Performing Performers: Embodiment and intertextuality in the Contemporary Biopic

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The actor’s body is of critical importance to the biopic’s representation of ‘real’ lives, to issues of physical and gestural resemblance, and in its role as the dramatic vehicle; acting out significant moments, embodying transformations. Through detailed examination of Beyond the Sea (2004), De-Lovely (2004), Molière (2007), films which foreground the construction, and constructedness, of life through performance and spectacle, this chapter explores the self-reflexive and intertexual embodiment of life stories. It focuses on the material details of performance in relation to distinctly contemporary strategies of film style and tone, and how these connect to questions of expectation and agency.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Biopic in Contemporary Film Culture
EditorsBelen Vidal, Tom Brown
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages117
ISBN (Print)9780415899413
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Publication series

NameAFI Film Readers


  • Biopic
  • contemporary film
  • American film
  • French film
  • film performance
  • Moliere
  • De-Lovely
  • Beyond the Sea
  • Bobby Darin
  • Cole Porter
  • Kevin Kline
  • Kevin Spacey
  • Romain Duris
  • embodiment
  • impersonation


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