Beauty And The Beast

I will freely admit that I am a Beauty and the Beast fanatic, and waited with baited breath for the 2017 live action remake of the 1991 Disney animated classic to hit theaters this past March. In true fan fashion, I saw the new film twice during the week it was released, once in 3-D, and once on a regular screen.

The nostalgia of the 1991 release is nicely preserved in the remake, and the story line is followed relatively faithfully, while still expanding on the original version and creating a lush environment which could only be created through live action and CGI. The 2017 version visually dazzles in a way that the animated version never could, and that was indeed a thrill for me.

The live action film was cast quite nicely, and characters who were already quite interesting and colorful in their own right became even more amusing and multi-dimensional, thanks to the actors’ portrayals. I especially loved Kevin Kline’s portrayal of Maurice. Overall, I loved the 2017 film, but there will always be a special place in my heart for the 1991 animated classic.

Here’s where I mince things apart a bit. Despite the fact that Audra McDonald (who plays Madame Garderobe) is a six-time Tony winner, her voice grated on my nerves like nobody’s business, with its shrillness, its over-the-top trillings. It was enough to make me squirm in my seat each time she sang. I’m not big on musicals, especially when a lyric soprano musically rants like a mad bird (sorry, just my opinion).

Dan Stevens is rather convincing as the Beast, and does a nice job of conveying the myriad of emotions which the Beast experiences (rage, grief, frustration, shame, love). But like the prince in the animated version, the prince restored from the lifted curse was incredibly bland and unexciting. It was like eating a zesty, delicious meal (the Beast), and then getting a bowl of day-old porridge for the final course (the prince). I found Luke Evans as Gaston much more enticing, not only because his face naturally has more character, but also because he so convincingly played the narcissist vying for Belle’s affections that he was just more believable.

Lastly, while Emma Watson is a capable singer, and delivers a decent portrayal of the independent, bibliophile Belle, she wasn’t what I pictured when imagining Belle as a real person. By no means is Watson “gorgeous” like Gaston’s line in the song “Little Town” suggests. The line goes: “Right from the moment when I met her, saw her, I said ‘she’s gorgeous’ and I fell.” Yeah, right. I can see that in the 1991 animated film, but Watson is NOT gorgeous. She may be cute, or as a friend mentioned, handsome, but gorgeous? No. Beautiful? No. Even when Watson donned the yellow ball gown for the ever so famous dancing scene, there was nothing about her which could be regarded as breathtaking.

Nevertheless, I would watch the 2017 version of Beauty and the Beast again and again. I truly did love the film and plan to purchase the DVD to add to my collection of favorite films.

Love Scenes

Depending on the typecasting which exists for an actor, kissing scenes or sex scenes may be a regular part of the mix. This can throw a wrench in relationships, and in some cases, result in their demise.

Performance kissing and lovemaking (or straight up nasty fucking, excuse the expression) has to look convincing and appealing. Many actors have stated that kissing and sex scenes for the film camera, television camera, or stage are rather different from regular intimate interactions. However, the intimate acts which actors must perform are still exactly that, intimate. It’s important for actors to build up some sort of relationship with their fellow actors prior to such scenes. And though the intimate act (be it a kiss, a fondle, or a full-on sexual act) must be performed in front of the entire crew, it’s still a shared moment which would make most people blush and squirm from the awkwardness.

I am also aware of the fact that actors might not be attracted to the other actor (s) in the scene, and that they might not even be the gender to which the actor finds him or herself attracted. Yet, as the saying goes, the show must go on. Then again, they may indeed be physically attracted to their co-stars. I have heard actors admit that they get an enjoyment, a charge, out of performing an intimate scene, because there is an exchange of energy between the actors, and the artistic process is in full force.

In addition, the actors must make the scene believable, which means the passion, the lust, the hunger, must all be generated from the actors’ past experiences. It’s all part of getting into character. So in that sense, the feelings are genuine. The question I have, though, is how fair is it to say that the character is the one in the midst of the embrace, and not the actor who is performing it? To me, that sounds like a cop-out. As someone who has had to endure a partner performing such scenes, I cannot accept the rationale that the actor is not the one engaged in the activity, and that because it’s acting, it’s perfectly acceptable. Call me a prude, call me narrow-minded, but the thought of my man swapping spit, grabbing an actress by the breast or ass, or grinding up against another human in the act of feigned copulation, quite frankly makes me sick to my stomach.

Actors will often offer this rebuttal: “It’s ACTING, it’s my job. It’s what I have to do. It’s my normal.”

It’s just work? Yeah, so is stripping. And porn. And prostitution.

And what about the feelings of insecurity and jealousy which I believe would and should naturally spark in an actor’s mate? If a partner cannot seem to adjust or accept the intimate performances which an actor may be called on to perform, is that partner being unfair? What about how the actor approaches his or her partner with the news that a liplock, a bump and grind, or nudity will be required for a scene? Does an actor have the right to wave the flag of “creative license” in the face of his or her boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse?

I’ll tell you this much: the idea of my man’s lips, tongue, hands, body on another actor bugs me to no end. Such activities are private, intimate interactions, and my strong belief is that they should NOT be shared with anyone else, even during an acting scene which is supposedly an artistic expression and completely make-believe. Pheromones are released during a romantic kiss, and can’t be avoided. And quite frankly, there have been enough stories about actors hooking up off the set because they discovered that there was a sexual or romantic connection, one that might be worth jeopardizing an existing relationship for.

The only other industries which require intimate encounters between humans are stripping, porn and prostitution. Perhaps the actions don’t have the same meaning as they do when the working individual is with his or her real-life love interest, but the activities are still very much occurring. Yes, I know those of you who are actors want to debate this, especially since you only feign sexual encounters. However, no other industry besides the ones I have previously mentioned even approaches the compromising positions and intimate encounters which acting does. For actors to be called upon to kiss, fondle and grind up against others, and to expect their mates to be completely okay with it just seems like the ultimate double standard, and I am not afraid to say that I find the whole thing rather unreasonable.

Here are a few admissions from actors which I found online:

“And when I kiss a woman, in my head, I WANT HER. I committed to whatever I was playing fully. This doesn’t mean I wasn’t professional and respectful, but as a young man making out with a young women (sic), I was thinking, THIS IS AWESOME!”

“Most of the answers here are very much along the lines of ‘it’s just a job’
However, I am what is often described as a method actress. I will look at my scene partner and think about what it would be like to kiss him, touch him, what he would look like naked, what he would do to me if we were alone, those sorts of sexy things. And also if we are working together for more than a day or so, I do tend to get a bit of a crush on my scene partner for a while. It goes away and I’ve never acted on those feelings.”

“It’s like running in the rain. There’s a certain point when you go, ‘[Expletive] it, I’m already wet. I’m not going to get any less wet, so I might as well just enjoy how this feels.’ I mean, sure, there’s awkwardness about being in a weird flesh-colored thong, bouncing on top of an actress. I am not a small human being. I weigh at least 200 pounds and I’m six-foot-two. And Wiig is a twig; she’s a skinny little thing. It’s weird and uncomfortable at first, but then all the awkwardness melts away and you think, All right, we’re doing this, so let’s have fun with it. You know what I mean? You’re in that moment and it’s happening and it’s not going to get any better, so you might as well enjoy it.” — Jon Hamm, on Bridesmaids

For more interesting quotes from celebrities regarding filming sex scenes, you can click on the link here:

http://www.cosmopolitan.com/entertainment/celebs/a31833/celebrity-quotes-about-filming-sex-scenes/

That Doesn’t Look Like Me!

headshot gallery
How do you react when you see images, or film or video footage of yourself, in which you don’t look like yourself? I have had this happen to me, and it rattles me every time. Most of the time it can be attributed to bad lighting or camera angles, while at other times, the makeup and hair are so off-kilter that you end up looking incredibly strange or unattractive as a result.

The most recent situation I found myself in was with headshots I had taken two weeks ago. I trusted the process and didn’t think of questioning the photographer’s abilities or asking to see the viewfinder. I wish I had. If I had seen what was being captured, I would have cut the shoot short and left graciously. Instead, I went through the entire shoot, gathered my things, and headed over to a CVS to look at the images and print out some proofs.

The instant I saw the first image, I was stunned. Who was that wide-nosed, unattractive woman staring back at me? It honestly didn’t even look like me. My face looked FAT, there were wrinkles on my face in weird places, and I just did NOT look good at all. The lighting was terrible, the backdrops looked cheap and bad, and even the poses which I was put in looked awkward. The images were so awful that I didn’t even keep the proofs or the disk. Why would I, when the images almost made my stomach turn? Yes, they really were that awful.

So what do you do if you see images which you don’t like? Well, if the images were shot for a paid assignment, or if you did TFCD, then you can’t really do anything. As a matter of fact, you should never second guess the makeup artist, wardrobe stylist, or photographer/videographer unless you see something glaringly wrong with the setup. I have shot commercials and photos which I absolutely HATE, but I can’t do a darned thing about them because I signed away any rights to the images.

However, for headshots, there is never an obligation to use any images you don’t like, especially if they are unflattering and do not portray you the way you really look. You are paying for a service in which the images are supposed to present you in the best way possible. Would you really want to use headshots you hate and which make you look like someone else?

Thankfully, I was able to shoot more headshots three days later with another photographer who got some incredible images. The image below is the main image which I will use from that particular shoot, but there were so many outstanding images from that shoot that it was difficult narrowing down our top choices. That’s a good problem to have!

Maroon Small (819x1024)