VOTD: A Supercut of Actors Acting Like Actors

Actors Playing Actors

There are plenty of times when specific actors play themselves in a movie, like Bill Murray in Zombieland or Ben Affleck and Matt Damon in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. But it’s a bit more interesting when actors simply have to act like they’re actors. It adds a self-aware layer to the proceedings, and more often than not, results in a truly genuine performance.

A new supercut from editor Phil Whitehead runs through dozens of instances where actors played actors in movies and on television. From Julia Roberts in Notting Hill to Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie to Ricky Gervais in Extras, it’s cool to see the range of fake acting being accomplished by real acting on display.

Here’s the actors playing actors acting (via The AV Club):

Whitehead said this supercut was inspired by Nick James’ editorial in the January ’15 edition of Sight and Sound which praised the performers of Birdman for not only pretending to be actors in the movie, but also being actors who themselves have to act in a play within the movie. While making the video, Whitehead said:

I noticed the intricacies of how actors can try, in this situation, to create the sense of spontaneity and therefore reminding us, as viewers, that the film we are watching is also rehearsed and scripted in the same way.

There are plenty more performances the video could have included. While Robert Downey Jr. appears for playing Charlie Chaplin, his role as a dude playing a dude disguised as another dude in Tropic Thunder was left out. Also, the inclusion of Julia Roberts just reminded me of how she played Tess Ocean in Ocean’s 12, pretending to play Julia Roberts. She also actually played herself on the phone in a conversation she had with herself. I think my nose just started bleeding.

If there’s a clip you don’t recognize, the full list of performances and the movies they’re from can be found on the video’s Vimeo page right here.

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