Oh, I've talked about this stuff before. I worked for years as a movie/TV extra, stand-in and occasional actor.
This thread just reminded me of how funny some of these "doubles" are. They usually look great as long as you don't see their face. They carefully select them for body types and then do the hair and wardrobe to match the actor's but when they turn around so you see their face -- I don't know -- it always makes me laugh.
As I mentioned above, Dakota Fanning had a "little person," an adult male double for her. I was walking behind him once on my way to lunch. I assumed it was Dakota but he turned around and I almost lost it -- he looked so funny in that little girl's outfit.
But, on the other hand, sometimes stand-ins and doubles have to be pretty talented. Like if they're doubling for an actor who is say, a dancer or doing something athletic -- they have to do whatever the actor does in the scene.
And, of course, if it's a stunt double, he/she has to do some dangerous stuff in place of the actor. But, that's funny to watch too. The actor is doing some sort of action and looking all heroic and then, just as it gets to the really dangerous part, the director cuts and the stunt double takes his place and actually does the stunt.
Same goes for nudity. A lot of those scenes where the audience thinks they're seeing a certain actors butt, boobs or whatever, it's really a body double usually (unless you can see the actor's face at the same time, of course). Film editors can be very clever in how they trick you into thinking it's the actor.
Even when an actor does something simple like pick up a letter or look at his/her watch or put on their shoes or whatever and the camera shows a close-up of their hands, feet, legs, arms -- it's usually not the actor but a body double.
They also use little people a lot to stand in for children because the labor laws for children are restrictive but a little person is an adult so they can work all day and don't need any special consideration, etc.
Stand-ins are never photographed -- they only work between shots while the tech stuff is being set up. They're only there to fill the space that the real actor would fill and to have the same general color and shape as the actor. I once stood in for a Chinese actor, much to the amusement of the Chinese extras who were in the scene -- they laughed at me every time we did a run-through (I was wearing one of those old wide-brim Chinese straw hats). They thought I was hilarious.
Charlie Chaplin once entered a Charlie Chaplin lookalike contest and lost.
Bruce Willis doesn’t insist on doing all his stunts these days so he has a stunt double with a shaved head just like his, ready to tackle the violent scenes. He’s in Paris filming Red 2 with Catherine Zeta Jones and John Malkovich. Bruce didn’t need his double to fill in for a scene where he chased a guy on a motorcycle because the bike was actually on a dolly and not moving very fast"
ASHLEY CUSATO has stunt doubled for Jennifer Aniston, Penélope Cruz, Denise Richards, Anne Hathaway, Lori Loughlin, Faith Ford, Annabella Sciorra, Scout Taylor-Compton, Drew Barrymore, Bitty Schram, Yasmine Bleeth, and Gena Lee Nolin....
"Kevin Bacon 'Furious' over Having a Dance Double in Footloose
Kevin Bacon is not the kind of guy to look back at his past work. But when the studio unearthed his audition tape from 1984's original Footloose, he couldn't help himself.
"It was like a weird time-travel, out-of-body type thing," Bacon, 53, told PEOPLE. "It's like if you went and saw the interview you did for your first job. Wow. I literally turned the thing off, went into the bathroom, looked myself in the mirror and went, 'Jesus, is that even the same guy' "
So was he impressed with himself?
"Honestly, I was," says Bacon, who at the time he shot the movie was a relatively unknown off-Broadway actor, despite roles in Animal House, Friday the 13th and Diner. "The energy, the hunger, the determination ... it was cockiness really. I oozed it."
Double Vision While Bacon is justifiably proud of himself and the film – which went on to earn more than 10 times its reported $8 million budget – he does have a few regrets. For one, while he says he did a majority of his own dancing, he wished he had been able to do some of the flips and complicated dance moves in the movie's famous warehouse scene.
"Are you kidding I was furious," Bacon says with a smile. "It's like a starting pitcher getting taken out of a game – no one wants to be told they can't get the guy out."
On the day of the movie's famous warehouse shoot, "I had a stunt double, a dance double and two gymnastics doubles," recalls Bacon. "There were five of us in the f---ing outfit, and I felt horrible."
One thing that Bacon was unwilling to do was stay quiet about his dance double.
"When the movie came out, the studio told me to never mention that they used a double," he says. "While I was in no position to do this, I told them, ''You are out of your f---ing mind!' "