What is "scenery-chewing?"

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Colin Dunn, May 4, 2006.

  1. Colin Dunn

    Colin Dunn Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 1998
    Messages:
    724
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    0
    In movie reviews and discussion threads, I see instances where an actor is said to "chew the scenery." Or alternatively, a movie is said to contain "scenery-chewing" by certain actors.

    It always seems to be attributed to actors, not actresses.

    But for the life of me I can't figure out just what this "scenery-chewing" is.

    Can anyone explain just what this means?
     
  2. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 1999
    Messages:
    11,061
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Real Name:
    John Williamson
    I've always thought it meant that an actor was really hamming it up and over acting?
     
  3. Linda Thompson

    Linda Thompson Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2004
    Messages:
    966
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
  4. andrew markworthy

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 1999
    Messages:
    4,762
    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    0
    As the link says, chewing the scenery can be good or bad depending on the context. In some cases, it can be good or bad depending on personal preference. Consider Laurence Olivier in any of his Shakesperean films - he's either the greatest thing you've ever seen, or an embarrassing ham, depending upon one's tastes.
     
  5. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 1997
    Messages:
    10,516
    Likes Received:
    707
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Scenery chewing: see Jason Lee. [​IMG]
     
  6. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    8,311
    Likes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Florida
    Real Name:
    Joseph DeMartino

    See also, "Shatner, William" [​IMG]

    The term applies equally to male and female actors.

    And it is never a positive comment. This is over 30 years in the world of the theater speaking here. That some call Olivier's acting in a given role over-the-top and hammy while others think it good does not mean that the term "chewing the scenery" is a neutral one the either side might use to describe that perfomance. The one who like Olivier's work would never use it, and the ones who didn't would (rightly) consider it a synonym for "hammy" and "over-the-top".

    "Chewing the scenery" is a metaphor for going way overboard in trying to attract attention to oneself on stage - and trust me, no actor likes that kind of behavior in another, or wants to be accused of it himself.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  7. Paul McElligott

    Paul McElligott Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2002
    Messages:
    2,598
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Real Name:
    Paul McElligott
    See also: David Caruso in CSI: Miami.
     

Share This Page