Wednesday, January 22, 2014

TV Characters Who Come Out of Character Off Their Show

Once, I looked up Hugh Bonneville on Twitter, and I freaked out when I saw his profile pic. Lord Grantham does not wear jeans!

When I'm really hooked on a TV drama (not sitcoms, not reality TV, not movies, just TV dramas), I TRY to avoid watching main actors' interviews or looking then up online at least until the show has ended or their characters have been written off. Of course, I sometimes look anyway.

The reason I avoid looking up these actors is because it can be unnerving to see a tortured character, one I'm used to seeing as serious and dark, suddenly hamming it up on the red carpet at an awards show. My insides might sigh when a character I have connected with as the "real girl" next door emerges all glammed up on a late night talk show; she flirts with the host and is squeezed into something short and racy that shouts, "I'm so not the sorry frump I play on TV!" 

When a TV character sells themselves to me so well that I can temporarily overlook their fictionality, at least one person has done their job- it could be the actor,  the director, the stunt artist, the makeup/costume people, the casting director, the camera crew, the sound and lighting technicians, the screenwriter, etc... Someone knew how to cast the right spell so I could be comfortably immersed in a character's world while taking a short break from mine. 

I've also finished many good books and have said good-bye to a number of well-written characters the way someone would wake up groggy from a colorful dream, still grappling with the conclusion that the dream and even the people in it were not real. As an aspiring fiction author, I'd like to offer the same escape for someone else someday. 

Have you ever been thrown back to see an actor come out of character and "be themselves?" (I put "be themselves" in quotes because sometimes actors "being themselves" for the public can obviously still have masks on.)

What book have you read where the characters and plot seemed so real that you had to remind yourself that this was a work of fiction?

14 comments:

M Pax said...

Good acting is so sublime that way. I don't know if I ever take a book or show as seeming real, but there are worlds I would love to step into and be a part of.

Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

It always blows my mind to hear the British accent of Hugh Laurie, after hearing his sarcastic, flat American voice on "House."

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Agree with Jennifer! That was wild to hear the first time. Actually, it wasn't even an interview - he was in a movie.

Pat Hatt said...

It is interesting to see some play other characters and their real life selves, but the one character is all i usually relate them too.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I'm with Jennifer -- hearing an actor/actress speak with their normal accent is very startling. Several of the cast members on The Walking Dead are British, so it's strange to hear the switch from their southern Georgia accent on the show.

As for the last book where I had to keep reminding myself it was a work of fiction and the characters weren't real ... that would be Code Name Verity.

Trisha F said...

I am generally not troubled by this, but I admit sometimes it has hurt to realise that an actor whose characters I've adored is in reality a total dick. ;)

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Like Dianne, I was thinking of The Walking Dead cast, too. The actors who play Rick, The Governor and Maggie are all British and it is so strange to hear them speak off the set!

As for books where the world and its characters feel real? Too many to count. :)

Elsie Amata said...

Jennifer brought up a great point with Hugh Laurie. I had no idea he had any type of accent until I caught an interview with him a couple of years after watching the show. I was shocked! Same with some of the cast from True Blood...it just freaks me out for a second or two.

John Wiswell said...

James Earl Jones and Malcolm McDowell goofing around in commercials reading tweets dramatically is a great example of shattering a perception of a person or character. I also remember feeling like a sheltered little idiot the first time the actor for Jin from Lost did the bumper to "stick around for the evening news after the show." How could he speak English?!! Oh, right...

Medeia Sharif said...

Many times I'm surprised by how an actor comes across on a talk show or other venue versus how they are on screen. I usually prefer what I see in a show or movie.

Nicole said...

I try to avoid searching out too much info on the real life people behind my favorite on-screen characters because I don't want the illusion shattered. ;)

Empty Nest Insider said...

There are some talented actors that have a chameleon quality about them, which makes it difficult to tell if they're constantly performing in front of the camera. It was fun seeing Lord Grantham in jeans! It is so easy to get lost in a book, and want to stay connected with the characters in the end.

Julie

posse said...

My favorite books are the ones I read really fast, not wanting them to end, but not being able to stop myself. I polished off THE FAULT IN OUR STARS in about two days, totally in love with Augustus Waters. He was a character I wanted to keep, a character who felt like a friend.

Tizzy Potts said...

Ha, it's funny that a lot of people have mentioned their shock at Hugh Laurie's British accent. As a Brit myself I remember being shocked hearing his American accent for House as I was so used to his British one. David Tennant's Scottish accent surprised me as well. I also find it odd to see actors who play villains acting nice and normal!

I'm quite interested to see what actors are like in real life, so I don't try to avoid them. I'm happy when I find out a pretty actress eg. Jennifer Lawrence is really down to earth and a great role model or when actors turn out to be supportive of animal rights or something else I'm interested in. I'd be disappointed if they seemed like jerks in real life though.

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