Benicio Del Toro

Hundreds of 'tough guys' seek roles in prison miniseries

They began lining up outside the loading dock an hour before the metal door clattered open, a bricklayer, retired boilermaker with beefy arms, a sideshow of tough guys who said friends had told them they had "the look."

Hundreds of movie extra hopefuls, many wearing ribbed tank tops and sporting that menacing, don't-mess-with-me glare, turned out on a recent Saturday morning for an open casting call for extras at the now-closed State Correctional Institution-Pittsburgh in Woods Run. If chosen, they will have small parts in the Showtime miniseries, "Escape at Dannemora," which is based on a real-life prison escape in 2015.

"I have that look,...