Film Body

<p>D's agent wants her to prep headshots and a reel for film, which brings up an old question in my mind. Long a go I was a dance major and even with Judith Jamison on the scene there was, and in my estimation still generally is, a real "dance body" for women.</p>

<p>I've noticed that every successful film actress I've ever stood next to was roughly a foot shorter and 50 pounds lighter than I was at birth.</p>

<p>Is there a "film body" for women, or is that my imagination? </p>

<p>MomCares. I think you know the answer to that question. The camera adds 10 pounds and movie stars are very skinny. :slight_smile: </p>

<p>@Flossy - That’s certainly the answer I thought I knew, but I was willing to entertain the possibility that I was totally (or even partially) mistaken. :)</p>

<p>“a foot shorter and 50 pounds lighter than I was at birth” :)) </p>

<p>@MomCares, I love the fact that you said Judith Jamison!</p>

<p>@glee4life - Longterm fan, what can I say? ;)</p>

<p>The engineer in me decided I had to do some research. In an attempt at a random sample, I looked up some film actresses I could think of from D’s school and here’s what I came up with (I’ll only list height since weight is so personal and variable)…</p>

<p>Julia Louis-Dreyfus - 5’ 3"
Anna Gunn - 5’ 10"
Jane Curtin - 5’ 4"
Anne Dudek - 5’ 10"
Ana Gasteyer - 5’ 7"
Mamie Gummer - 5’ 8"
Megan Mullally - 5’ 4"
Laura Innes - 5’ 4"
Laura Linney - 5’ 7"
Jennifer Jones - 5’ 7"
Meg Chambers Steedle - 5’ 7"
Cloris Leachman - 5’ 5"
Lily Rabe - 5’ 8"
Heather Headly - 5’ 9"
Kimberly Williams-Paisley - 5’ 5"
Paula Prentiss - 5’ 10"
Zooey Deschanel - 5’ 6"
Ann-Margret - 5’ 5"</p>

<p>Looking at the variation on this list makes it seem a little less like there’s a limited “film body”, but maybe that’s because most of these were cinematic leading ladies and comedians versus ingenues?</p>

<p>And here’s the same list ordered by height…</p>

<p>Julia Louis-Dreyfus - 5’ 3"</p>

<p>Jane Curtin - 5’ 4"
Megan Mullally - 5’ 4"
Laura Innes - 5’ 4"</p>

<p>Cloris Leachman - 5’ 5"
Kimberly Williams-Paisley - 5’ 5"
Ann-Margret - 5’ 5"</p>

<p>Zooey Deschanel - 5’ 6"</p>

<p>Ana Gasteyer - 5’ 7"
Laura Linney - 5’ 7"
Jennifer Jones - 5’ 7"
Meg Chambers Steedle - 5’ 7"</p>

<p>Mamie Gummer - 5’ 8"
Lily Rabe - 5’ 8"</p>

<p>Heather Headly - 5’ 9"</p>

<p>Anna Gunn - 5’ 10"
Anne Dudek - 5’ 10"
Paula Prentiss - 5’ 10"</p>

<p>Also, I just found an NPR story on this subject. Here’s a short clip…</p>



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<p>This is why apple boxes were invented. It is a commonplace in our house that most leading men are tiny guys with enormous heads. Nothing to do with ego. Just that when you stand next to a megastar you are likely to notice that his head is massive whereas he is, well, not so much.</p>

<p>Yes! I didn’t want to mention the bigger than usual sized head, thing. But, it’s so true about the men. lol. All of the kids we know who are working in film and TV are significantly under what would be considered normal size. But, they’re kids. One girl who who worked a reasonable amount as a child and is now 20 is getting a lot less to do. She’s gorgeous and tiny so we’ll see what happens. Incidentally, she tested out of high school at 15 and has never mentioned college. </p>

<p>Life is long. People do college degrees in their 40s and beyond - especially artists retooling for later life.</p>

<p>Hmmm… clearly I haven’t stood next to enough male movie stars! I’ve never heard the big head theory, but perhaps if they have to shoot from the feet up to make them look taller they’d appear foreshortened without an oversized head. :wink: </p>

<p>It would be great to hear from anyone who knows a young adult who has gotten on-camera work. Did it come through their MT agent or through another channel? Did physical type seem more limiting for film work than for MT, or is it similar to any other casting? </p>

<p>So … I just had to google “why do male movie stars have big heads?” and this is what I came up with. Interesting. </p>

<p>Michael Caine talked about this in an interview recently.</p>

<p>This is what he says about the physical pre-requirements for a leading screen actor:</p>

<pre><code>The first thing is, if you are a man with a very small head, or a woman with a very big one… you will never see a romantic couple on the screen, as a success, where the man’s head is smaller than the woman’s. The woman’s head must always be smaller, but you don’t notice it. If you saw it you wouldn’t even notice it, you’d just know that you didn’t like this couple.

If you can see your nostrils from straight on, you’ll never do it. If you can see your gums as you’re speaking, above your teeth, you’ll never do it. If, in the normal relaxed posture of your face, you can see the whites above your eyes, you will never become a leading lady or man, because it’s disconcerting.

But as I said in the book, if you have all three you’ll probably make a very good living in horror movies! [laughter]

<p>He then points out that there are many leading actors in the movies who are ‘not that great looking, and I’m one of them… Dustin Hoffmann, Bob de Niro, Al Pacino…’, who still have star quality and come across as good looking on screen because they have none of those things wrong with their face.</p>

<p>@KaMaMom - Thanks so much for that! It is so specific, and so interesting. I wonder if there’s a similar (or the same) list of physical attributes for female starlets. Now I want to study head shots of film actors and see how many conform.</p>