Actors vs. Characters

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Confusing the Actor with the Character



And how I wish people would take his word for it! He should know, after all. But so many fans seem to confuse the actor with the character; a process of adding apples and oranges.

I'm not talking about the movie, okay? I'm delighted that Leonard Nimoy will be playing Spock. But he is not now, never has been, and never will be, Spock.

The character Kirk is the captain of an imaginary starship. William Shatner is the actor who played the character. So what?

Well, so a couple of things. One is that meeting William Shatner will not be meeting Kirk. I've seen some fans go to an awful lot of trouble — only to be dreadfully disappointed by the popping of an illusion that really should have been thought through.

Second, the actors' (presumed) point of view is being brought, quite unjustifiably, into our work with the characters. A couple years ago a group of fans, then self-appointed watchdogs, threatened another group with a lawsuit by LN if one of the early K/Ss was printed. This idiocy seems to have been dropped, but we are still seeing Locs stating that the actors may be hurt, personally or professionally, by the stories we write about the characters. Or, to put it more accurately, "my stories" are okay. "Yours" will hurt."

But the actors themselves are the first to proclaim loudly that they are not the characters they play. Certain aspects of an actor go into a character. Other aspects of an actor are de-emphasized, on stage, in that particular part. And sometimes the actor must build only on imagination, creating something entirely outside his own personal experience.. There are always areas of contiguity. But the actor is not the character, and vice versa. [1]


PLEASE, stop confusing the actor with the role. Paul Darrow is NOT Kerr Avon. Darrow is a talented British actor who played this role years ago, among many others in his career. I would be interested in reading his post-GP novel, as I have ready many versions... I am not interested in worshiping at his feet. [2]


Sometimes it is hard to remember that the actor is the character but the character is not the actor. I love the actors but only because they have created beings I wish to know more about Perhaps they do only live on the pages of a book but I can enter their world at any time just by reading that book. [3]

When Meeting the Actor Supports Admiration

When Meeting the Actor Ruins Admiration

Direct interaction with an object of admiration can ruin one's view:


I wouldn't begrudge any S&S fan the visit the set and see JP and Mackie in person but you need to make a decision before you make the trip and that is: will it affect my appreciation of the show to find out that I'm not going to see Rick and AJ, but JP and Mackie instead? In other words, how will you feel if you suddenly find that you don't really like JP and Mackie but are only attracted to the characters they play? Talk about crossing your universes! It's so hard to get over and "AJ" as "Rick" as "different" people, which is what Mackie and JP are... a few weeks ago, I really started pondering this whole dilemma, and came to the startling conclusion that I am, indeed, a Rick and AJ fan, as opposed to a JP and Mackie fan, if only for the logical reasoning that I "know" Rick and AJ (God, after spending 5 1/2 years with them, we all know 'em now, right?!), while JP and Mackie are just a couple guys... Maybe I'm just more overly sensitive than the average fan—perhaps you could visit without having the least negative feeling. To me it was something like the feeling when you finally find out there isn't a Santa Claus. To me, Rick and AJ are two wonderful guys who live in a nice condo, and Mom has a nice house, and they spend their time trying to make the world a better place for the people they come into contact with--then you find out the houses are sound stages, and the guys are more interested in getting this episode "in the can" so they can go home and paint the garage... And JP doesn't really remember that he was supposed to have been born in 1949, only that his lines this week have him saying "I'm 34", or even if he does remember, he isn't going to press the issue because he's got three little kids and a mortgage and the show has been in the 50s and he wants to keep everything as smooth as possible on the set. Like I said last issue, it's all a tragic case of the real world crashing into our reel world. So, if you don't think this would affect your love of the show, and you can afford the time to try and visit, you have my encouragement and blessings, but if you like to keep believing in Santa Claus, stay home and watch the show, read some fan fiction, and lose yourself in the whole S&S universe, because, after all, that's where your heart really is, isn't it?... [4]


Like many others I tolerated [The David Soul Appreciation Society] for some months because it seemed the only possible way to show support for Mr. Soul, but then I decided to accept it no longer and left the DSAC.

For some reasons (and especially as a German reading the last message Mr. Soul wrote for the DSAC) I also no longer want to use my homepage for advertising his new CD nor my E-Mail address for any requests for it.

Also it no longer matters to me to invest *time* as a co-founder of the Topanga mailing list for DS-fans, because I have to believe in an artist, when I run a list for his fans. This means the mailing list ‘Topanga' for DS-fans is history and no longer exists.

I want to thank my friends in the last weeks for their support and understanding and beg you to respect this step... (Carol, you were a great Tpg-partner). I won’t let this touch the fun and friendships I still have in the S&H-fandom nor the love of those fictional figures. - Conny [5]



  1. ^ by Johanna Cantor from Care to Debate That? I Am Not Spock (1978)
  2. ^ from Federation Archives, First Addendum 1989
  3. ^ from Slash and Internet: Good or Bad? by H.B. Cavella (September 1998)
  4. ^ from Simon and Simon Investigations #4 (1987)
  5. ^ from Black Bean Soup v.4 n.1 (January 1998)