PDA

View Full Version : Finding Inspiration in Actors



AnneMarble
04-05-2007, 02:57 AM
Sigh. I'm feeling nostalgic about my first novel. The actor (Gareth Hunt) who helped to inspire my first novel died in March. (Pancreatic cancer, just like my aunt. Ugh. :() He was probably my first real crush, too, unless you count the Professor in Gilligan's Island. (I had ... unusual ... crushes. ) It was because I started watching Gareth Hunt in The New Avengers that my first novel (written in a notebook in high school) got written. (Although a cool camp counsellor from Germany who inspired the villain. ;))

Ironically, before learning about this, I glanced through that novel again recently, and if I hadn't known Dirk Carson (oh that name, sigh) was based on Gareth Hunt, I wouldn't have been able to tell. Good grief, he even had ... a beard! And don't get me started on the fact that my main characters were so utterly stupid that I hoped the camp counsellor... I meant he assassin ... shot them.

So was anyone else inspired to base a character on an actor (or a cool camp counsellor ;))? Did you ever look at the story again and realize that character bore no relation to the actor? And if the actor ended up in the news in a negative way (not death, but scandal or arrest), would that have an effect on the way you feel about the story?

ChaosTitan
04-05-2007, 03:39 AM
Dear Lord, yes. I regularly use actors for character inspiration. It's a habit from RPG-ing, I admit, but one I can't seem to break.

The way those actors are portrayed in the media for things they do in their personal life never impact the way I view a story. More than anything, I am extremely amused when actors I cast end up in a project together (be in a movie or episode of television). There is an upcoming episode of Grey's Anatomy where the "hero" and "villian" of one of my first novels will appear on screen together. I can't wait. ;)

If this makes me weird, I can accept that. :)

davids
04-05-2007, 04:02 AM
All my characters including the women are based on Charles Laughton

Meerkat
04-05-2007, 05:13 PM
I'm slightly ashamed to admit that I wish my characters had such noble beginnings. I have a hard time equating them to any "real life" folk; they are based on no one in particular. (perhaps my writing would be better if they were!)

Just Me
04-05-2007, 05:58 PM
When I started writing one of my characters and was just getting to know him, I realized all of a sudden, "Huh. He looks a bit like Johnny Depp with freckles." Ever since then, I've always pictured Johnny Depp playing the part in my mental movie as I wrote. :tongue It even seems like the kind of role he'd take.

~JM

Claudia Gray
04-05-2007, 06:31 PM
I often attempt to "cast" my characters -- not so much to pull from the actor as to sort of fix my idea of the character's appearance in my mind. The work of creating characters is so amorphous and difficult and odd that it's good to have something, anything, that's unchanging and fixed that you can use as an anchor. Appearance isn't the most important thing, but I find it helps.

MidnightMuse
04-05-2007, 07:26 PM
Physically, sure. I'll see a picture of some guy in some movie and think he's got the PERFECT look for a character I'm working on. Like Ryan Reynolds in Blade Trinity - pretty dang sexy. That guy in the BBC's new Robin Hood. One time I got hooked on a certain look of Keanu Reeves in a photograph I saw.

But that's as far as my inspirations go - just one certain, special "look". The mannerisms, voice, movements - have nothing to do with the person who's look I'm lusting after - I mean, picturing :D

Clearly all my MC's are male.

Anonymisty
04-05-2007, 07:42 PM
So was anyone else inspired to base a character on an actor (or a cool camp counsellor ;))?

Closest I've come is fantasy-casting my novel. I did this just the other day on my LJ. But that's really just for the physical similarities.

Toothpaste
04-05-2007, 08:42 PM
Mostly they are just friends of mine. But for some bizarre reason Ewan McGreggor totally inspired one character in my book. I mean he looks like him, he behaves like him . . . and I have no idea how this happened. I mean I think the boy is fabulous, but he isn't even my actor crush or anything. But I saw no point of fighting it. So I guess the answer to your question is, yes.

TheIT
04-05-2007, 09:51 PM
My favorite actor inspired my main MC. The character was orginally supposed to be an antagonist, but I had so much fun building his backstory he's now become the focus of most of my stories.

MidnightMuse
04-05-2007, 10:09 PM
My favorite actor inspired my main MC. The character was orginally supposed to be an antagonist, but I had so much fun building his backstory he's now become the focus of most of my stories.

Isn't that a BLAST? I love when that happens - some insignificant character you didn't need to use for much suddenly blossoms into an MC who perhaps develops redeeming qualities or morphs into a really great character. Like a bit-part actor who steals the screen.

I love that :)

TheIT
04-05-2007, 10:19 PM
Isn't that a BLAST? I love when that happens - some insignificant character you didn't need to use for much suddenly blossoms into an MC who perhaps develops redeeming qualities or morphs into a really great character. Like a bit-part actor who steals the screen.

I love that :)

Definitely a blast! The scary thing is, I still remember when I came up with the idea. I'd seen this actor in something else, so I looked for other shows he was in. I was watching one while folding laundry and musing about what my character should be like, and suddenly it hit me to cast this actor as my character. And thus history was made.... :D

I often use actors as inspiration for minor characters. Unfortunately, assembling my dream cast would require a time machine and a ouija board (some actors/actresses are currently too old or deceased).

I also find that I have difficulty casting the perfect actor for my major characters. For them, I think I live too much inside their heads to figure out what they actually look like.

TheIT
04-05-2007, 10:21 PM
Some other people's takes on the subject:

"Casting your Characters" from the Writing Novels forum
http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20163

Celia Cyanide
04-05-2007, 10:29 PM
All of my male characters are inspired by Eddie Furlong for some reason.

zahra
04-05-2007, 10:32 PM
Definitely do this. Sometimes I even write 'for' the actor. It helps to gel the character in my mind. One thing I do that's quite fun sometimes is imagine I'm commissioned to write a screenplay for two actors, and then see what happens. Good idea-jogger. I had a nice idea for Bill Nighy and Ken Stott, both of whom I adore as actors, which I still have on the back-burner. Bill and Ken both then went on to be in 'The Girl in the Cafe', interestingly.

WerenCole
04-05-2007, 10:32 PM
Dana Carvey always inspired me to "choppa the broccoli."



Other than that the answer is: All movies and actors affect me in various ways. Though what really inspires me is the story and therefore the directors. Sometimes the actors are just sidebars to great directors.

Pisarz
04-05-2007, 10:33 PM
My favorite actor inspired my main MC.

Same here!

Serenity
04-06-2007, 12:33 AM
I've always been a visual person, so I always cast my characters. Sometimes the actor inspires the character, sometimes it's the other way around.

Soccer Mom
04-06-2007, 01:06 AM
Many of my characters are based on real people. But some of them suddenly pop up in the form of an actor/actress. I like having a concrete image in my head of the person.

Elodie-Caroline
04-06-2007, 03:50 AM
I not only base the male characters in both my works on the actor Jean Reno, he actually gave me the inspiration to start writing.
I used to love writing when I was a kid, and at around 12 years old, decided I was going to be a writer when I grew up, but living life got in the way and I only ever wrote poetry if someone broke my heart lol.

Anyway, I have been a really BIG fan of Jean's for around 11 years now and buy all of his films. I think he's handsome, he has the loveliest deep voice imaginable and that he's the most sexiest man on this earth, to me anyway. But, although I buy his films to watch them solely for him, I think that a lot of his films suck and he is wasted on them. So I write the kind of stories that I would personally like to see him star in, if they were films, and no, they're not porn stories lol... I think I would get him a well deserved an Oscar! :D


Elodie

Melanie Nilles
04-06-2007, 08:02 AM
It's nice to know I'm not alone in this. Alas, it's usually only the male characters that I cast :D In my YA novel coming out, I could see Tom Welling, but that came to me after the fact.

small axe
04-07-2007, 08:59 AM
It's a tricky thing, but usually I'll go through magazines and tear out pictures that inspire more of a mood or emotion, than an actual Actor's face. The problem (for me) with using an Actor too deeply is that I'm afraid I'll be thinking about their specific speech patterns too much (I suppose if I found just the right one, that'd be a boon though) ... Using still images avoids having to "hear" them speaking.

http://www.modelsblog.info/content/2006/08/christy_turlington023.jpg

Oh, who am I kidding: everyone I write is Christy Turlington.

dpaterso
04-07-2007, 01:50 PM
Sigh. I'm feeling nostalgic about my first novel. The actor (Gareth Hunt) who helped to inspire my first novel died in March. ... It was because I started watching Gareth Hunt in The New Avengers that my first novel (written in a notebook in high school) got written.
Mike Gambit was the coolest! It's nice to hear you remember Gareth like this. :)



http://www.modelsblog.info/content/2006/08/christy_turlington023.jpg

Oh, who am I kidding: everyone I write is Christy Turlington.
:Huh: What bits are you supposed to hold onto? I'd be scared in case I snapped her like a chicken wishbone.

-Derek

small axe
04-07-2007, 02:16 PM
If you snap her like a wishbone you get to make a wish, though.
If I snapped her like a wishbone, I think my wish already came true!

Shadow_Ferret
04-08-2007, 08:25 AM
No. None of my characters are based on movie or TV characters or the actors who play them. My characters are all an amalgam of people I've met in real life who've actually had an impact on me.

I've never met an actor so they've never had any impact on me.

valeenc
04-08-2007, 09:44 AM
Great topic!

Usually my characters come from IRL people I know, have known, or simply observe, but I do have two novels outlined that were inspired by Marilyn Monroe. Both took me completely by surprise too.

I have a feeling I'll write a story based on Joan Crawford one day. My dad had an IRL encounter with her back in the '60s that is just ripe for the pickin'.

Oh. I nearly forgot. I was thinking about Demi and Ashton in the bathroom one day last week and totally came up with a movie idea starring them. Romantic comedy. I need to make notes on it soon lest I forget it.

Gah. Demi and Ashton? As they say over at TWoP, I need to find myself some brain bleach.