Can an actor who is a RL nerd play a cool character?

Then you have the cool nerd character like Mr Spock.

Are quote-unquote “cool nerds” like Joe Manganiello or Vin Diesel or Henry Cavill really nerds, though? Seems to me that the Overton window of what is “nerdy” and what is “cool” has shifted in the past 40 years. When I was in high school in the mid-Eighties, Star Wars was pretty cool, Star Trek slightly less so; but if you were into Doctor Who, or The Lord of the Rings, or even Star Wars EU, you were firmly in the “dork” caste. All of those things now, as well as gaming, RPGs, and anime, have become mainstream. If Vin Diesel was into serious cosplay, or hardcore LARPing, I’d think of him as a nerdy guy who plays cool characters; playing D&D just doesn’t have the same nerdcred as it once did. IMO.

Although I have no firsthand experience as to what she’s like in real life, Mindy Kaling (Kelly Kapoor on The Office and the voice of Disgust in Inside Out, among other roles) always describes herself as a nerd in interviews. I’m not sure if you’d call the characters she’s played “cool”, but she does often play “mean girl” types. Her characters definitely aren’t nerds.

I’ve played D&D with football players. They are usually very attuned to the rules and how they can be exploited, just like their coaches during games. That puts them in the rules-lawyering nerd camp for sure.

Watching Lord of the Rings or playing video games has become main stream. Playing D&D is still about as nerdy as you can get. In media (even nerd media) its still shorthand for nerd.

Or misunderstanding what acting actually is. Actors, well … act. They take on personas, roles, characters that aren’t them. While it’s terribly simplistic to say they “pretend” to be somebody else, that’s a shorthand way to describe their craft.

So yes, of course, a nerdy actor who had talent and skill could easily portray a cool character. Just like a similarly talented smooth, “cool” actor could convincingly play a geek or a nerd.

What colors our view of those roles sometimes is our preconceived notions of who an actor “really is” (if they get stereotyped one way or another, it gets more difficult for audiences to accept them playing out of their usual range). If you see an unknown actor playing a nerd or a super-cool spy, the fact is we have no way of knowing what type of person that actor is in real life.

Eh… I’d have to disagree. There’s still a very geeky stigma attached to D&D. Enough so that the filmmakers removed it from Ready Player One.

[showing geek cred] In the book, the first task was to find an area that actually matched the description from one of the D&D modules from the 70s (maybe the first… don’t remember). Your avitar had to LARP the module, except in the end you had to defeat a lich on a Joust video game instead of regular D&D beating the lich. Quite frankly, I would have thought this would film pretty well, but apparently there was too much geekiness around D&D for this to make the movie. OK, watching the Parcival playing on a Joust machine would be pretty boring, but the rest of it could have been cool.

Henry Cavill’s and Joe Manganiello’s nerdiness is not a surprise because of acing roles they took in the past. Its surprising because they look like Henry Cavill and Joe Manganiello.

Okay, I stand corrected. But my general point remains: the definition of “nerdy” has shifted considerably, and much of the fringe has now become the center. Heck, look at Game of Thrones or the MCU; now it’s considered weird if you haven’t seen any of those.

I was trying to find a cite/quote for this, and failed to do so, but I think a good example of this is Brent Spiner, who played the android Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation. I remember reading interviews with Spiner, in which he mentioned that fans sometimes expected him to be exceptionally smart, because he played a character who was exceptionally smart. He would reply with something like, “I’m not as smart as the character I play, but I’m good at acting.” :slight_smile:

I remember some actress on a talk show saying “People expect me to be quick-witted and insightful because the characters I’ve played have been like that. And I want to shake them and say ‘NO, I don’t have the perfect comeback, no I’m not sensitive and ‘deep’! When you’ve seem me doing that, it’s because I’ve been spouting lines I PRACTICED that were written by OTHER PEOPLE! Professional writers, in fact!’”

Oh absolutely. Nerdism has in many ways become pop culture itself. But D&D is still seen to be the realm of real nerds. The characters in the Big Bang Theory were supposed to be the nerdiest and when it need to show them being nerdy it was them playing D&D (with some famous co-stars). The gameplay itself will keep it from ever being mainstream.

Agreed, but I was replying to the original topic (and the comments on that topic).

Yeah I’d like to think if I looked like Henry Cavill I wouldn’t have much time for RPGs.
But on the other hand, there’s a lot of time in a lifetime, you have to have something to do in between all the poon tang.

I can’t think of anyone who uses those terms like that. Nerd is a bookworm who plays D&D, good with computers, etc, and gets good grades, as opposed to a Jock, who cheats off the nerds work, and is athletic.

[quote=“veryfrank, post:28, topic:957550”]
This guy was about my height (said actress towered over me), wore geeky glasses, had a big thick cowlick sticking up, and was dressed like he’d done it with his eyes closed, with an ugly vest over a tacky shirt.
[/quote] …and just stood there calmly licking his eyebrows… :sweat_smile:

The first part of Regarding Henry, where Ford plays a slick, hot-shot, Park Avenue Type-A guy, he nails it (it’s been years since I’ve seen it, so I can’t recall if he was a lawyer, a finance/Wall Street guy, etc.). A real arrogant prick of a guy.

I do recall the dramatic shift in personality after he was shot though, to the shy, awkward guy struggling to rebuild his life, his faculties, reconnect with his estranged family…

On Graham Norton he claimed that his nickname in his posh school was Fat Cavill. It may explain his childhood interests

Did they remove it because it was “too geeky,” or because they didn’t want to make a prominent portion of the movie reliant on a property not owned by Disney?

I can’t confirm that this is a picture of an actual Henry Cavill - let alone the one we’re talking about - but this would seem to be the photo of a not-slender (but not really fat) lad:

Got me hanging. I thought it was pretty lame that it was how many years, and no one tried going backwards for the first one? I also thought it was lame as hell that the third one was from the Atari 2600, and not one of the sixers thought to go for the invisible dot?

Well it doesn’t take much to get a nickname as a kid. I would expect in a very exclusive boarding school its even worse. I just checked. He went to the same school that Prince Ranier went to.