James Corden’s Right, The Chubby Don’t Get To Be Romantic Leads

James Corden is entirely correct here, the chubby – the comfortably cuddly even – don’t get to be the romantic leads in films and TV shows. And if you think it’s bad for men then it is of course even more absurdly so for women. The thing is this isn’t new in the slightest. Any even vague attention paid to the physique of actors will show that they’re simply not built along the same lines as the rest of us.

So, this is true:

James Corden has said that “chubby” actors are routinely excluded from the casting for romantic roles because of an industry aversion to showing them falling in love or having sex. The Late Late Show host, 40, said that “fat” actors have to accept in film or on TV that “certainly no one ever finds you attractive”. Speaking to the actor David Tennant on his podcast, David Tennant Does a Podcast With, Corden said that overweight people are, at best, cast as the funny friend of someone who is “attractive”. He said that such characters “never really fall in love” and “never have sex”.

Amusingly, The Guardian only a few weeks back explained this to us:

1. Writers can be fat cave-dwellers, actors cannot
They keep the writers tucked away in a cave called the story room. At the centre of the story table is a self-replenishing pile of chocolate. “Story fuel”, they call it. From the story room, we get a clear view to the patch of gum trees near the car park where the actors all gather to smoke. The only one who doesn’t is running laps of the car park. After a TV journalist wrote a not-very-flattering article about his appearance he dropped 20kg and a senior staff member told the writers they could start giving him romantic storylines.

This morning he’s out in the car park doing burpees and push-ups during a screening. The same senior staff member stops the tape so we can all behold his dedication to televisual attractiveness. Everyone is at least 10kg lighter than they appear on screen. “We call it ‘three-month syndrome’,” one of the set dressers tells me. “It takes three months from the time they join the show till their scenes go to air. They see themselves on screen and –” he sucks his cheeks “– they start to constrict.”

The camera itself adds that 10kg.

But there’s more to it than that. The entire point of acting is that it’s make believe. The characters are ready with the comeback, the quip, when in reality we only ever wake up in the middle of the night a week later with le mot juste we should have crushed our enemy with. Or, even, quite the right way to praise and comfort our lover. So it is with looks. Everyone is more beautiful, thinner, better cheekbones, than anyone out here. Because, you know, it’s make believe?

Even to the point of Worstall’s Acting Test. If you see anyone less than impeccably beautiful, whether male or female, in any leading role in a major production then you know that they can actually and properly act. Because it is only that possession of real talent which overcomes that not physical perfection.

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Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

Toby Jones demonstrates your point rather well, an acting genius (IMHO). See also his dad.

Andrew Carey
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Andrew Carey

I think Brando got some roles as a fattie, and Travolta was chubby when Tarantino cast him in Pulp Fiction and helped to launch the second part of his career. These are outliers though, and they were svelte once. Maybe that is the key.
An unknown chubby actor auditioning to play the part of Vincent Vega would not have stood a chance. Imv, of course.

TD
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TD

Ernest Borgnine won an Oscar for Marty, in which he was the romantic lead.