Analysis / Breaking Character

Usually actors are professionals who spend hours learning how to be the person they are portraying. This adds to the Suspension of Disbelief that the audience expects, showing how a literary or deceased character can actually be in the performance the audience is watching. However, when the actor abandons this, and reacts in a manner suggesting how the actor him/herself actually believes this is known as "breaking character." This is different from Corpsing, where the actor(s) starts to laugh or giggle but mostly remains in character.


  • In Tropic Thunder actor Kirk Lazarus, a white Australian man, undergoes a skin darkening procedure to play the part of an African-American soldier. When he starts acting as if he was always that, one of the actors who is black call him out on it. He mentions that he does not break character until he does the DVD commentary. And note: Robert Downey, Jr. does do the commentary for the actual movie entirely in character as Lazarus.

Live Television
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Symbiosis," just as the doors close on Lt Yar for what is the last time she is seen in that episode, actress Denise Crosby starts waving at the camera. She was waving "good-bye" to the audience. Even though the character of Tasha Yar was killed in the next episode, "Skin of Evil," this was the last of the episodes in which she was a regular cast member.
  • There is an In-Universe example in the episode "Hollywood Babylon" of Supernatural, when Tara Benchley is reading the Latin Incantation, and is distracted by on of her co-actors.

Real Life
  • Christian Bale, when playing a character who is American, will continue to speak with an American accent while doing any interviews or such for the character/movie in which he is a part. He does this to avoid confusion for the audience. One time where he did not maintain this was when he accepted a 2006 MTV Movie award from Brandon Routh (whose movie Superman Returns was just coming out) where he remarks, in his native Welsh.