Last night, Mary Ann Sieghart (@MASieghart) tweeted 'Does this actor in #Birdsong have any look other than a long meaningful one?
I knew exactly what she was referring to, as last night's hero (Eddie Redmayne) had already reminded me of a question I'd asked back in 2009: Is there an open-mouthed school of acting?
'...I don’t know if it’s just me (and the small, unrepresentative sample of people I’ve consulted so far), but it does seem that film and television actresses are spending more and more time with their mouths open – both when there’s no dialogue and when they’re listening to one of the other actors saying something – than used to be the case. Nor are those of us who’ve noticed it particularly impressed by it' (more HERE).
Whereas I'd been prompted then by the likes of Keira Kinightley, Eddie Redmayne has now shown that men can do it too - and his open mouth is featured in 17% of the short BBC trailer posted on YouTube (above - or full version HERE).
I was intrigued to discover from the comments that I wasn't alone in having noticed the trend, and some interesting discussion emerged. If you've any more thoughts, here's a reminder of the five main questions I posed then:
'For one thing, once you’ve spotted someone doing it early on in a film, it becomes a big distraction - because you go on noticing the same actor doing it again and again. For another, it can be quite confusing trying to work out just what emotions and feelings all these open mouths are supposed to be conveying
'So here are five questions on which I'd welcome feedback:
1. Has anyone else noticed it?
2. Is it a recent trend?
3. Am I alone in finding it irritating/distracting?
4. Is open-mouthed acting being taught in drama schools?
5. If so, why?'
And another thing: an inappropriate continuity error
In the background to the pastoral scenes in early 20th century France, the only birdsong to be heard was the cooing of a dove that didn't arrive there until the 1940s (HERE).
The distinctive repetitive cooing of the collared dove has been an irritating distraction in large numbers of televised dramas set in periods long before this annoying bird had arrived and settled in the UK.
Presumably producers of television drama and nature programmes never bother to communicate with each other about such things.
Needless to say, I think it's high time that they did.