Analysis of the Authenticity of an Actor's Persona

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An actor often has to take on vastly different roles for the production of a large variety of films. In the development of these roles, the actor constructs different sets of personae by the use of specific gestures, vocalics as well as speech content, in order to aid the communication of ideas and thoughts. Hence for an actor whose profession involves the practice of portraying fictional characters with authenticity, it is almost impossible to determine if his persona off the screen is truly authentic. This is especially so for widely acclaimed actors, in particular Oscar nominees, whose portrayals of characters have been done with such expertise that it has earned them accolades. This paper will analyse and compare the personalities of Russell Crowe and Peter Sellers, two widely acclaimed but controversial actors, with their public personae that surfaced in televised interviews. Major discrepancies will aid us in determining the inauthenticity of their personae, which may have seemed genuine in the absence of prior comparison. Since audiences are unable to accurately determine the authenticity of these actors’ personae displayed in broadcast interviews, the use of authenticity as a yardstick when analysing personae seems to be irrelevant in this context. According to Montgomery (2001), authenticity in talk can be determined by certain features. Firstly, spontaneous and uncontrived talk, also known as ‘fresh’ talk, is considered authentic. Talk which captures or presents the speaker’s experiences as well as projects his core self and values also fits the criteria of authenticity. In this paper, it follows that if the talk is deemed to be authentic by Montgomery’s definition, the persona portrayed by the speaker as he spe... ... middle of paper ... ...her than anything about the person’s personality (Leary and Allen, 2011). Hence it is almost impossible for anyone to portray the same image of themselves to everyone in different settings; in fact it might be inappropriate to do so. It seems then that the concept of constructing a public persona itself is inauthentic. Authenticity is important as it is widely accepted that speakers are more believable and convincing when their responses are deemed by the audience to be real, ‘fresh’ and unscripted (Montgomery, 2001). However, as analysed above, the existing measure of authenticity seems to be flawed. A measure of how persuasive a persona is instead of how authentic it is may then be used as a yardstick to analyse personae. The study of the use of a new criterion in place of the measure of authenticity can be carried out to develop the persona analysis further.

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