Talking with my friend Isabel the other week, I wanted to put a name to the specific phenomenon of enjoying an actor in something, and retrospectively realising that actually they were in something else REALLY MEMORABLE AND SIGNIFICANT to you a long time ago, but you never made the connection that they were the same person. It’s like a kind of actorly deja vu only without any sense of remembering they are familiar and you have in fact seen them in things before. So the complete opposite of how I usually watch any TV/movies from Britain, which consists of pointing out all the actors who have been in Doctor Who, Press Gang or Carry On Movies.
I wanted to name the syndrome after Rupert Graves, as I am still frankly recovering from the retrospective shock of discovering that the actor who played Jolyon Forsyte (my favourite character) in The Forsyte Saga was the same actor who played the floppy-haired Freddy Honeychurch in Room with a View back in the distant 80’s.
Isabel, however, argued quite rightfully that actually this phenomenon could only be named for the experience we had both shared, of rewatching the classic Anthony Andrews and Jane Seymour version of The Scarlet Pimpernel in the 21st century, only to discover that the reason we remembered Chauvelin as being really excellent and acting everyone else off the camera was in fact because he was played by SIR IAN FREAKING MCKELLEN.
I’ve had a couple of experiences of the Chauvelin Effect lately, so very glad that I now have a name to put to it when relating the anecdotes.