How important does your physical image contribute to get you the part?

  • Kevin Mangar

    Actor

    Over the last five years my weight shifted from 13stone lean muscular to 16stone wrestler muscular.My commercial model days were over!I was typecast for "baddies" most of the time and I had to find other areas of acting I could fit in.It was a rough experience but an interesting learning curve!

    Now I managed to lose 2stone and trimmed again!Being a perfectionist method actor,I like to experiment and guess what, now I have different physical ranges to suit!

    What are your views on that?Are we becoming like America where everybody is "Pre-Ops" or physical outlook plays a very important to get the part?Let's hear you all!

    • 14th Sep 2006
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    well I'm not a typical example as I'm mainly pr material but, obviously to my clients who book actors image is EVERYTHING.

    Sadly, they often don't know exactly what they are looking for until they find it

    • 17th Aug 2006
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  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    Unfortunately, I have to agree...

    A decision is made about your suitability for the role you are auditioning for pretty much as soon as you walk through the door. It you can act as well....bonus!!

    I obviously don't waste my time going for "handsome male" leading roles as the chances of me getting them don't even register on a scale of 1-10.

    The trick is knowing your casting profile and going for for roles that tick all the boxes...if you do otherwise, you are wasting your time and money, and are going to have to get used to dealing with constant rejection.

    ForbesKB

    • 17th Aug 2006
    • 2
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    well said Forbes

    • 17th Aug 2006
    • 3
  • Matt Jamie

    Actor

    Good question!

    Yeah, I'd say (certainly in film/tv/commercials) that the way you look is what it's all about. But that doesn't mean that as an actor one has to change ones look or become "perfect". You just have to realise what your "look" is and go with it!

    I remember a director at drama school telling us what our casting would be on TV, and in his words he said "You're a lanky streak of p*ss aren't you?! Well, you'll never play Romeo, probably mad scientists, wierdos and friends". Which was nice (!) but certainly early on it was definitely spot on - commercials castings especially.

    On stage I think image is (sometimes) less important as people seem to have more imagination about character etc - (I did play Romeo on stage!) - it seems on film you often have to BE the person before any acting happens.

    Your look is important, but that doesn't mean you have to try and change it - If you can embrace your look and go with it there's loads of interesting work out there.

    M

    ____________________________________

    • 17th Aug 2006
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  • Sally Beaumont

    Actor

    I certainly think look is tremendously important- particularly for women I'm afraid.

    We're still categorised quite heavily.

    Unfortunately I've never been able to work out where I fit, as I'm in one of the most over subscribed looks there are!

    Answers on a postcard for Sally's niche...

    • 17th Aug 2006
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  • Robert Dearle

    Actor

    I agree, my look is what gets me a load of work. I am not proud of being over weight, but it gets me work. I have done 5 corporate jobs recently about diabetes (wake up call for me though, the script of a recent one was more or less my own life!!).

    Bob

    • 17th Aug 2006
    • 6
  • User Deleted

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    Sadly looks do matter.

    I worked in a production recently where an actress really could not act and that was picked up during the auditions but the director insisted because he liked her photographs. (She is a model). However she has ended up being a voiceover in the film literally because her rushes are so bad that they keep on cutting to close ups of the guy that she was in the scene with and now they are reconsidering shooting her bits with another actress. Of course we found it funny because the director was warned but he was thinking that she was a good pin up for the press. Another actress came in and was brilliant but she wore red beads. The director hated beads and he cannot stand the sight of red. Needless to say she was cast as a walk-on but had such a great personality and now she has ended up with a significant number of lines because another one of the 'pretty' girls was so bad that they had to replace her. Needless to say wardrobe ensured that the actress did not wear red and that there were no beads in sight. Another tricky bit is that wardrobe can be a bit of a nightmare because press offices for most designers store only up to size 10. So if and when you have female actors especially above size 10, calling in clothes can be very tricky.

    • 17th Aug 2006
    • 7
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    Ola,

    This can be a prickly issue if you start taking everything personally. At the end of the day you just have to know your 'type' and use it to the best of your ability.

    For example: I am a fairly easy on the eye 32 year old who is usually cast in the 'best friend'/'mother' role because I'm a size 12 and no-one could possibly find me attractive enough to cast me as the femme fatale cos I'm 'fat'. In LA, a casting director told me that I'd be the perfect best friend 'cos you're very pretty, but a bit chubby so you won't over shadow the lead'!! Did I go home and cry? No, I gave him my card and said 'call me when such a role comes in'.

    The last 2 films I did, however, had me as the 'slightly chavvy, but sexy' murdering bitch.... Completely cast against type and I had a blast.

    My point: I'm now seeing a personal trainer 3 times a week and am aiming for a size 8 by mid-November as I much prefer these types of parts now I've had the chance to do them. I have to suck it up and get the physique to go with it, or be stuck doing the same old stuff for ever.

    Looks (and weight, 'specially for women) are pretty much everything in this industry and as Forbes said - acting ability is a bonus.

    So I wait with baited breath to see if I go from the comedy mother roles to the hateful beauty roles with a smooth transition....

    The only thing I will never change is what's inside. I'll always have an opinion and gob to spout it from - I'll just be doing it in different packaging, that's all.

    Wish me well cos I can hardly lift my weary arms to type...are pencils supposed to be heavy?

    • 18th Aug 2006
    • 8
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    I was really happy to read that last comment. What I never understand is there are plenty of model looking actresses (just look through CCP)so why go for someone who can't act? I was glad to hear that you were proved right in the end!!!

    Unfotunatly looks seems to be more important for females. If you look on the casting section you always see "attractive and slim" characters or "stunningly beautiful". If it is something different then it is normally the complete opposite. There seems to be no inbetween which is difficult if you are inbetween.

    • 18th Aug 2006
    • 9
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    I meant the lcauk comment!

    Weight is a major issue in film. But if we all keep slimming down to a size 8 or below it will never change.

    Kate Winslet is a size 12 and it doesn't stop here playing a leading lady, does it?

    • 18th Aug 2006
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    Point taken and good for Kate, but it IS stopping ME getting the roles. It's never really going to change no matter how much we bitch and moan about it. And believe me I have! You either stay as you are, possibly lose roles (like me) and complain about the unfairness of casting, or you come to your senses and realise that until you are a NAME you have got to conform, at least a little bit.

    LIKE IT OR NOT, I'M CONFORMING after 12 years of bitching about not wanting to 'be skinny'. Believe me though, if it makes no difference to my casting-ness, I'll be straight back to the pie shop!

    H x

    • 18th Aug 2006
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    Sadly looks do matter.

    I worked in a production recently where an actress really could not act and that was picked up during the auditions but the director insisted because he liked her photographs. (She is a model). However she has ended up being a voiceover in the film literally because her rushes are so bad that they keep on cutting to close ups of the guy that she was in the scene with and now they are reconsidering shooting her bits with another actress. Of course we found it funny because the director was warned but he was thinking that she was a good pin up for the press. Another actress came in and was brilliant but she wore red beads. The director hated beads and he cannot stand the sight of red. Needless to say she was cast as a walk-on but had such a great personality and now she has ended up with a significant number of lines because another one of the 'pretty' girls was so bad that they had to replace her. Needless to say wardrobe ensured that the actress did not wear red and that there were no beads in sight. Another tricky bit is that wardrobe can be a bit of a nightmare because press offices for most designers store only up to size 10. So if and when you have female actors especially above size 10, calling in clothes can be very tricky

    lcauk makes 2 very good points there..not least the one about publicity departments only supplying clothes in model sizes

    and if any of the "real" actresses want to be cheered up by the unsuitability of models for acting I have dozens of humdingers

    • 18th Aug 2006
    • 12
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    Fair enough!

    I think you look great anyway!

    • 18th Aug 2006
    • 13
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    Models being unsuitable for acting....

    Think that is a bit harsh and a huge generalisation. Many models are such because it is their equivalent of a waitressing job - it pays the bills so they an pursue other ventures, i.e. acting classes.

    I make this point because I was at the Charlize Theron 'Reel Life' talk/interview at the Film Festival last night and she was classed as a 'MAW' in Hollywood (Model, Actress, Whatever).

    She paid for acting classes with the model money and worked her butt off. I'm sure there are many people out there in the same situation as we all are but are fortunate enough to make money with their looks/figure rather than having to temp (like me) or waitress like others.

    Not wanting to start a rant, but just want to point out that not all models are stupid, thick or talentless...however, there are many who are. Just didn't want a 'tar with the same brush' situation to flare up again.

    PS - I'm not a model, just sticking up for those who are...

    H x

    • 18th Aug 2006
    • 14
  • User Deleted

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    I wasn't suggesting that ALL models are unsuitable for acting..merely offering to give examples in which that proved to be the case.

    • 18th Aug 2006
    • 15
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    And to make things even worse - just wait until you get older and see how many roles there are(n't) for you!

    At least I get looked at for "character" roles (come to think of it, there aren't many other kinds of roles for women over 40) and I am definately a character! There are very few "leading" roles for over 40s, unless you are a man!

    But I think that's the thread of another stream of consciousness on this wonderful site.

    Yours ageingly,

    Annie

    • 18th Aug 2006
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  • Carmell Roche

    Actor

    As I'm 24 but look younger I get cast as teenagers. When I apply for roles that are my age I am told I look too young for the part. That is annoying it's hard enough finding auditions for mixed race girls as it is.

    • 19th Aug 2006
    • 17
  • User Deleted

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    I'd say physical appearance counts for a lot. I go for more bad guy roles than anything because I know I have a better chance of being casted as that than other roles. Plus I prefer to play the bad guy anyway. Remember people deny it but we all to a certain judge people by their appearance it's Human Nature

    • 19th Aug 2006
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    I think it is extremely important, especially for women. As soon as you are over a certain size you get cast as the friend or character part but if you are bigger and younger then there really is no hope. I am a character actress and can tell you that I feel I should go on a break and come back to acting when I'm 40. Based on that the only answer seems to be to work my behind off at the gym and starve in order to get to the size when I will be hired!!!!

    Even Julia Roberts said that she liked doing the voice work because she didn't have to diet. Liv Tyler is shunned by Hollywood because she is too big.

    It is all madness but that is the industry we chose to join!

    • 30th Aug 2006
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