The reason it takes so long to look up a movie at first is the actor thumbnail. At the moment there is only a link to the actor image hosted on IMDB, this is then downloaded as required to be displayed in the movie viewer, the same is true of actors in TV Shows. The speed is dependant on the speed of IMDB and TVDB, sometimes the delay will be hardly noticeable, sometimes it is very slow, it is especially true of TVDB.
I did request on XBMC forums that they provide a method for local Actor image, but it doesn't look like it is going to happen.
I have come up with a workaround that should work for any actors from IMDB, although it would not be useful for actors on TVDB. It would involve creating an actor folder somewhere on your PC that is shared with XBMC.
The XBMC path would then be entered into the preferences of Media Companion.
Images from IMDB could be saved using the IMDB ID Code for the actor,
The image for Sylvester Stallone, would be saved in the actor folder as "nm0000230.jpg"
This would also mean that each actor would only need to be downloaded once, no matter how many movies they are in.
The path to that image could be entered into the nfo file ie.
Instead of the following,
You would have
I'm not sure if the above would work, in theory at least, it should. If someone wants to test it then please do.