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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Entertainment Industry Casting Attractive Psychopaths Problems


happy valley s3, 29 01 2023, 5, tommy lee royce james norton, lookout, matt square

Happy Valley and the glorification of violencehearst banner

The country has been drawn to Happy Valley — and understandably so. From the launch of the BBC drama in 2014 to last night’s tense finale, the performances are captivating, with Sarah Lancashire’s brilliant (albeit mostly devastating) portrayal of Catherine Cawood ). Opposite Lancashire is James Norton – the charismatic actor best known for playing the charming priest in Grantchester and often considered a contender for the next 007; chiseled jaw, sharp eyes, thick hair. Here, of course, he’s playing killer Tommy Lee Royce, but what’s not to like?

This is where the problem lies. That matters because there are so many true-crime victims out there who watch dramas centered on psychopaths, in a production that brought in record ratings (11 million people watched the first installment of the final series), It’s devastating for them. plot, so far). The last thing any of us want is for the media to fabricate violence and sexual assault as exciting or exciting, leading to an increase in these crimes in our culture.

This is far from the first time a casting director has chosen a handsome actor with a romantic lead to suddenly portray a violent criminal. We’ve already seen Kurt Russell in Tarantino’s “Death Proof,” Jamie Dornan in “The Fall,” and perhaps even less likely to see Zac Efron playing America. Serial killer Ted Bundy. All of these actors give great performances, but they all raise a troubling question: Should we, as viewers, find serial killers attractive?

Part of the problem is that audiences have a hard time separating their feelings (admiration, affection, even desire) for roles played by well-known actors from their new ones. Jamie Dornan is a prime example of this. From Christian Gray in “Fifty Shades of Grey” to Paul Spector in “The Fall,” it’s almost impossible for viewers to take the leap without getting confused. So, can casting directors simply use lesser-known actors for key roles when delving into such dark subject matter? The economics of entertainment usually call for “big names” to guarantee high ratings. More important, though, is completing the briefing. Some roles just need an actor with good looks and charisma to play them. So what is the knock-on effect? Do film and TV production houses have to pay more attention to the impression they make of characters like Tommy Lee Royce? The answer lies in questions of delineation and intent.

happy valley s3, 29 01 2023, 5, tommy lee royce james norton sarogy Matthew zayak, lookout point, matt squire

James Norton as Tommy Lee Royce in Happy Valleybbc

Happy Valley never shies away from the worst of the genre. There is plenty of violence and emotional content in Sally Wainwright’s storytelling, ranging from general violence and suicide to murder and sexual assault. The cleverness here is that the production manages to make us feel like we’ve seen it all without putting the worst parts on screen. The producers stepped a fine line and made it work. Even the harshest critics can’t complain that the subject itself has any charm. Even with some humorous and poignant moments of interaction, the overall tone is painstakingly grim.

As for the Tommy Lee Royce character, either in the novel or in real life, it’s impossible to expect that there will never be a good-looking psychopath. That’s part of what triggers hybridism — a strong attraction to convicted criminals. For example, Ted Bundy has a large and passionate female following. At this point, in Happy Valley, art just imitates real life, played well by James Norton.

Happy Valley s3,29 01 2023,5,catherine cawood sarah lancashire,lookout point,matt squire

Sarah Lancashire as Kathleen Kenwood in “Happy Valley”bbc

But serial killers aren’t glorified just because audiences find actors physically attractive—composition, storytelling, and character development all play a vital role. It’s hard to watch The Silence of the Lambs without hoping that Dr. Hannibal Lecter will eventually escape despite his truly horrific crimes. Sometimes it’s about giving psychopaths a sympathetic edge, an innate intelligence, or a sense of humor. These things are critical when building three-dimensional characters, and without that layering and nuance, most crime dramas and thrillers would fall flat.

The key to avoiding portraying a serial killer, or any character doing horrible things, as attractive or compelling is how the rest of the script unfolds. Striking this balance requires following three simple rules: their crimes should never be forgiven or mitigated; The point is, serial killers should never live happily ever after.

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