A body double is utilized in certain precise scenes to substitute the credited actor’s character. The body double’s face is disguised to keep the illusion that they are the same character by shooting their body at an angle that leaves their face out or superimposing the original actor’s face over the body double’s in post-production.
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The double’s face is rarely seen on camera, especially if they do not have the same facial features as the leading actor; if the double’s hair color differs from the leading actor’s, a wig is usually used. On the other hand, a stand-in is a person who takes the place of an actor for non-filming activities such as scene setup and lighting adjustments.
What Is the Role of a Body Double?
A body double must be able to recite his or her lines with the exact timing as the actor and replicate the same physical actions in coordination with the other principal actors; doubles must usually bear a strong resemblance to the actor they are replacing. A fake Shemp is a body double who often plays the role, mainly when the credited actor is unavailable, reluctant to film, or has died.
A body double can be hired when particular skills are required, such as playing musical instruments, dancing, or other athletic ability. In addition, if only a portion of the body is visible, the name for the double may be more precise. For example, a “hand double” is a famous double playing a role in scenes that only involve the hand or arm. These inserts are frequently shot by the second unit using a double at a later stage in production, allowing the central unit to use the star actors’ time better.
In some productions, a scenario requires two characters to be played by the same actor in the same shot. A body double can play one of the characters while the credited actor plays the other, allowing both to appear on camera simultaneously. Body duplication was used interestingly in the film Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Using Hamilton’s identical twin sister Leslie as her duplicate, the unit shot the scene requiring Linda Hamilton to appear as two Sarah Connors.
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Body Double is less common now that digital editing software can splice multiple takes. Instead, it allows an actor to play each character in distinct variations that are then joined together to create the image of the characters in the same setting, as Deep Roy did in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Oompa-Loompas.
The narrative of Brian De Palma’s 1984 film Body Double revolved around the discovery that one character had worked as a body double for another.
How to Become a Body Double?
Being a body double needs luck, physical traits, and aggressive marketing skills. Body doubles fill in for performers who are unwilling or unable to film certain TV or movie scenes owing to unsafe conditions, aversion to doing nude scenes, or a desire to save time and money on the set. When a body double resembles the actor he will replace, it is a stroke of luck. To become a body double, you’ll need marketing skills and a stunning portfolio, as you will need to spread the word that you’re available for this type of work. Working as an extra on a movie set and networking with filmmaking pros can also enhance your chances of being recruited.
Anyone interested in becoming a body double should take a critical look at oneself. Body duplicates are frequently utilized to represent the hands, feet, and buttocks. Anyone interested in becoming a body double should maintain a high level of grooming, manicure, and physical fitness. In addition, you should keep tattoos to a minimum. Although tattoos can be concealed with makeup, they add time and money to a filmmaker’s production and may disqualify a body double from work.
It can be beneficial to have a portfolio of previous work and outstanding photographs that emphasize your best body parts if you want to become a body duplicate. In addition, networking with film industry insiders might help you establish a reputation as a body duplicate. Anyone interested in becoming a body double should network with as many people in the film industry as possible and promote himself to everyone he meets to maximize their chances of getting noticed.
Body doubles are discovered by mistake when working as extras on movie sets. Thus, this work can be an excellent way to network, experience, and meet industry insiders. However, many body doubles cannot support themselves while completing this activity fully. Therefore, working as a movie extra can help you supplement your income.
Film and TV producers frequently use body doubles in dangerous scenarios or when a scene demands a skill that the actor lacks, like playing an instrument, dancing, or participating in a sport. Having additional abilities and talents to backup a strong portfolio can be advantageous in this scenario. For example, in the film, Black Swan, Natalie Portman’s more difficult dance moments were done by a professional dancer’s body duplicate.
Other Types of Doubles
Stunt Double: A stunt double is a stunt performer, specifically a proficient replacement, frequently utilized for hazardous sequences or other complex tasks (especially fight scenes). You can hire stunt doubles when an actor’s physical condition or age limits extensive exertion or when an actor is contractually banned from accepting certain risks.
Daredevils, who undertake stunts for stunts alone, frequently as a vocation, should be distinguished from stunt duplicates. Stunt doubles aren’t always in the same danger as the characters: harnesses and wires, for example, can be digitally erased from the finished film.
Like the star’s cooks, trainers, dressers, and helpers, many stunt doubles have long production careers as part of the star’s contractual “support crew.” Stunt doubles are frequently required to look like their respective actors to maintain the idea that it is the actor on-screen. For decades, stunt doubles for Eddie Murphy, John Wayne, Harrison Ford, Steve Martin, Salman Khan, and Michael Landon have been linked to their leading men.
Stunt doubles are also known to exist among non-humans. For example, Enzo was the stunt double for his old sire Moose in the comedy Frasier. Likewise, soccer, the Jack Russell terrier on Wishbone, was said to despise swimming and had stunt doubles.
Dance Double: A dance double is a person who does physically demanding dance.
Dance doubles received a lot of attention after the Black Swan dance double incident. Following Natalie Portman’s win for Best Actress for her role as a dancer in Black Swan at the 83rd Academy Awards, a debate erupted over how much credit for the film’s dancing should be given to her and how much to her “dance double,” American Ballet Theater soloist Sarah Lane.
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Body doubles lead a tricky life. They seldom get credit for their work. They become stars for a fleeting moment, but they never feel the stardom. They step into the shoes of a star but never walk the journey. Nevertheless, the actors who do not shy away from revealing their body doubles deserve a pat on their back, as they feel secure enough to share their spotlight with someone else. Body doubles are heroes in their own right, albeit unsung ones.