The More The Merrier: These Ensemble Casts Had The Best Chemistry

A movie with an ensemble cast means there isn’t necessarily one main character, rather a group of individuals who are followed throughout the story. Audiences are drawn to multi-dimensional characters, especially when they have dynamic relationships with one another.

Taking away just one of these ensemble cast members would ruin the essence of these movies, which is why casting is one of the most important jobs in the entertainment industry. None of the following movies could have been made without the strong ensemble casts and their undeniable chemistry, not to mention the tireless casting directors who recognized their talent.

Clueless Had A Cast Of Fresh Faces Who Became Hollywood Stars

two girls in plaid outfits in Clueless
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

Although most of the Clueless story revolves around the protagonist Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone), she definitely would not have grown as a character if it weren’t for the rest of the ensemble cast. Brittany Murphy as the innocent new girl, Paul Rudd as the charming love interest, and Breckin Meyer as the aloof skater kid are just a few of the standout ensemble performances.

The movie was written and directed by Amy Heckerling, best known for Fast Times at Ridgemont High, who was already familiar with making a contemporary teen movie. Casting director Marcia Ross found many of these now A-list stars before their prime.

The True Bond Between The Now And Then Cast Members

four female ensemble cast members of now and then standing in a tree house
New Line Cinema
New Line Cinema

One way to tell if a movie has an ensemble cast is if various characters have separate plotlines that intertwine. Now and Then seamlessly weaves each of the girls’ own lives into a collective and coherent story. This made it easy to tell what a strong bond the girls had with one another.

Casting director Valerie McCaffrey chose Thora Birch, Christina Ricci, Gaby Hoffmann, and Ashleigh Aston Moore knowing these kids of the ’90s could easily transform into young women of the early 1970s. The adult versions of the four girls, Rosie O’Donnell, Melanie Griffith, Demi Moore, and Rita Wilson, had the same type of chemistry as their younger castmates.

Saved! Had Characters Not Usually Seen On Film

cast of saved in a prom scene
United Artists
United Artists

Saved! isn’t just about one girl’s teenage pregnancy, rather it’s how students, parents, and teachers view religion in modern times. Casting directors Heike Brandstatter and Coreen Mayrs didn’t stick to well-known actors for this indie movie. This was one of Macaulay Culkin’s first roles as an adult, and audiences saw him play his most complex character yet as a disabled outcast.

Other outstanding performances included Mandy Moore as the melodramatic religion nut Hilary Faye, Eva Amurri Martino (Susan Sarandon’s daughter) as the rebel with a dark side, and Mary-Louise Parker as the mother who only wants the best for her pregnant daughter.

Booksmart Is The Contemporary High School Experience In A Nutshell

beanie feldstein and kaitlyn dever wearing graduation outfits
Annapurna Pictures
Annapurna Pictures

It’s hard to watch Booksmart and not notice the stellar performances of the entire ensemble cast. Billie Lourd arguably has one of the most unusual and gripping roles as Gigi and she’s barely in the film at all. Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever actually lived together while shooting the movie and this immensely helped their on-screen chemistry as best friends.

Casting director Allison Jones found several young Hollywood actors who were able to play high school students in an authentic yet fresh way. Some specific actors who stood out were Noah Galvin as the outspoken drama student, Diana Silvers as the loner unable to speak her mind, and Lisa Kudrow and Will Forte as Dever’s parents, who provided comedic relief.

How The Perks Of Being A Wallflower Didn’t Stray Too Far From The Novel

cast of the perks of being a wallflower sitting on the bleachers
Summit Entertainment
Summit Entertainment

Turning a book into a movie isn’t easy, especially when casting the beloved characters that readers have imagined for so long. The Perks of Being a Wallflower’s casting directors, Venus Kanani and Mary Vernieu, got it very right.

Actors Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Mae Whitman, and more, understood the very essence of these characters as if they were walking off the page. One of the reasons fans of the book liked the movie so much was because original writer Stephen Chbosky wrote and directed the film, knowing exactly how the story should be laid out on screen.

Many Stars Had Their First Roles In Dazed And Confused

matthew mcconaughey and other male cast members from dazed and confused
Gramercy Pictures
Gramercy Pictures

Even though Dazed and Confused was released in 1993, it takes viewers back to 1976. The ensemble cast of middle school and high school students portray what it was like to be a teenager during the groovy age of the 1970s.

Each character has their own personal struggle, but by the end, there seems to be a clear idea of where each of them are headed. Casting director Don Phillips was able to find many new actors who soon became household names, such as Ben Affleck and Matthew McConaughey. McConaughey’s line, “Alright, alright, alright,” practically jumpstarted his acting career and has become one of the most memorable lines in movie history.

Many Stood Out In Lady Bird

saoirse ronan and beanie feldstein in lady bird
IAC Films
IAC Films

Lady Bird is centered on Saiorse Ronan’s character of the same name, but it would be nothing without the multifaceted ensemble cast. Each of her relationships is very relatable, but also completely different from the others. Casting directors Heidi Griffiths, Allison Jones, and Jordan Thaler carefully chose the best actors for the film.

Beanie Feldstein as Lady Bird’s best friend and theater nerd made the audience root for their friendship and feel betrayed when things fell apart. Laurie Metcalf as Lady Bird’s mother was bittersweet and was the driving force for the majority of the film.

The Breakfast Club Cast Could Never Be Replaced

cast members on set of the breakfast club
Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

The Breakfast Club starred an ensemble cast of Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, and Judd Nelson as high school misfits who were all given detention. As the day goes on they come to know each other for who they are as people, rather than their class stereotype.

Casting director Jackie Burch recognized the talent in these young individuals and is also the casting director behind Sixteen Candles, The Hunger Games, Hidden Figures, and many more. This movie most likely would not have been as successful as it was if any of the actors were replaced.

What Made Mean Girls The Top Comedy Of The 2000s

cast of mean girls wearing pink outfits
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

The ensemble cast of Mean Girls continues to be memorable almost 20 years later. Each of the characters were outlandish and hilarious, especially because they came from the mind of Tina Fey. Casting director Marci Liroff, also known for her work in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Indiana Jones, and Blade Runner, knew who would make Mean Girls the best it could possibly be.

Rachel McAdams steals every scene she’s in as the vicious queen bee, Regina George. Lizzy Caplan and Daniel Franzese as Janis Ian and Damian aren’t afraid to let their freak flag fly. And many Saturday Night Live alum including Tim Meadows, Amy Poehler, and Tina Fey brought some great comedic moments to the film.

Little Women Was Believable The Whole Way Through

four female cast members in little women holding picnic baskets
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

The story of Little Women has been around for over 150 years, but Greta Gerwig’s 2019 adaptation was poignant and refreshing. This was mostly due to the casting done by Kathy Driscoll and Francine Maisler. Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, and Eliza Scanlen were chosen to play the March sisters and had completely different and complex relationships with one another.

Each could transition from a child to adult with pure ease and the audience was able to stay with the story the whole time. Other stand-out roles were Laura Dern as the matriarch of the March family and Timothée Chalamet as the friendly, yet honest, boy next door.

It’s Inconceivable How Great The Casting Was In The Princess Bride

leads of the princess bride facing one another
Act III Communications
Act III Communications

The Princess Bride has remained a classic for over three decades for several reasons. The most compelling is its perfect ensemble cast. Janet Hirschenson and Jane Jenkins found practically unknown actors to bring these characters and their fantasy world to life. Robin Wright and Cary Elwes had great chemistry as Princess Buttercup and Westley.

Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya showed viewers how much a single person could live their life with perseverance. Fred Savage and Peter Falk, as the grandson and grandfather, had a witty banter that kept both kids and adults laughing. Even those with small parts, such as Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, and Carol Kane, had some of the most memorable one-liners.

Crazy Rich Asians Made Hundreds Of Millions At The Box Office

ken jeong and awkwafina in crazy rich asians
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

When Crazy Rich Asians was released in 2018 many were surprised that this was the first major motion picture to feature an all-Asian cast. The original story was compelling enough, but what made it gross $238,532,921 worldwide was its unique and talented ensemble cast found by casting director Terri Taylor.

Constance Wu and Henry Golding brought true romance and heart to the movie. Michelle Yeoh and Gemma Chan provided all the much-needed drama. Awkwafina, Ken Jeong, Nico Santos, and Jimmy O. Yang put the “comedy” in “romantic comedy.”

Little Miss Sunshine Isn’t Just An Ordinary Road Trip Movie

cast of little miss sunshine riding in a van
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Fox Searchlight Pictures

Movies with characters going on a road trip have been done many times, which is why they need to have something that sets them apart from the others. For Little Miss Sunshine, it was the ensemble cast.

Justine Arteta and Kim Davis-Wagner found great talents who went on to become Hollywood elite. Abigail Breslin was only a kid and was able to hold her own with Steve Carell, Greg Kinnear, Alan Arkin, and Toni Collette. Even Paul Dano as the misunderstood older brother gave one of the most heartbreaking performances of the year.

Fast Times At Ridgemont High Showed What It Was Like To Be An ’80s Teen

sean penn at a liquor store in fast times at ridgemont high
Refugee Films
Refugee Films

You should watch Fast Times at Ridgemont High if you’ve ever wanted to know what it was like going to high school in southern California in the early ’80s. The film didn’t shy away from mature topics, but also brought humor to the everyday struggles of being a teenager.

Don Phillips found some of the most talented young actors of the 1980s, including Phoebe Cates, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold, and Sean Penn. Penn is phenomenal in all of his scenes with his surfer, good-vibes-only attitude and hilarious back-and-forth with Mr. Hand (Ray Walston).

Why Audiences Still Rewatch The Goonies

the goonies cast wearing winter clothes on a rock
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

The story of The Goonies would not have been as compelling if it weren’t for all of the characters included throughout the movie. The friendships between the younger boys gave the film heart and the mere villainous nature of the Fratelli brothers made audiences root for them to get their comeuppance.

Even though all the characters are completely different from one another, they all have a synergy that only ups the stakes of finding the buried treasure and getting themselves out of danger. Replacing just one of these talented actors, found by casting directors Jane Feinberg, Mike Fenton, and Judy Taylor, would have disrupted the outcome of the whole movie.

Bridesmaids Kept Audiences Laughing Long After The Movie Ended

female cast of bridesmaids looking off to the side
Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

The real hilarity that comes from Bridesmaids is through the female ensemble. Both Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph are known for their wacky personas on Saturday Night Live, but casting director Allison Jones was able to bring in newcomers such as Melissa McCarthy to keep audiences cracking up hours after the film ended.

One scene in particular where the ensemble was able to perfectly play off each other was when they got food poisoning at the bridal shop. Their characters were doing everything they could to rid themselves of the unpleasantness, including climbing on top of a sink and running out into the street in full wedding regalia.

Family Is Everything In My Big Fat Greek Wedding

actors in wedding attire in my big fat greek wedding
Gold Circle Films/MovieStillsDB
Gold Circle Films/MovieStillsDB

When Toula (Nia Vardalos) finally has the chance to get married in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the main thing she has to worry about is her family. Her giant Greek family is the focal point of the movie. Each of them are able to confidently speak their mind, no matter how personal or embarrassing.

Casting directors Meg Liberman and Cami Patton were able to find many actors who were able to portray a realistic Greek family and could easily provide the comedic relief to Toula’s love story. The characters had perfect on-screen chemistry, causing the movie to be the most profitable independent romantic comedy film of all time.

You’ll Recognize Tons Of Today’s Top Stars In Wet Hot American Summer

cast of wet hot american summer sitting in front of a cabin
Eureka Pictures/MovieStillsDB
Eureka Pictures/MovieStillsDB

Hollywood owes casting director Susie Farris a lot of credit. She found stars such as Elizabeth Banks, Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, and more before they reached immense stardom. Wet Hot American Summer follows a group of camp counselors in the early ’80s who must figure out how they’re going to spend the last day of summer camp.

This movie has become a cult classic because of the fresh performances of the ensemble cast. Their witty quotes, oddball character development, and the complete comfort the actors had with one another made this film a hit.

There Wasn’t Another Movie Like Pulp Fiction

samuel l. jackson and john travolta wearing suits in pulp fiction
Miramax
Miramax

One of the most original movies ever made in Hollywood is Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. It’s also a great example of what works in an ensemble movie because each of the characters’ arcs intertwine effortlessly. Casting directors Ronnie Yeskel and Gary M. Zuckerbrod found actors who completely transformed into these iconic characters with most playing roles they hadn’t even imagined they could ever perform.

These are the unforgettable parts for actors such as John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, and Bruce Willis. Also, the characters are amplified when they have someone else’s energy to feed off during a scene.

Best In Show Comes From A Team Of Ensemble Movie Experts

actors holding a dog in best in show
Castle Rock Entertainment/MovieStillsDB
Castle Rock Entertainment/MovieStillsDB

Some of the most popular ensemble movies, including Waiting for Guffman, A Mighty Wind, and Best in Show came from actors including Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Parker Posey, Christopher Guest, Fred Willard, and many more. Best in Show particularly stands out as a top ensemble film because of the hilarious and wacky characters whose stories intermingle with one another as they each prepare to compete at a national dog show.

Casting director Stuart Aikins compiled a group of talented comedic actors such as Jane Lynch, Jennifer Coolidge, and John Michael Higgins who would go on to star in the team’s future endeavors and much more.

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