He’s a great team player. …. Only he’s not on the team.
me texting the bae
So on Friday afternoon I found out that one of my friends from high school, Patrick, passed away. Grief is strange, because I hadn’t actually seen Pat since a little after our high school graduation, but we did talk on facebook a little bit after that, and he always liked my throw back Thursdays (which are very important, OBVIOUSLY.)
I met Pat my freshman year of high school when we were in the same (absofuckinglutely terrible) math class. He was about 3 inches shorter than me and talked WAY too much. I was trying to get the attention of the guy in my class that I still liked from middle school, and when that failed Pat was one of the only people I had to talk to.
Over the course of the year we became pals, and I grew very fond of him. He still talked too much, but he had a way of making everybody like him; He was so friendly and open. He thought my laugh was hilarious, and spent countless class periods making fun of it. But Pat was one of those people who had the unique ability to tease me relentlessly without making me feel worthless, which was something that very few people can do. But anybody who knew Pat knew that he had zero malicious bones in his body.
Over Sophomore year we remained friends and in Junior year our lockers were right next to each other, so I got to talk to him all the time between classes, before and after school, and as well as in our shared Government class. He grew to be at least a foot taller than me and one of my favorite ways to end a school day was by being on the receiving end of one of his hugs. I wish I could remember all of the conversations that we shared, but unfortunately I can’t. It sucks.
However, one memory I do have is that in our Government class our teacher used to have a stockpile of candy saved up in his closet (yes he was fat.) Every once in awhile he used to sell us the candy and I’m sure that over the course of a few years he made a hefty profit off of sleepy and sugar-deprived teens. Right before Christmas he was selling his candy to our class since we had no motivation to do any actual work. I didn’t have any cash so I couldn’t buy any, but right before class ended Pat came up to me with some starbursts and a handmade note written on a piece of notebook paper with my name on it, which he gave to me before leaving. The card simply said “Merry Christmas. Hope you enjoy the candy. Have a good day, Pat.” I don’t know what possessed him to do that for me, but I’m so happy that I still have the note.
What upsets me the most about his death is that I know deep down if I had just reached out to him and been like “we should go get coffee/lunch/whatever” he would have said yes, no questions asked, because that’s the type of person he was. It’s so unfair that Pat had to die when so many other people who aren’t even half as kind, intelligent or caring are still allowed to live, but that’s the way life works.
So Pat, I couldn’t post this on your wall because in my opinion, it’s mostly self serving. Maybe you’re up in Heaven watching me write this, but I hope you know it comes from a place of deep sincerity and sorrow. Thank you for being a friend to me. I hope you’re up there riding motorcycles with Jesus, give him a high five for me.
Reblogging not just because special effects are cool but because body doubles, stunt doubles, acting doubles, talent doubles — all the people whose faces we’re not supposed to see but whose bodies make movies and tv shows possible — these people need and deserve more recognition. We see their bodies onscreen, delight in the shape and motion of those bodies, but even as we pick apart everything else that goes on both on and behind the screen, I just don’t see the people who are those bodies getting the love and recognition they deserve.
We’re coming to love and recognize actors who work in full-body makeup/costumes, such as Andy Serkis, or actors whose entire performances, or large chunks thereof, are motion captured or digitized (lately sometimes also Andy Serkis!). But people like Leander Deeny play an enormous part in making characters such as Steve Rogers come to life, too. Body language is a huge part of a performance and of characterization. For characters/series with a lot of action, a stunt person can have a huge influence on how we read and interpret a character, such as the influence Heidi Moneymaker has had on the style and choreography of Black Widow’s signature fighting style. Talent doubles breathe believability and discipline-specific nuance into demanding storylines.
Actors are creative people themselves, and incredibly important in building the characters we see onscreen. But if we agree that they’re more than dancing monkeys who just do whatever the directors/writers say, then we have to agree that doubles are more than that, too. Doubles make creative decisions too, and often form strong, mutually supportive relationship with actors.
Image 1: “I would like to thank Kathryn Alexandre, the most generous actor I’ve ever worked opposite.”
Image 2: “Kathryn who’s playing my double who’s incredible.”
I’ve got a relationship that goes back many, many years with Dave. And I would hate for people to just see that image of me and Dave and go, “oh, there’s Dan Radcliffe with a person in a wheelchair.” Because I would never even for a moment want them to assume that Dave was anything except for an incredibly important person in my life.
With modern tv- and film-making techniques, many characters are composite creations. The characters we see onscreen or onstage have always been team efforts, with writers, directors, makeup artists, costume designers, special effects artists, production designers, and many other people all contributing to how a character is ultimately realized in front of us. Many different techniques go into something like the creation of Skinny Steve — he’s no more all Leander Deeny than he is all Chris Evans.
But as fandom dissects the anatomy of scenes in ever-increasing detail to get at microexpressions and the minutiae of body language, let’s recognize the anatomy in the scenes, too. I don’t mean to take away from the work Chris Evans or any other actors do (he is an amazing Steve Rogers and I love him tons), but fandom needs to do better in recognizing the bodies, the other people, who make up the characters we love and some of our very favourite shots of them. Chris Evans has an amazing body, but so does Leander Deeny — that body is beautiful; that body mimicked Chris Evans’s motions with amazing, skilled precision; that body moved Steve Rogers with emotion and grace and character.
Fandom should do better than productions and creators who fail to be transparent about the doubles in their productions. On the screen, suspension of disbelief is key and the goal is to make all the effort that went into the production vanish and leave only the product itself behind. But when the film is over and the episode ends, let’s remember everyone who helped make that happen.
[ Sam Hargrave (stunt double for Chris Evans) and James Young (stunt double for Sebastian Stan, and fight choreographer), seen from behind, exchange a fistbump while in costume on the set of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Image via lifeofkj ]
I applaud these guys as much as the suit actors in my japanese tokusatsu shows. They do just as much work.