The Big Picture

  • Hazbin Hotel
    creator Vivienne Medrano explains why it was necessary to change the cast between the original pilot and the series.
  • According to Medrano, Erika Henningsen perfectly embodies Charlie, bringing the right energy to the role.
  • Valentino was the hardest character to cast, with Joel Perez being the first actor to exceed expectations.


Hazbin Hotel has been celebrated for its music, topping multiple Billboard charts. With its cast of Broadway stars and veteran voice actors, the caliber of star power is a big factor in the show’s success. But who were the easiest and the hardest characters to cast? Creator Vivienne Medrano sat down with Perri Nemiroff for an episode of Collider Ladies Night where she gave a look behind the scenes at the casting process.


“There’s three amazing, perfect roles in there,” Medrano started by diving into the easiest characters to cast. “For me, Erika Henningsen is just so perfect. She just kind of embodies Charlie. I didn’t know that about her before she was cast, but now knowing her, I’m like, ‘She literally embodies Charlie,’ which is incredible. She brings that energy to the performance, and she’s always down to do the crazy, eccentric things that are asked of Charlie, with the singing specifically.”


Medrano then dove into why it was important to recast the actors from the original pilot episode which aired on her YouTube channel. “The main reason that the cast changed from pilot to series was due to the musical element. Everything was re-auditioned. When I heard [Erika], it just clicked immediately. I was like, ‘She has the range. She has the performance. She has the energy. She has just everything.’ So, she’s definitely perfectly cast, in my opinion.”


Alastor and Angel Dust Were Also Extremely Well-Cast

Alastor (Amir Talai) from Hazbin Hotel showing his wendigo form
Image via Prime Video 

Henningsen wasn’t the only cast member that fit the bill so well. The Radio Demon, Alastor, also needed a new voice actor from the pilot episode to Hazbin Hotel’s full series:


“Another one was
Amir Talai.
The challenge with Alastor was that I created him to a song. When it came to the pilot, we had incredible actors, but we had two separate
actors playing the singing and the acting
[for Alastor]. I was very particular about what the singing sounded like. There’s always a part of you that knows that it’s not quite there, or you’re like, ‘Maybe there’s another voice out there.’ When we came to the audition for Alastor, I actually saw

a video of Amir singing the song
that I based Alastor on.

The song is “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile” from the musical Annie, in case you’re wondering. “[It was] a bootleg performance of him on stage singing it. I remember thinking, ‘I hope this guy’s a voice actor. Please. I want him to read, so bad, for this role.’ Thankfully he was, and thankfully he did. And he got it because he just nailed that sound that I created the character to. That one was very special.”


The third character that was perfectly cast was Angel Dust. Medrano gushed, “Then the final one is Blake Roman just because of his audition. Not only does he capture the amazing bass that was set for him from the pilot, but his ability to be so vulnerable in his performance. Also, his voice is insane. His singing talent is just so phenomenal. His audition just blew me away. It was so, ‘Oh my gosh! That’s Angel.’”

Who Was the Hardest Character To Cast in Hazbin Hotel?

Hazbin-Hotel-Season-1-Valentino

The hardest character to cast was one of the big bad villains of Hazbin Hotel. Medrano didn’t hold back, saying, “The hardest one, for sure, was Valentino. There were a lot of amazing auditions. I think everyone kind of locked into the audition sheet, which is kind of like the base guide for auditions. They really locked into exactly what that said and went with the most expected voice from that lead sheet and didn’t really have fun with it. It was just the trickiest one. I could tell that it was the trickiest one to nail and none of them were really clicking with me.”


It started to get dire, as Medrano explained:

“We tried to offer it to a couple of actors. It got to a point where we were like, ‘Well, none of these auditions are quite hitting it, so are there any actors maybe?’ Everyone said no, and I was like, ‘Nobody’s gonna voice this character. Who’s gonna voice this character? We’re gonna have to settle on somebody.’ I don’t want to do that because that’s unfair to the actor, because then there’s an expectancy that they aren’t at.
I was really distraught about it.

Finally, a breakthrough happened with the casting. “I remembered this amazing actor named Joel Perez who had actually come in for my other series. He was brought in by one of my songwriters on that series, because we were doing a song that had harmonies. Andrew Butler was his name, and I told Andrew, ‘You know more singers than me. Just bring in anyone you know who can do these parts,’ and he brought in Joel.”


Perez was who they were looking for, as Medrano explains:

“I remember
I just loved his energy,
because the camera — it was during the pandemic so it was Zoom — and his camera wasn’t even on! I just heard him, and he had such a good energy. He was so down to voice act for some incidentals, so I was like, ‘I love him. Maybe he’ll be interesting.’ I knew he was a Latin actor, so I was like, ‘I think he would probably have a really good shot at this character.’ I asked him to read for it and he did. His was the funniest audition, hands down. It was immediate. I was like,
‘There he is. There’s Valentino.’
It was good.”

Hazbin Hotel is now available to stream on Prime Video. Check out the full interview with Medrano below:


Hazbin Hotel TV Show Poster

Hazbin Hotel

In an attempt to find a non-violent alternative for reducing Hell’s overpopulation, the daughter of Lucifer opens a rehabilitation hotel that offers a group of misfit demons a chance at redemption.

Release Date
October 28, 2019

Creator
Vivienne Medrano

Cast
Erika Henningsen , Christian Borle , Alex Brightman , Amir Talai

Seasons
2

Watch on Prime Video



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