On-screen chemistry is more than just sexual / physical attraction. There’re also Emotion, Romantic, and Friend/Foe, to name just a few. I’ve set out below some good examples at the beginning of the article to stimulate your thinking. First, what are key figures in movie production? Key figures in movie production include the director (who set the story), screenwriter (who develops the screenplay), producers, and the actors (who act or perform the various roles). What does each key figure do?
In the movie, two actors enter a room, one walks toward the other, holds hands and begins to talk. The two actors are then said to be in a love triangle. The two actors may be playing the same character (the leading role). Or they may be playing different characters. But in order for there to be on-screen chemistry, a relationship between these three must exist. Without it, there can’t be on-screen chemistry.
Another example of on-screen chemistry is when two people kiss on the cheek in a movie. This is almost never acted out, but in real life, people kiss. That’s what kissing is. In movies, however, kissing is very rare, so it isn’t necessary to include it in the on-screen chemistry list. So, which are the characters in the movie that would make a good candidate for on-screen chemistry?
Let’s say, for example, that we’re watching Friends, and two actors have a conversation. One actor says, “You look really good today.” The other actor responds, “Thank you.” Then they break up and move on to the next scene. We feel like there’s on-screen chemistry here because both actors feel like the other person likes them.
The problem is, in the previous scene, the second actor also said, “I think you look great.” So we have two people who have said similar things, but their on-screen chemistry is different. Now the question becomes, does this scene partner also feel like the other person likes him, or does this character just feel good about himself, without needing to say anything. What are some of the criteria for on-screen chemistry that we use to grade TV shows for on-screen chemistry?
The way I understand it, the answer is, “physical attracted and interested.” You have to be physically attracted and interested at the same time to qualify as a contender for on-screen chemistry. In real life, two people who are attracted to each other might kiss, if they felt compelled to. They might even go ahead and ask the other to marry them, if they really felt like it. They’re taking the actions necessary to establish physical attraction.
But what if the characters in the movie don’t have any physical attraction or interest? Let’s say, for example, that the lead character in the movie simply doesn’t care. He doesn’t seem to be interested in anyone or anything. We see this by his complete obliviousness to the social affliction that Clay finds himself in at the beginning of the movie. He even flirts with several women throughout the movie, but he has no feelings whatsoever. In other words, he lacks the desire or the motivation to do anything.
In movies like This is Our Life, and E.T., the lead characters lack a real connection to anyone or anything. These characters don’t care about anything, and they act as if they have no emotions at all. And when it comes to on-screen chemistry, these actors win every time. The audience loves their characters because they’re so uninteresting. It’s sad, but it’s true.
Now let’s take a look at something that happens all too often in Hollywood movies, which happens to almost every character in the story. Two characters are shown on-screen kissing, only for the lead character to turn around and not see the other person. Or, the lead character pretends to be interested in a woman, but has no real feelings whatsoever. In short, almost every male character in Hollywood is capable of this behavior.
What was wrong with these characters in the previous paragraph? Why didn’t they try to pursue the woman or give her a sincere kiss? Why did their interest in her seem so shallow? They had no chemistry and they acted like animals! This is called a problem, not a sign of great acting ability!
Julia Roberts and Matt Damon certainly have a chemistry that viewers will want to follow throughout the rest of their careers. If these two actors were not so great actors, there would be far less buzz about them. And they are certainly far better actors than they are. As far as I can tell from all the research I’ve done, there is no correlation between good acting ability and great acting ability. On the contrary, the opposite is true. A scene that don’t have great acting, but great choreography, are just as good as a scene with great acting, because the audience will feel like the actors are having a real conversation and won’t feel like the actors are reading from a script.