Actor unhappy with bad-guy casting


Some food for thought today from actor Josh Farah who says Middle-Eastern-looking actors are being typecast as bad guys on Australian television.

Farah, who played a ‘debt-collecting heavy’ in The Checkout, says he is frequently cast as “the thug, the bodyguard, the bikie boss, the bad guy”.

“When the casting agent sends the brief to my agent it’s “looking for a thug, needs to be six foot, built like a brick shithouse, preferably Middle Eastern looking”. And it says it in the brief. No one knows this, but it’s there in black and white,” Farah tells News Corp.

He also had roles in the 2012 feature Convict and Rake.

He notes Firass Dirani as one actor who has moved beyond Underbelly to House Husbands.

I can think of East West 101 in which an Arabic-Aussie showed much more depth -played by Don Hany. SBS also screened 2009 telemovie Saved, with an Iranian student persecuted by the government but the Department of Immigration.

“I’d love to play the good guy for once, the detective who saves the day,” he says.


  1. Don’t worry, Farah – you’ll get to play the good guy when the wheel turns and the Mafia or Chinese crime syndicates or Japanese crime syndicates or Russian crime syndicates or…..or…..or…. return to play the bad guys! It’s all cyclic!

  2. Whinge, whinge, whinge! There are hundreds of actors who would kill to get as much work as he has. He should be thankful that his talent is appreciated. I don’t hear many English actors in Hollywood complaining about constantly being cast as the bad guys. Indeed, it has become such a stereotype that comedians make jokes about it!

  3. oceanographer

    I’m trying to remember the last I saw a Middle Eastern looking actor playing a speaking role on Home and Away or Neighbours? He’s got a point.

  4. Secret Squïrrel

    I’m not saying he doesn’t have a point, but there are plenty of Anglo-Saxon actors who only seem to play tough/bad guys or sometimes cops. It would be a bit much if a lot of the briefs are specifically asking for Middle-Eastern appearance for these roles but obviously an actor who doesn’t look Middle-Eastern is not likely to see such a brief, so there’s a bit of sampling bias happening with what Farah is seeing.

  5. I would, say Fletcher Humpheys has had more ‘backass’ roles than anyone! I’ve only see him typecast as a goodie as Rodger Corser’s brother in Last Man Standing and he also had a role in East of Everything. He’s played a bikie in Bikie Wars, he killed Charlie and Casy in H&A and I know there are endless smaller roles where he is typecast as the bad guy….he does a great job though. I did like him as Anton in Last Man Standing the best…he was very funny!

    • I think he also played a nice bloke in All Saints as an ambo driver from the country. It’s a bit like the big bloke, Richard Carter who invariably plays cops, bar the Virgin mobile ad ad and perfect as Bradley Murdoch in the mini series about the outback killer.

  6. daveinprogress

    He’s got a point. Casting is pretty uninspired in this country; but i guess it comes back to the writing and the vision for the narrative’s characters. Glacial pace of progress.

    • It’s not really the writing. There’s a lot of TV where race has no impact on the story or character and anyone can be employed but usually non-White actors are cast in specifically non-white roles.

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