Screening Characters : Theories of Character in Film, Television, and Interactive Media book cover
1st Edition

Screening Characters
Theories of Character in Film, Television, and Interactive Media

ISBN 9780367660369
Published September 30, 2020 by Routledge
350 Pages

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Book Description

Characters are central to our experiences of screened fictions and invite a host of questions. The contributors to Screening Characters draw on archival material, interviews, philosophical inquiry, and conceptual analysis in order to give new, thought-provoking answers to these queries. Providing multifaceted accounts of the nature of screen characters, contributions are organized around a series of important subjects, including issues of class, race, ethics, and generic types as they are encountered in moving image media. These topics, in turn, are personified by such memorable figures as Cary Grant, Jon Hamm, Audrey Hepburn, and Seul-gi Kim, in addition to avatars, online personalities, animated characters, and the ensembles of shows such as The Sopranos, Mad Men, and Breaking Bad.

Table of Contents

CONTENTS ; ;List of Figures ; ;Acknowledgments ; ;Notes on Contributors ; ;Foreword: Consorting with Characters ; Murray Smith ; ;Introduction: Screening Characters ; Johannes Riis and Aaron Taylor ; ;Part 1: The Importance of Actors ; ;1. Seeing and Hearing Screen Characters: Stars, Twofoldness, and the Imagination ;Ted Nannicelli ; ;2. Character and the Star Vehicle: The Impact of Casting Cary Grant ;Kathrina Glitre ; ;3. Character Collaborations: The Writer-Actor Relationship in Mad Men ;R. Colin Tait ; ; ;Part 2: Social Types, Social Contexts ; ;4. Being Typical and Being Individual ;Henry Bacon ; ;5. The Mark of the Social: Stereotypes, Folk Psychology and Metonymy in Mainstream Film ;Tico Romao ; ;6. Racialized Disgust and Character in Film ;Dan Flory ; ; ;Part 3: Medium-Specific Features and Constraints ; ;7. Impossible Characterizations ;Paisley Livingston ; ;8. Performative Metamorphosis: Animated Characters and Spectator Proximity ;Pete Sillett ; ;9. Social Media as Interface, or How Characters Enter Our Everyday Reality ;Philippe Gauthier ; ;10. Owning Our Actions: Identification with Avatars in Video Games ;Andreas Gregersen ; ; ;Part 4: Emotional and Moral Engagement ; ;11. Ethical Criticism and Fictional Characters as Moral Agents ;Carl Plantinga ; ;12. Absorbed Character Engagement: From Social Cognition Responses to the Experience of Fictional Constructions ;Katalin Bálint and Ed Tan ; ;13. "Familiarity Breeds Contempt:" Why Fascination, Rather than Repeat Exposure, Better Explains the Appeal of Antiheroes on Television ;Malcolm Turvey ; ; ;Part 5: The Character within Genres ; ;14. Girls Who Can Leap Through Time: Shojo and Time Travel in East Asian Media ;Jinhee Choi ; ;15. Action and Affordances: The Action Hero’s Skilled and Surprising Use of the Environment ;Birger Langkjær and Charlotte Sun Jensen ; ;16. Introducing Characters in Television Crime Series: Stylistic and Narrative Strategies ; Lennard Højbjerg ; ;Index ;

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Johannes Riis is an Associate Professor of Film Studies at the University of Copenhagen. He has published extensively on issues of film acting, including a monograph (Spillets kunst: Følelser i film); articles in numerous journals and anthologies, including Cinema Journal, Projections, and The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film. A member of the Board of Directors at The Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image since 2005, he is currently writing a book on film acting styles between 1920 and 1980.

Aaron Taylor is an Associate Professor of New Media and a Board of Governors Research Chair (2019-2023) at the University of Lethbridge. He is the editor of Theorizing Film Acting, and his essays on performance have been published in numerous journals and anthologies, including Cinema Journal, Velvet Light Trap, [in]Transition, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, The Journal of Film and Video, Close-Up: Great Cinematic Performances Vol. 2, Make Ours Marvel, Millennial Masculinity, Acting and Performance in Moving Image Culture, and Stages of Reality.


"This book is a remarkably accessible collection of essays on some of the most theoretically complex aspects of actors and acting on film and in other media. It also covers a wide selection of films, TV-series, and computer games, making it a standard work in the fields of Cognitive Film Studies, Philosophy and Film, and even Celebrity Studies."  --Erik Hedling, Professor, Lund University, Sweden