As up-and-coming actor Tye Sheridan lands the AW15 campaign, we look at the history of the brand’s cult castings
Not long after an actor is tapped for a Prada campaign do we see them swiftly transform into their own satellite industry. Prada’s history of casting their campaigns is one of lobbying for outsider acting talent – and Prada’s internal casting department knows how to pick ’em. Case in point: when a fresh-faced Joaquin Phoenix was crowned campaign boy in 1997, he only had a scattershot CV boasting a few roles in TV series and one feature film. Then, just three years later, he did a small film about pit-fighting in ancient Rome called Gladiator.
Among the many names that have risen Hollywood’s ranks after receiving Miuccia’s magic touch are Ezra Miller, Miles Teller, Dane DeHaan, Tobey Maguire and Ben Whishaw. Teller – who lent his mug for Prada’s SS15 campaign alongside Ansel Elgort and Ethan Hawke – rode the wave all the way to the Oscars for sweating it out as a jazz drummer in indie hit Whiplash.
Further back on the timeline, Prada’s AW12 show was a who’s who of Hollyweird: Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody and Gary Oldman all made their runway debut. Oldman said of walking in the show, “At this point, I was not terribly busy, and said, ‘Okay, I'll go to Milan, and I'll do it for a good laugh!’”
Hearty chuckles aside, once Prada recognizes your talent, Hollywood’s doors fly open. Is it simply a case of being on the pulse? Or does Prada hold so much clout that the bigwigs sit up and take notice. Probably a mixture of both. After all, the model-to-actor transition is one that is well-documented.
For their AW15 film directed by Hopi Allard, Prada singled out actors Tye Sheridan, Scoot McNairy and Michael Shannon as unconventional reps for the brand. While the two elder candidates are steadily climbing the career ladder, it’s really Texas bad boy Tye Sheridan who’s magnetising attention. His striking look helped him get cast in Terrence Malick’s philosophical thinker The Tree of Life after an open casting call. Then he helped Matthew McConaughey’s cause as one of the leads in Mud, the harbinger of the famed ‘McConaissance’. His turn as Nicolas Cage’s mentee in indie drama Joe gave him an opportunity to show us just what he is made of. Pure grit.
Fast forward in his short career, and he’s slated to appear as prisoner Peter Mitchell in much-hyped The Stanford Prison Experiment (alongside past campaign face Ezra Miller) and Cyclops in X-Men: Apocalypse. So what makes Sheridan such a leftfield choice? Well, for one, he taught Nicolas Cage how to skin a deer on the set of Joe. Not exactly your average model-actor skill set – and that’s just what Prada cultivates.
Other fashion brands harvest the next hot-young-thing to star in campaigns for their fragrances; and sure, most of them go on to enjoy success. What sets Prada apart is its continuous upheaval of the expected – it’s an attention to detail that shuns conveyor belt casting and ensures its brand is associated with Hollywood’s most rousing rebels. It’s a tested formula that mirrors the brand’s ethos. Little wonder, then, that actors clamour for the saintly honour of Prada’s blessing.