When supporting characters steal the show

Once again a reviewer has stated that Juliett (Jet) Jones, my supporting character in The Bird With The Broken Wing, has stolen the show. This isn't the first time a reviewer has said she steals the show. She is an awesome character and she plays a vital part on the book - she has to or she wouldn't be there. But the story isn't really about her, it's about an angel who discovers that she isn't perfect.

I've had reviews where people were pissed off that the book wasn't all about her. Others have said they were surprised because she's not really mentioned in the (very short) blurb but she steals the show. In the full blurb so she is mentioned, but she's mentioned in the way of supporting characters. But the story isn't really about her, it's about an angel who discovers that she isn't perfect.

Now I will add here, that there's a difference between a scene stealer and incorrect casting. There's no way I could project Jet's personality only Rachael - the character who's story The Bird With The Broken Wing is actually about. It wouldn't work. It can't work for reasons made obvious in the story line. We may watch movies and say that lead role should have gone to somebody else. That's wrong casting. But when we find a character who is perfectly cast but just happens to capture out attention, that's scene stealing.

So, in honour of Jet Jones stealing the show once more, I thought I'd dedicate this post to a few of those wonderful supporting characters out there who are just so charismatic and endearing that they end up pulling the rug out from under the lead character.

In no particular order:

Han Solo (Harrison Ford) - Star Wars

For me, there is no bigger scene stealer on the planet than Han Solo. From the moment Harrison Ford leaned back in his chair and gently traced his finger along the wall while underneath the table he aimed his gun at the alien, I, (and I'm not alone I might add) fell in love with Han Solo. I stopped caring as much about what happened to Luke Skywalker, and cared more about Han Solo coming to everyone's rescue, mainly mine. He's the bad boy with redeeming quality and a giant walking teddy bear at his side. I should add that Chewbacca also is a major scene stealer.

Rizzo (Stockard Channing) - Grease

I grew up in public housing in the 70s, so I instantly connected with Betty Rizzo who spoke her mind and strutted her stuff and looked like she didn't give a shit what anybody thought of her. She was tough yet vulnerable. I loved Stockard Channing in this role (in fact in any role). A complex character with great one liners and a fabulous pink jacket, it was no surprise Rizzo stole the show. To this day the song she sings "There are worse things I could do" is my favourite. She holds her head high and rightly so. Because that's what scene stealers do.

Jeffrey Goines (Brad Pitt) - Twelve Monkeys

Brad Pitt tends to steal the eye whenever he is on the screen, so it's no wonder he raced up the billing ranks from supporting actor to lead actor. I also love Bruce Willis in Twelve Monkeys and at times it's difficult for anyone to take any thunder away from Bruce. I think they're both compelling, in that we want to know what happens to both characters. And I think the reason why we say Brad steals the show in this movie, is because the moment he appears he's an invested character.  

Fonzie (Henry Winkler) - Happy Days

The show was created to focus on Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard) but a tough looking dude in a leather jacket and motorcycle stole the show once more proving that viewers like bad guys and gals with redeeming qualities. Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli stole the show so much that apparently BBC wanted to name the show after him. Henry Winkler vehemently opposed this idea, crediting the success of the show to the entire cast. Which is what makes his character a scene stealer, and perhaps Winkler knew that fans create cult status, not the TV directors.

Mrs Cooper (Laurie Metcalf) - Big Bang Theory

Laurie Metcalf is an A-grade scene stealer. She stole the show in Roseanne as Jackie Harris. And every time she's in a scene on The Big Bang Theory she's just a presence you can't ignore. I was getting concerned that all my scene stealers were bad boys with redeeming qualities, but Mrs Cooper is not a bad girl, she's a God-fearing, Jesus praying Texan and she rocks in this role.

Castiel (Misha Collins) - Supernatural

I can't believe I first completed this post and forgot about this celestial scene stealer. Castiel is so popular with the fans that he's a regular feature in their promotion, if not the show. I love his playfulness which I think is actually his personality which only makes him more endearing to fans. It is also ironic that this emotionless celestial being has connected with the audience emotionally. Maybe Castiel is broody and serious, but Misha has a lovely smile and he's not afraid to show it. He also proves you don't need to be a badass to steal the show. We love you Cass/Misha.

Those are some of my favourite scene stealers. Do you have any more to add?

I guess it doesn't matter that I tell everyone that The Bird With The Broken Wing is a story about a guardian angel, there are scene stealers in literature and movies and TV. And to have readers connect with and fall in love with Jet Jones makes me real proud of her as a character. And I will cheer her on as she steals the show. You go girl!

And lastly, here's a fact you might not know about my supporting character Jet Jones. The name Jet was taken from an animal rescue clipping in the paper for a kitten they'd called Juliett (Jet for short). It is also a tribute to my favourite musical artist Joan Jett.

About the Author
D L Richardson is the author of speculative fiction. She has six books published. The Bird With The Broken Wing reached number 2 at OmniLit and number 38 at Kobo Books. Feedback reached number 1 at OmniLit. Little Red Gem was 2nd place Best Books of 2013 Paranormal Cravings and the book trailer which features an original song performed by the author appeared on USA Today website. She lives in Australia on the NSW south coast with her husband and dog.

Contact information

Email                   dlrichardsonbooks@bigpond.com 
Blog           www.dlrichardsonwrites.blogspot.com
Twitter             www.twitter.com/#!/DLRichardson1 


  1. Thank you for such a great article DL. Supporting characters add richness to a story and I love giving mine such distinctive personalities.

    But when you have one which steal the show as Jett does, the only thing to do is give her a story of her own.

    I've had to do that and it's been great fun to write. I hope you find the same thing with yours!

    1. Thank you Elizabeth. And thanks for the idea about her own book. I'll have a think about it. Merry Christmas to you and your family. D L xox


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