Director’s fury as call for dwarfs is flooded with tall applicants who can ‘play smaller’

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Dwarfs are feeling grumpy this Christmas because tall actors are trying to pinch their roles.

Casting director Sue Odell was stunned when she advertised a part for an actress who had to be under 5ft 3in.

She got applications from tall actresses who assured her they could “play smaller” and when she advertised for a “wheelchair user” she got applications from 104 able-bodied actors offering to learn how to use one.

She tweeted: “What’s going on?’ I posted Spotlight UK (casting company) for a ‘Wheelchair User’ and got a response from an actor saying she ‘is a quick learner & could learn to use a wheelchair..!!’ I’m now receiving letters from tall actresses for a role for someone under 5’3″ saying they ‘can play smaller’!!”



Sue Odell posted the tweet in an attempt to cast a smaller actress
Sue Odell posted the tweet in an attempt to cast a smaller actress

Agents blamed the pandemic, which caused the closure of theatres and the halting of TV and film productions which meant that many actors and actresses have been left without roles or a source of income.

Despite the fact that they don’t fit the casting requirements, the taller actors have been applying in an attempt to get back on their feet.

The tweet received a reply from another person who was baffled by their move.



Sue shared her experience online
Sue shared her experience online

They wrote: “It’s crazy! I advertised a role on Spotlight for a short film I was making, specifically asking for someone with neurodiversity, and all the submissions were not neurodiverse. What goes through agents & actors heads when they do this??”

Another angry user, this time an actor who described herself as ‘petite’, said: “As an actress who actually is 5ft 3 I think that’s outrageous […] so, I could turn up for an audition in stilettos and apply for a ‘tall woman’ role then?”



She received responses from actresses that couldn't be classed as near the appropriate height
She received responses from actresses that couldn’t be classed as near the appropriate height

One who represents dwarfs – who have to be 4ft 10in or less – said: “It’s desperate times and I guess some people will stoop to desperate measures.

“But this is the wrong era to be trying to win a role you’re not physically suitable for. Remember, short actors have been through tough times too.

“The last thing they need – particularly in panto season – is for people trying to muscle in on their roles.’’

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