What, Specifically, Is Considered A Drop-Dead Gorgeous-or-Beautiful Actor Or Actress?
I don’t know if the actress who asked the question lives in Los Angeles, but I am going to use this city of the film and TV industries, to better describe what a casting director means when he or she uses that actor or actress description. Because it’s due to a certain specific difference about this city, that probably contributed to the need for such a description to become part of the Acting Business colloquy.
If You Have Ever Visited Los Angeles, Or Are A Recent Transplant, This You Know…
There is a much larger concentration of good-looking people in Los Angeles, than anywhere else in the country. Why? There’s a very good reason: Hollywood is a beauty magnet. (It’s also a magnet for some other less-appealing traits, but we can discuss that at a different time.) Everyone who ever won a beauty contest in their tiny little town, or was the prettiest in their high school, or wanted to model but wasn’t tall enough…or just had enough looks to consider it to be their ticket out and off to something more exciting and better (or stardom)…moves to L.A. Mostly, they come to act. And…the very beautiful continue to keep coming.
It seems that all the beauty population keeps replenishing and increases, because so many come just after high school or college. That creates a larger percentage of young adults here, than in other places anywhere else in America. (Except, perhaps Boston, because of all it’s colleges.)
The Los Angeles Population Is Young And Attractive. Many Are Actors.
In any cafe, restaurant, shopping mall, the people look very different here, in Los Angeles. I am reminded of this anytime I have out-of-town visitors. Especially, guys. When old friends come to visit, one of the first things they remark, is how they’ve never seen so many beautiful people, in one place. It’s mostly an observation about the women. But there are some good-looking men too.
There’s two other factors that create the visual experience. One is the weather. The Los Angeles climate is warm, most of the year, so no jackets are necessary. Which means there’s a lot more physicality on view, that isn’t covered for warmth. And, since the climate is so mild, it makes it a whole lot easier to work out, outside. People are in better shape here. They just are.
People also look their best, and the focus is more on the physical, here. Lots of people who would be considered average or a little above, in another town, learn how to style themselves to their best advantage. Presentation counts, here in L.A. and it shows in the general population. (Again, that too can have it’s downside.)
Since Los Angeles is the ‘movie capital of the world’, and beauty and sex appeal are two traits that are synonymous with celebrity and ‘movie stardom’…there’s a whole lotta sexy people too. More skin showing, tighter clothes…
Talent Agencies All Have A Lots Of Acting Clients, Who Are Good-Looking.
Many actors and actresses are good-looking. Some might be considered exceptionally good-looking. And, of course, good-looking can be subjective, different people find different types attractive. But that’s where the defining line is, for the term ‘Drop-Dead Beautiful’.
Even if the actor or actress isn’t yours, or the casting director’s favorite type that they are attracted to, the actress or actor is a cream-of-the-crop beauty. It’s a stricter standard, than simply good-looking or attractive. It’s an undeniable beauty or handsome-ness.
Actress Michelle Pfeiffer Was Walking Down The Hallway At ICM, Before She Was Represented
Her agent simply saw her in the building. He brought her in his office. He signed her then and there. He was a big guy in the industry, already; and at that time, she was just an unknown looking for an agent. He saw someone who was ‘drop-dead gorgeous’.
When I was on AS THE WORLD TURNS, there was a character, Franny,who had been on the show since she was a little girl. (I was new-ish, brought in to be a kind of rival for her boyfriend, Jay Connors.) Franny was supposedly at college much of the time, but the rumor was that the producers wanted her thinner. I think it became a stand off. A few months after I was started there, with only a scene or two with the original actress, they replaced her. With Julianne Moore.
Julianne Moore, now, is a very well-known film actress. But, then, she had no credits at all. Before she came to work, the casting directors sent her 8X10 to our dressing rooms, so we could see who the new Franny was going to be. I still remember, to this day, her headshot. (And I’ve seen a zillion headshots.)
Julianne Moore’s headshot, as she was and still is, drop-dead gorgeous. Period. There’s no wavering. She is. She was. She got a job right off, because of it. And, it doesn’t mean she isn’ t a really good actress, because she’s won an Emmy and been nominated four times for an Academy Award.
When Julianne Moore was hired for a lead role, regular, on AS THE WORLD TURNS, she had no professional acting experience; she had recently graduated college as a theatre major, but she really learned her advanced acting skills later on. It was because she was an undeniable drop-dead beauty that she got on the show. I’m talking about a kind of beauty that casting directors would think twice about turning away, because sometimes when someone is so beautiful it really adds to the show. And the casting director may feel that if they discard that actor, and don’t hire them on, then they are turning away something that has a big value quotient for their show.
Scientists Have Concluded That Babies Pay More Attention To Beautiful Faces More Than Others.
Film and TV are called: close-up mediums. Because there’s lots of camera shots that are close ups, on the actors and actresses faces. It’s a better way to tell the story, visually. That means that faces really count, as far as casting. Additionally, the term movie star doesn’t necessarily mean good actor or great actor. The term movie star denotes, almost always, that the actor or actress is a great beauty. The acting ability is a secondary skill.
Does that mean an actor or actress has to be drop-dead gorgeous to have an acting career, or even to break into the Industry and work as a professional actor? NO. Course not. To see evidence of this, simply look at your TV screen or think about the last movie that you saw. Most actors and actresses cast in acting parts, are not drop-dead beautiful. If they were, then casting directors wouldn’t be necessary to find and fill all the various types of acting roles.
More to come, about this acting type and others, in the professional acting…
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