REQUIRED CHARACTER #1: Lantern-jawed, rugged tough guy. Must be white Anglo-Saxon American heterosexual Protestant male. Naming convention: short, choppy given name followed by longer, manly-sounding surname. Examples: Rock Slatman, Jut Huxley*, Beef Cookford.
REQUIRED CHARACTER #2: Hot, busty blonde. Must be white Anglo-Saxon American heterosexual Protestant female, but need not necessarily be romantically involved with RC#1. Naming convention: should sound like hooker, porn star or stripper. Examples: Kandi Liquor, Hotsy McDuff, Sindee Lace.
REQUIRED CHARACTER #3: Bad-ass but surprisingly intelligent black guy. Must be African or African-American (Caribbeans are too exotic) and have tremendous physical strength, but also above-average intelligence to prove that you're not prejudiced ("See, blacks are scientists too!"). Naming convention: Incongrous given name + prosaic last name beginning with 'J'. Examples: Copernicus Jones, Stradivarius Jackson, Prof. Linus von Jefferson.
REQUIRED CHARACTER #4: Hulking, charmingly stupid lummox. Basically the same as the previous character, only white and not smart. Must be Caucasian, but not Anglo-Saxon -- good place for Slavs, Mediterraneans or other "exotics". Naming convention: Jaunty abbreviated/altered given name with floridly non-WASPish surname. Examples: Tony Jablonksi, Charlie Beaumontaine, Rocky Caravello.
REQUIRED CHARACTER #5: Hot, non-blonde woman. Physically, must be incredibly attractive, but has some flaw (red or brown hair, smaller breasts, glasses) that prevents her from being the lead female. Good place to put exotic foreigners. Naming convention: stripper alias for given name, followed by ethnic-sounding surname. Examples: Sasha Della Monte, Whisper Wong, Drapes Mahoney.
REQUIRED CHARACTER #6: Emergency backup lantern-jawed, rugged tough guy. Identical in every way to RC#1, but less popular. Ready to stand in should it happen that the lead cannot perform his duties.
Should you cast more than six characters, here are the next-preferred archetypes, in the order in which they should be employed:
#7: Physically unattractive, quirky guy who will eventually betray the group and whose inner torment and morally suspect character is reflected in his physical imperfection.
#8: Physically slightly less attractive quirky gal who wisecracks all the time and who is possibly a lesbian or bisexual but is NEVER allowed to be male and gay.
#9-10: Blond(e) twins from American heartland who face death and danger with an indefatiguable sense of optimism, innocence and cheer, and whom the viewer/reader will wish death upon within 50 pages/20 minutes.
#11: Magical Negro.
#12. Old man or woman who hangs around with young people for some reason and is extremely wise in addition to having a potent sex urge, a 'hip' means of expression, and a keen grasp of current technology.
*: Indian Stabber!