shows Saved by the Bell: The New Class, Touched by an Angel, and Party of Five. He gained prominence with his portrayal of Scott Summers / Cyclops in the X-Men film series and starred in 2006's Superman Returns. Since 2016, Marsden has starred as gunslinger Teddy Flood, a sentient android, in the HBO science fiction-western thriller series Westworld, as part of the main ensemble.
Following his breakthrough in comic book films, Marsden went on to star in various genre films including 2007's Hairspray which was a critical and commercial success and won many awards for its ensemble cast. As Corny Collins, he sang two songs for the film's soundtrack which has been certified Platinum by the RIAA. He has had starring roles in family-friendly films such as Enchanted and Hop and leading man roles in 27 Dresses and The Best of Me. He had a supporting role in the famed romantic drama film The Notebook.
Marsden later starred in a range of independent films such as Small Apartments, Bachelorette, and Robot & Frank. He also returned to television guest-starring in Modern Family and playing Liz Lemon's love interest, Criss Chros in 30 Rock in a supporting role. Marsden then portrayed President John F. Kennedy in Lee Daniels's The Butler and had a supporting role as an antagonist in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.Meagan Good
Meagan Monique Good (born August 8, 1981) is an American actress. Beginning her career as a child actor, Good has appeared in numerous television shows, films, and music videos as both a child and adult.
In 2011, Good featured in an ensemble cast of the successful film version of Think Like a Man. She played Joanna Locasto, the lead character on the NBC drama series Deception. She starred in the 2013 comedy Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues as well as starring in the horror films Venom (2005), One Missed Call (2008), Saw V (2008), and The Unborn (2009).New Year's Eve (2011 film)
New Year's Eve is a 2011 American romantic comedy film directed by Garry Marshall. The film consists of an ensemble cast including Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, Jon Bon Jovi, Abigail Breslin, Ludacris, Robert De Niro, Josh Duhamel, Zac Efron, Héctor Elizondo, Katherine Heigl, Ashton Kutcher, Seth Meyers, Lea Michele, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jake T. Austin, Til Schweiger, Hilary Swank, Sofía Vergara, Carla Gugino and Alyssa Milano.
New Year's Eve is the second in an unofficial trilogy of romantic comedy films directed by Garry Marshall, set on a one-day holiday and featuring an ensemble cast in a variety of stories, the other films being Valentine's Day (2010) and Mother's Day (2016). Some of the cast of New Year's Eve had previously appeared in Valentine's Day, including Biel, Kutcher and Elizondo. New Year's Eve was released on December 9, 2011, and grossed $142 million.Nine Lives (2005 film)
Nine Lives is a 2005 American drama film written and directed by Rodrigo García. The screenplay, an example of hyperlink cinema, relates nine short, loosely intertwined tales with nine different women at their cores. Their themes include parent-child relationships, fractured love, adultery, illness, and death. Similar to García's previous work, Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her, it is a series of overlapping vignettes, each one running about the same length and told in a single, unbroken take, featuring an ensemble cast.Pandanti Kapuram
Pandanti Kapuram is a 1972 Telugu, family drama film. The ensemble cast film was directed by Lakshmi Deepak. It was remade into the Hindi film Sunehra Sansar (1975) starring Rajendra Kumar, Hema Malini, and Mala Sinha and in Tamil as Anbu Sagodharargal starring AVM Rajan.The Almost Guys
The Almost Guys is a 2004 American comedy film written and directed by Eric Fleming, produced by Andrea Michaud and starring an ensemble cast. It was filmed on 35mm in Southern California. Film locations included Los Angeles, Lancaster, Long Beach, Upland and Downey. Worldwide rights to the independently produced film were acquired by National Lampoon.The Cheap Detective
The Cheap Detective is a 1978 American satirical comedy film written by Neil Simon and directed by Robert Moore.It stars Peter Falk as Lou Peckinpaugh, a parody of Humphrey Bogart. The film is a parody of Bogart films such as Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon.The ensemble cast includes Madeline Kahn, Louise Fletcher, Ann-Margret, Eileen Brennan, Stockard Channing, Marsha Mason, Sid Caesar, John Houseman, Dom DeLuise, Abe Vigoda, James Coco, Phil Silvers, Fernando Lamas, Nicol Williamson, Scatman Crothers, Vic Tayback and Paul Williams.The President Vanishes (film)
The President Vanishes (released in the United Kingdom as Strange Conspiracy) is a 1934 American political drama film directed by William A. Wellman and produced by Walter Wanger. Starring Edward Arnold and Arthur Byron, the film is an adaptation of Rex Stout's political novel of the same name.
Upon its release, the film was praised for its ensemble cast but author John Douglas Eames, in his 1985 book The Paramount Story, stated that even with "an accomplished cast and an out-of-the-rut story, but The President Vanishes couldn't buck moviegoers' apathy towards political subjects".Theme of Exodus
"Theme of Exodus" is a song with music by Ernest Gold, written for the 1960 film epic film on the founding of the modern State of Israel Exodus, the film was based on the 1958 novel Exodus by Leon Uris. The film features an ensemble cast, and its celebrated soundtrack music was written by Ernest Gold who won both Best Soundtrack Album and Song of the Year at the 1961 Grammy Awards for the soundtrack and theme to Exodus respectively. It is the only instrumental song to ever receive that award.Following its initial film appearance, the theme has been recorded by many artists in both instrumental and vocal versions, and has also appeared in a number of subsequent films and television programs. The best-known cover version of the theme is an instrumental version. This version was accompanied by The London Symphony OrchestraBob Marley incorporated portions of the theme into his song "Exodus".Traffic (miniseries)
Traffic: The Miniseries is a 2004 three-part feature on the United States cable channel USA Network, featuring an ensemble cast portraying the complex world of drugs, their distribution, the associated violence, and the wide variety of people whose lives are touched by it all.Zach Galifianakis
Zachary Knight Galifianakis (; born October 1, 1969) is an American actor, comedian and writer who came to prominence with his Comedy Central Presents special in 2001 and presented his own show called Late World with Zach on VH1 the following year. He has also starred in films, such as The Hangover trilogy (2009–2013), Due Date (2010), The Campaign (2012), Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014), Masterminds (2016) and The Lego Batman Movie (2017).
Galifianakis is the host of the Emmy Award-winning talk show Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis on the Funny or Die website. He currently stars in the FX series Baskets for which he was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series in 2016.