The Disconnect Between Actors and Characters

It may seem like a trivial statement to say that actors are not their characters. However, there is something that remains odd about actors who portray characters who are protagonists and yet have drastically different personal values. Herein the disconnect between actors and their characters in film will be explored with examples.

Russell Crowe and Maximus

Gladiator Maximus Russell Crowe

The character Maximus from Gladiator in many ways does resemble the real life Crowe. He is tough and pretty much to the point. However, he differs dramatically from Crowe in that he opposes the distraction that games represent whereas Russell Crowe owns a Rugby League team (The Rabbitohs). The moral lesson behind Gladiator seems to be that people should live in reality and spend their efforts and money there, rather than on illusionary entertainment. It makes one wonder what Crowe thinks of the morality of that film.

Sam Worthington and Jake Sully

Avatar Jake Sully

Sam Worthington plays Jake Sully in Avatar, a human converted into a Na’vi. As the film progresses his character becomes increasingly environmentalist. However, the filming process itself requires huge amounts of resources that are inevitably taken at the cost of the environment. The idea of a multi-million dollar film that has a central moral message that the environment should be protected is an almost laughable idea. Just by the nature of so much money being spent on something that is unnecessary, albeit nice, damage to the environment seems inevitable. If nothing else that money might be better spent on conversational efforts. Sam Worthington’s character would likely be quite opposed to the actor’s career, at least after his character progression to a environmentalist.


The interesting thing about this is that the actors are happy to play characters with dramatically opposed moralities than themselves and yet to portray them as the good guys. Granted, this is their job but it is a strange thing that they are portraying a ‘good’ character that would likely oppose themselves, which essentially means they are the bad guys.

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