Great Moments in Typecasting: Coming soon, an all-miserable people movie

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The Prestwich and Whitefield Guide:  Miserable and tired-looking northerners are being sought out to feature alongside Maxine Peake.  The Bolton-born actress is set to star in the feature film based on the1819 Peterloo Massacre in Manchester.  The unusual call was made by Piece of Cake casting, seeking people who look ‘downtrodden, tired, overworked and a bit hard done by’ to appear as extras. Directors are looking for men with longer, collar-length hair who look ‘really miserable’.


I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that this was a The Onion bit when I saw the headline.

But it makes complete sense: if you’re looking for an actor that can grow their hair out to shoulder length, is obscenely northern, and can perfect looking forlorn and hard done by, it’s Maxine Peake.

Throughout her career of mind-numbingly boring plays, wrist-slittingly depressing BBC dramas that go nowhere for five consecutive episodes but involve a lot of grumbing, or stumping ludicrous assertions for the Communist Party or Jeremy Corbyn’s New Communist Party, Maxine has perfected the look of a miserable man.

Her range has included unhappy, sad, sorrowful, dejected, depressed, downcast, despondent, despairing, disconsolate, out of sorts, desolate, bowed down, wretched, glum, gloomy, dismal, melancholy, melancholic, low-spirited, mournful, woeful, woebegone, doleful, forlorn, crestfallen, and grief-stricken. Or in the Corbyn video, just plain whiny.

Genius bit of casting, really.




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