We have all heard the stories. Actors risking their health and sanity to become one with their characters. Christian Bale lost one third of his bodyweight for the role in The Machinist, Kate Winslet supposedly had trouble finding back to her true self after filming The Reader, and I bet even Keanu Reeves tried his coat on once or twice – to see if it was a fit – before using it in The Matrix.
But no matter how good the actor is there are always some actions that seem to go wrong when portrayed on the big screen. Actions so simple that most actors probably take for granted that they will be able to pull them off. The driving scene was the 20th century’s number one enemy, but in this modern day of technology the gaming scene has taken its place.
An Unnecessary Anecdote (feel free to skip it)
I remember when I was seven I had this friend with ADD who would sometimes come over to visit. If he had taken his medication everything was fine, but if he hadn’t he would do things like poking my cat with a wooden ladle while screaming profanity at it, or flush stuff down the toilet just to see if it would go all the way through. When he was like that the only thing that ever seemed to calm him down was to let him play Nintendo. He would go into some kind of trance, staring blank at the screen, leaving me with the responsibility of fishing my mother’s bracelets back out of the toilet.
Now this brings me to the problem.
What Are They Doing Wrong?
First, take a look at this clip from the TV-show Life. Now this video – like some of the funny people over at Reddit already have pointed out – is hilarious in a lot of different ways. I am going to focus on the man’s acting. There are two things that can ruin a gaming scene, he does them both.
1. Exaggerating the Facial Expressions
Most people don’t look like their face is being vacuumed when they play videogames. Some probably do, but most look like sane human beings even though they are having fun.
2. Exaggerating the Movement
The actor in Life however, moves too much, too often. Now we all twitch a little when we’re trying to pull off that super combo we so desperately need to win the game, but I’ve never heard of anyone developing Tourettes Syndrome by playing videogames for a couple of minutes.
Why Does This Happen All the Time?
My guess – and this is only a guess – is that most video game scenes that fail this way are directed by people who have never touched a gaming controller in their lives. So they have this idea of how people act while playing videogames that does not really make any sense.
Is There Hope?
Yes there is. Hopefully this era will end now that the «Nintendo-generation» is starting to make movies. Take a look at this scene from Chuck. No jumping, no waving and no exaggerated facial expressions (almost). It looks Zachary Levi might even be ready to take on a console scene.
Pictures by Warner Brother (Promotional) and Sean Dreilinger (Some rights reserved)