EXCLUSIVE: There’s not much about the self-tape audition process that Charisma Carpenter likes. There’s hardly any feedback. There are no do-overs. And if she’s not paying a coach to read with her, she’s having to rely on friends in her midwestern town.
But she would choose that scenario — however flawed the new reality may be — than rely on artificial intelligence to help her find a job. So when she received a random email to join Largo.ai’s “100 Actors Program,” she waved the red flag on social media just as fellow SAG-AFTRA members were hitting the picket lines to fight for AI protections.
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The email from a salesperson at the Switzerland-based Largo.ai promised “direct connections with producers and directors (by) allowing you to receive auditions directly from them.” It also said Largo.ai “will automatically suggest matching characters to producers/directors” and “you won’t be charged any commission for the roles you secure.”
“Welp, AI is coming for Casting Directors, Agents and Managers too,” Carpenter wrote on her Instagram account. “Seen as intermediaries.’ AI protections across the board! ✊”
A post shared by CHARISMA CARPENTER⚡️ (@charismacarpenter)
One of the actors who responded to Carpenter’s post was Yellowjackets’ Melanie Lynskey, who wrote “having ‘intermediaries’ who believe in you and think of you for those roles that might not seem 100% right for you but they know you can do it, is how an actor builds a career. This is nuts.”
Reached by Deadline, Carpenter called the AI casting process “ridiculous” and insisted that “AI is not a belief system.” “They may take data and statistics and spit out a formula that says this person is right for this part, but there’s no foresight,” continues the actress best known for her work on Angel and Dynasty. “AI doesn’t know me, they don’t know the richness of my soul. They don’t know my life experiences. They don’t know the books I’ve read. They’ve never had those conversations with me to glean how right I am for a part that maybe data would not foresee.”
The Casting Society declined to comment on AI casting, but a spokesperson pointed to a recent Reddit thread suggesting that it’s a possible scam. It’s not, insists CEO Sami Arpa of Largo.ai, which also has a “presence in Los Angeles, London, and Istanbul,” according to its website.
“We can see that current reactions are quite superficial by positioning the overall AI as a direct enemy, by casting directors or voice actors,” Arpa wrote to Deadline. “Our system has nothing to do with both. Largo.ai has been mainly created for producers, studios and distributors, and many of them are already using our platform since 2019. The main goal of our platform is analyzing the content as early as the development stage from the screenplays, and provide feedback to the producers on the story, casting, and potential audience together with expected financial results.”
“Our system is not destroying any jobs as claimed in some of those Instagram posts, which are people who do not have any idea on the platform,” Arpa continued via email. “For the casting part, the system has proposed more than 100K actors to the producers completely free of charge during past 4 years. Our new system for Actors is just an additional system that we released for actors, after getting the demand from many actors. Because our AI was already proposing the actors to the producers automatically based on their previous credits during the past 4 years, and we were getting requests if we could provide option for them to connect with the producers directly in such a connection done by the AI. That is how we started this additional service in a narrow & experimental way for the actors.”
Carpenter has zero interest in exploring what Largo.ai has to offer. After she posted on IG, fans referred to it as “scary” while actor Jordan Gavaris (The Lake) called it “absolute lunacy.” “The only reason I’ve ever had a job is because casting championed me for amorphous reasons,” Gavaris wrote. “AI will never be a fan.”
“I have had wonderful casting directors that have brought me back time and time again to get me employed,” she tells Deadline. “I really am hard pressed to see what the advantage is to actors going this route.”
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