Pet Please/Pet Peeve: Stunt and Butt Doubles

MISSION IMPOSSIBLEPet Please #82: Actors and Actresses Who Do Their Own Stunts

Do you ever read a movie review or synopsis that reveals the main actor or actress did his or her own stunts? Whenever I read that, my excitement for the movie jumps. I think part of it is that I feel like the actor is just as excited about the movie as I am if he had that level of commitment to the story. It’s similar to whenever you hear that an actor used to read the comic book the movie is based on. There’s a common bond there.

The other part of it is the “realness’ of the movie. Very little about movies is real anymore–they’re all quick cuts and edits, lighting tricks and CGI. Actors can have their faces transferred digitally onto stunt doubles in a way that is seamless to you and me. The more I read about movies, the less immersive the experience of viewing them becomes. So knowing that the real actor was there doing the stunts him or herself helps to draw me back into that world for 2 hours.

On a related note…

Vera-FarmigaPet Peeve #46: Actresses Who Use Butt Doubles

One of the most striking views of a woman’s butt I’ve seen over the last few years in a theater was in the movie Up in the Air. There is a scene in a hotel room where the camera’s view is suddenly filled with a the backside of a woman who is naked except for a man’s necktie around her waist. It’s incredibly sexy.

The camera cuts to Vera Farmiga in bed with George Clooney, so you are to assume that the voluminous butt in the previous shot was that of Mrs. Farmiga. But as I learned months later, she was pregnant during the shooting of that scene (and most of the movie), so a butt double stepped in.

This should not matter. A butt is a butt, and if a director can trick me into substituting a perfect model’s butt as an actress’s butt, what difference does it makes? Plus, the actress’s butt might not even be all that nice.

But it matters. It just does. It’s appealing to me that an actress would delve that deep into a role rather than use a camera trick for my entertainment. Maybe it’s something about an actress’s (or actor’s) confidence in making that choice that drives the vulnerability and/or sex appeal of her character.

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In an age of special effects and CGI, do you care about what’s real or not real? Or do you just want to be entertained by the best stunts and the best butts?