“I look for somebody who brings a real quality to that character, something within their own person projected out on to the screen.” – Casting Director Rick Millikan
Casting director Rick Millikan not only worked on the recent revival of The X-Files, but he also worked on the entire original series. He’s noted for casting some of the most popular characters on the long-running series. In an interview for the “Asking a Casting Director” feature at Observer.com, Millikan reveals how celebrities sometimes made it easy for him to cast the role and offers advice for actors at auditions.
When The X-Files was in its original run, Millikan recalls that he would receive plenty of requests from celebrities to appear on the show like Whoopi Goldberg and Sigourney Weaver (comedian Joel McHale, a fan of the original series, appears in the new episodes). However, Millikan says he didn’t always try to cast famous faces. He explains, “It all came down to, ‘Is the part right for them? Are they available?’ There’s a lot of specifics involved to make it work. And again, you don’t always want to put in the well-known face. The X-Files is such a surreal situation, you don’t want to throw it off by throwing a star name in there and taking the balance away from what you’re trying to do.”
Millikan’s advice to auditioning actors is that they should inhabit the part. He describes a strong audition as, “What you’re ultimately looking for is that person who brings a real quality to the character; they are being that character, not acting that actor. That’s a real art. That’s what makes everyone excited, is when an actor brings something so real it draws you in and you’re going along the ride with them. Where you see them acting the part it turns you off, because you can see them acting it. I look for somebody who brings a real quality to that character, something within their own person projected out on to the screen.”