Commentary: How History With Actors Can Affect A Story

by Frank Martin

One of the weird anomalies of storytelling is that a writer can’t control the experiences and opinions the audience brings with them to a story. Every single person is different. So although writers attempt to craft the best possible story they can, how it will be perceived is largely out of their control. In terms of film and television, this also applies to the cast featured in the story. An audience member that is going into a film not knowing any of the actors is going to have a different preconceived notion about that story as opposed to someone who is familiar with the cast and already has formed opinions on them.

A great example of this is the film Morbius. It stars Matt Smith and Jared Leto. Both are completely different actors whose names can be recognized by fans and followers of the industry. Smith is a famous Doctor Who actor while Leto has played a drug addict in Requiem for a Dream and the Joker in Suicide Squad. If a viewer is aware of these past credits — good or bad — then they could use that as a basis for which the characters in Morbius develop. But if these actors are completely unknown to a viewer, they will have a much different starting point for experiencing the film.

The same could be said for follow-up stories. Smith’s character in Morbius was a wealthy yet sick man who became a super-powered vampire. He then starred as a rather controversial antagonist in the Game of Thrones spin-off House of the Dragon. These two roles couldn’t be further apart from one another, however, an opinion on one can be used to form an opinion on the other. Remembering Smith’s portrayal in Morbius can go a long way for a viewer watching him act as a fantasy prince in Westeros. It just goes to show that the intricate exposures a viewer has will vary greatly based on the individual. It’s an aspect of storytelling that the actor and creator have no control over and yet can form a very strong foundation from which a story is experienced.

%d bloggers like this: