I’ve had a couple of conversations with friends of mine lately regarding actors in relation to the characters they portray. And I want to get something straight here:
ACTOR. DOES. NOT. EQUAL. CHARACTER.
People have tried to convince me that this person:
…which is completely not true. Daniel Radcliffe is not Harry Potter. He is the actor who portrays Harry Potter in the films. He is very good at it, yes, and he basically grew up with people recognizing him as Harry. But that doesn’t mean he’s a wizard. He didn’t fall off the face of the planet once they were done shooting the last movie. He’s going on to do other things withing his acting career, none of them, I’m sure, having to do with Harry.
Another example. I heard today that now that these were unleashed upon the world:
…someone can finally visualize the characters. But doesn’t that defeat the entire purpose of what readers put into books? As readers, it’s our job to try and recreate in our minds what the characters and settings look like. It feels like cheating to me if we just take for granted that the actors in the movies are EXACTLY what they “should” look like. That ruins the fun!
Characters are not equivalent to the actors, or vice versa.* And even though I admit I now see Bella Swan as looking like Kristen Stewart, I cannot stress enough how important it is in my mind that the two stay separate. They are two different things.
This is bad for the actors as well. Daniel Radcliffe, for instance, will probably never be able to be recognized for any other acting job, no matter how talented he becomes. People will always see him as “the Harry Potter kid,” that adorable thirteen-year-old from the first movie. That’s probably the best example of how in these super-big franchises, the actors almost always become equated with their biggest roles.**
And that’s just not good, especially if they’re trying to get away from that and do something new.
I guess all I’m trying to say is, use your imagination. Try to come up with your own vision of a character, and don’t just wait for the movie to see what they look like. If you just can’t imagine anything else but the actor, though, I guess you really can’t change that, can you?
So I suppose that’s an exception.
Just remember that they’re not the same person.
*Although Jennifer Lawrence is pretty much EXACTLY what I pictured Katniss would look like. She’s perfect.
**Poor Robert Pattinson gets the worst end of it; he’s both Edward Cullen AND Cedric Diggory.