Overacting (also referred to as hamming or mugging) refers to acting that is exaggerated. Overacting can be viewed positively or negatively. It is sometimes known as "chewing the scenery".[1]

UsesEdit

Some roles require overly-exaggerated character acting, particularly those in comedy films. For example, the breakthrough roles for Jim Carrey (in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and The Mask) saw him portray the lead characters in a very flamboyant fashion, as the script demanded. He has played several "straight" roles since.[2]

Overacting may be used to portray an outlandish character, or to stress the evil characteristics of a villain.[3] Academy Award winner Gary Oldman was almost typecast as an anti-social personality early in his screen career:[4][5] the necessity to express villainous characters in an overtly physical manner led to the cultivation of a "big" acting style that incorporated projection skills acquired during his stage training.[4][6] Oldman noted that he has given "over-the-top" performances, but argued, "If it's coming from a sincere place, then I think the screen can hold the epic, and it can hold the very, very small."[7]

Oscar and Tony Award-winning actor Al Pacino, when asked if he overacts, said: "Well, all actors do, in a way. You know what they say: in the theater you have to reach the balcony." Pacino suggested that directors serve to rein in screen performances that are too large.[8]

ReactionsEdit

In an article on overacting, Independent critic Leigh Singer wrote: "Unlike theatre's declamatory projecting to the back row, a 'stagey' performance onscreen isn't a compliment... ultimately, it really is a matter of personal taste."[9] Jeff Labrecque of Entertainment Weekly argued that "there's a thin line between overacting (bad) and acting that you're overacting (bizarrely genius)";[10] the publication at one time gave year-end awards for "best" and "worst" overacting in film, with the aforementioned Oldman and Pacino winning the former for their work in Léon: The Professional (1994) and The Devil's Advocate (1997), respectively.[11][12] Guardian journalist Chris Michael, a proponent of overacting, said: "From Hugo Weaving's Agent Smith to Heath Ledger's Joker to the entire oeuvre of William Shatner, mannered or stylised acting is an underrated skill."[3]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Chew the scenery worldwidewords.org
  2. ^ Gilliver, David. 1998. "Film Review: The Truman Show". Accessed 29 July 2006.
  3. ^ a b https://www.theguardian.com/film/2013/oct/11/why-i-love-overacting
  4. ^ a b Roberts, Chris (August 1999). "Gary Oldman: A sheep in wolf's clothing". Uncut. IPC Media (27).
  5. ^ Sexton, Timothy. How Gary Oldman Avoided Typecasting as a Weirdo, Villain. Yahoo! Movies. Wayback Machine. 6 December 2011. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  6. ^ Popcorn With Peter Travers. Season 5. Episode 15. 9 December 2011. "People who know you ... we remember the big Gary Oldman."
  7. ^ "Conversations... with Gary Oldman". SAG-AFTRA Foundation. 12 Jan 2018. Retrieved 17 November 2019.
  8. ^ "Extra: Al Pacino, "Scarface" & Overacting". CBS. April 18, 2010. Retrieved February 12, 2017.
  9. ^ https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/the-overactors-mad-bad-and-dangerous-to-the-scenery-1984789.html
  10. ^ http://ew.com/article/2009/11/11/nicolas-cage-bad-lieutenant/
  11. ^ "Our Take on This Year's Movies". Entertainment Weekly. December 30, 1994. Retrieved October 26, 2019.
  12. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (December 26, 1997). "Best & Worst / Movie Campaigns". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 26, 2019.