‘The Wilds’: Creator Sarah Streicher Explains Diverse Casting Decisions

One of the immediate things audiences noticed from watching the Amazon Prime Video show The Wilds is how diverse the casting was for the several teen girl lead characters.

The characters as a group are diverse in many ways, and that is reflected in the actors portraying them. In The Wilds, there are multiple races, sexualities, and even body types shown in the characters to represent a small sample size of what girls do look like and identify as today.

Read on to see what The Wilds creator Sarah Streicher had to say about the diverse casting for the show.

The Wilds Diverse casting
Erana James as Toni and Mia Healey as Shelby on ‘The Wilds’ | Matt Klitscher for Amazon Studios

How ‘The Wilds’ came to be

Streicher spoke with Collider about season one and the process behind making the new drama. She explained that she was experiencing “heartbreak” when the idea for the show came to her.

“I had all sorts of intense broiling emotions and calling my mom, listening to sad song playlists, and just all the memories of being an adolescent returned to me,” Streicher told Collider.

The creator continued: “It was a reminder of how close that person is to your surface, always and continually, and I wanted to explore that, and I wanted to celebrate it. I did not want to judge that intensity of emotion, I did not want to malign it. I wanted to explore it, kind of see how it ticks and really celebrate it.”

Streicher then combined her personal heartbreak with the idea for the show.

“And so I decided to marry the idea of the teenage coming-of-age experience and a deserted island and ask the question: ‘Which is more difficult to weather,'” she concluded.

What creator Sarah Streicher did to ensure diverse casting on ‘The Wilds’

Streicher said she really used her time figuring out these characters and even referenced people she knew in her own life as inspiration.

“I had spent a lot of time developing them, and part of my process is to really mine the people that I’ve known or grown up with, and graft their personalities and shapes and quirks onto the characters,” Streicher said about thinking up the characters. “So, I obviously came in with a pretty clear idea.”

The diversity for the characters in The Wilds started with the script; the diversity was there from the start.

“I’d written pretty clearly the kind of body type and ethnicity I was looking for,” Streicher said. “And to the great credit of the casting department — casting director Deanna Brigidi found these lightning-in-a-bottle performers.”

“It’s just that feeling when someone’s essence overlaps with the character that you’ve written,” Streicher commented on finding the actors to play the roles she wrote. “We were all pretty deliberate and firm about making sure that the body type diversity and racial diversity that was on the page was also reflected in the people that we found.”

How many people auditioned for the roles

The search for the perfect actors to play the characters Streicher created was extensive.

“We watched so many tapes,” Streicher said about how many girls auditioned. “We cast the net really far and wide. And what is exciting is that, we found actors from all points of the globe, and that helps, I mean, because the characters themselves are supposed to be this heterogeneous mix. The way that the actors themselves reflected that, it kind of was life imitating art in a beautiful way.”

The Wilds is available to watch now on Amazon Prime Video.

RELATED: ‘The Wilds’: Are the Cast Friends in Real Life?