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  1. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    Movie Star character influence.

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by bluebell80, May 23, 2009.

    How many of you out there, use actors and actresses as inspiration for characters you write?

    In my current project I don't have a direct inspiration for my female lead, though I have drawn some physical inspiration from pictures of women of her ethnicity. My male lead in my mental production of my story is being played by Blair Underwood (TV/movie actor.) I went through and watched various bodies of his work, from shows to a few movies, and really watched his facial expressions, mannerisms, speech patterns and cadence.

    Now, I've left plenty of room for the readers imagination when it comes to character description, giving general things like eye color, skin color, physique, and a few things like full lips and thick eyebrows. But I don't think a police sketch artist would draw Blair Underwood from my descriptions. This leaves enough for the reader to imagine their own ideals for this character to make their own mental picture, something that may look totally different from my inspiration.

    I usually do this for at least one character I am writing about, if not all of them, if I seem to be running out of inspiration.
     
  2. psyence53
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    psyence53 Senior Member

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    One of my unwritten stories, the only one not influenced by music, is quite film influenced. I imagine the lead to be played by Johnny Depp, only, slightly older and without his witty comedy thrown in.

    Otherwise, it's usually musicians!
     
  3. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    Musicians, interesting...very interesting. :) I don't think I use musicians...well, at all...because I never really thought of it. I don't watch music videos, so I never know what they look like. lol Maybe I could have a role for Meatloaf.
     
  4. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I visualise stars in terms of physica description but (since i really know absolutely nothing about them) that's as far as it goes.
    It makes me feel famous when I imagine Michael Pitt reading my lines :p

    (plus he's a stone cold fox. rawr)
     
  5. starseed
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    starseed Contributing Member

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    Yes. My entire book was inspired by an actor I love. I'd rather not say who just in case by some insane stroke of luck I get published and become famous, because it would be really embarrassing later! (LOL!!) ;)

    But yeah, this actor, I just find him so fascinating and interesting and watching him one day made me start daydreaming about him, and I sort of came up with a character I thought he would be good to play, and from there, I imagined an entire story around the character and thats how my novel was born. :)

    Also, I have an actress who inspired my main female character. I've even gone so far as to watch her movies and make little notes about the way she speaks and her mannerisms.

    Gosh that's kinda stalkerish now that I think about it. Haha.
     
  6. psyence53
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    psyence53 Senior Member

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    Arron89, appearance is a huge part of the influence, so i try to avoid detail charater descriptions because it might make it obvious. Michael Pitt... the name sounds familiar, what's he been in?

    Bluebell80. i find musicians more interesting than film stars. Ok, film stars portray so many different characters, but i find the musician more interesting as themselves. Current inspirations are Matt Bellamy and Brian Molko. Or aspects of them at least! Perhaps even Dave Gahan. Kyo from Dir en grey. Ahhh there are so many possibilities haha. Meatloaf would be an interesting one. Didn't he do some acting once?

    Starseed - oooh whoo? pm me please i'm curious haha ;) You dont have to obviously. That's great that someone can inspire you so much. I know what you mean about a character they could play :)Have you written the whole book or are you in the process now?
     
  7. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    I've had inspiration from dreams starring different celebrities. A couple of interesting storylines came out of it, because I saw the characters in my mind so clearly, that I just had to start writing.

    A lot of times I like to look at actors and how often they are cast into certain types of roles. Take someone like Adam Sandler. He normally plays comedy roles. I would like to see him as a bad guy in a role. So I imagine what he might bring to a bad guy character (the actor himself--his personality, mannerisms.) Every actor brings a small piece of themselves to a character they play. I can see why Heath Ledger might have needed to be on meds after playing the Joker. It was a role so outside himself, that getting into the characters mind, made him feel things himself that were unhealthy.

    I had one story line with a lovable female actress (one who is beautiful, but tends to play the strong good female role) as the psychotic killer. Of course, it still remains unfinished, but eventually I might see it through.

    I like having some sort of visual inspiration for my characters, so that I can really get into their way of being. What goes on in their heads are completely made up, but how they physically react to those emotions and thoughts, I like to come from observing a subject. Actors make a convinent case study on how they physically react to a wide range of emotions. Movies, shows and interviews are readily available so it is easy to just pop something in and watch a section of their performance.

    Maybe it is because I use less things like: "He looked at her with disbelief." and more like:"He rolled his eyes at me and shook his head lightly. I didn't care if he believed me or not, it was true."

    To me getting right inside the character and their observations of the other, because frankly we don't know someone is looking at us in disbelief by osmosis, we know by their unspoken body language. It is something that is registered in our brains by observing their unspoken dialog. So, instead of just telling the reader how he looked at her, because we are all knowing, we let the observing character tell us what they see and how they perceive it. And that character may read the body language all wrong! Which adds an element of truth to the piece, because we all have read body language wrong at some point in our lives.

    I like watching people's unspoken words. I find actors to just be an easy observation.
     
  8. psyence53
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    psyence53 Senior Member

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    You make some very true and very interesting points there.
    I like your actor method thing, placing them against their stereotypical roles. I may explore that myself some day!
    And I also love the whole body language thing. That's very true. People don't automatically know anything, they make their own perceptions and judgements based on what they see. I know all too well how people make up their minds without knowing the full story, annd end up getting things wrong. Which ends up in conflict lol *rolls eyes* :(
    I myself dont find it easy to believe what people say to me. I always catch a glance which challenges what they say and makes me think they mean the compete opposite. They could be liars, or i could be wrong. Who will ever know.
     
  9. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Michael Pitt was in The Dreamers and Funny Games (and a bunch of other things obviously but those are his best roles....soooooo good, go watch them RIGHT NOW!!!!! :p)
     
  10. psyence53
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    psyence53 Senior Member

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    Ah shame. I saw the original of Funny Games and refuse to watch the remake :D
    But I may look into the Dreamers.
     
  11. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Lol there's not much point watching the remake if you've seen the original. Its a shot-for-shot remake with English speech. I watched it for Naomi Watts and rediscovered Mikey in the process. Gooood times ;)
    But definitely watch the Dreamers. Just not in front of people. Especially family.
     
  12. psyence53
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    psyence53 Senior Member

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    Yeah, I know I will only be let down. I hate english remakes, even if it is by the same people! I hate english dubs too. I didn't really sympathise with the mother pleading "bitte"... for the word please, it sounds too much like bitter lol. But yeah, incredible stuff. Who does Michael Pitt play in the remake? And what is Dreamers about btw? And i hate watching films around family or ANYONE. I always get uncomfortable.
     
  13. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Dreamers is about this american exchange student (Michael Pitt) who goes to Paris to study (during the 1968 student riots) and meets this brother and sister (eva green and some foxy french dude) and they have this strange love triangle. Lots of sex and nudity, but its really beautiful and quite tasteful, a great film.
    And in funny games, michael pitt plays the main bad guy, hes super creepy and awesome
     
  14. bluebell80
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    I have to say, Michael Pitt has that feminine quality to his face. Kind of like Leonardo DiCaprio used to. Maybe after Pitt gets over 30 he will grow into his man look too. :) I'll have to watch those movies here and see his performance. I remember seeing him in The Village. Yes. I saw it at the theaters...such a waste of $10.
     
  15. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    We pretend that didn't happen.
    And Leonardo DiCaprio wasoffered the role in the dreamers but turned it down due to schedule conflict with the aviator. Jake gyllenhaal was offered it as well, but turned it down due to the excessive nudity. Guess he has something to hide..... ;)
     
  16. mintcakes
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    mintcakes New Member

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    I currently have a character based of Anton Yelchin (who played Chekov in the new Star Trek). I even gave the character the same last name! I feel that sometimes you just need a little...kick in the right direction with characters. And if someone inspires you, be it movie star, model, musician, whatever, it's all good. As long as your description doesn't consist of "He looked just like a young Brad Pitt, with Johnny Depp's nose and Hugh Grant's voice". XD
     
  17. g1ng3rsnap9ed
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    g1ng3rsnap9ed Contributing Member

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    I used to write things inspired by films, but nowadays I figure that if I want to write things inspired by films I might as well just write a film. :p I'm mostly inspired by music or other stories.
     
  18. starseed
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    starseed Contributing Member

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    Anton Yelchin is the cutest ever, I adore him!
     
  19. psyence53
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    psyence53 Senior Member

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    Dreamers sounds like something I would watch. And, yes he does have that sort of face haha. I don't like his mouth. But i want to watch that film! Funny that about Jake Gyllenhaal, as he was fine doing Brokeback Mountain :) Not a bad actor, him.

    Mintcakes! Hugh Grant's voice!! Love it. I hate that sort of British accent (I'm British lol) but I love his voice! I was thinking about him recently, and I don't know why, but now for some reason I have this urge to write something around him. Like, if I was writing a character for him to play. But I want him to be something against tradition. Something darker, more sinister. Ooh ideas, thanks Mintcakes ;)
     
  20. HPandtheMI
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    I've never tried basing a character upon an actor, might try that one time though :)
    I have however, come up with a character description THEN picked actors I think fit and used them to get a clearer picture. Right now my cast consists of Taylor Swift, Emma Watson, Rollo Weeks, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Sturgess, and Tom Felton :)
     

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