If you’re paying a lot of money to a Hollywood star, why wouldn’t you want their fans to recognize them? That’s the question you may have found yourself asking recently, as ads for two high-profile TV series have abused photo-retouching techniques to the point where the stars look nothing like their real selves. Is it insulting? Is it funny? Or, is it just Hollywood?
With “The Catch,” ABC has a buzz-heavy new show from Shonda Rhimes, a fun confidence-man concept and one of the best actors around in Mireille Enos. But you’d be forgiven if you do a double-take at the show’s print ads, which feature a tall sex-bomb with sleek cheek-lines and the look of a 20-something party girl. Because that woman is supposed to be Enos — a 5-foot, 2-inch, 40-year-old woman. Don’t get us wrong, Enos is a lovely woman — but the ad misrepresents her physical appearance so gratuitously that you have to wonder whether she was insulted the first time she saw it.
The same can be said for “Heartbeat,” NBC’s new medical drama starring Melissa George — but in reverse. After years of playing sexy female leads, it seems like the print ads are trying to downplay George’s pouty lips and striking features and make her seem more like … well, as if she’s been fed through a “What if they mated?”-type app alongside Maggie Grace or Rebecca Romijn.
Of course, these are just two examples in a long, bizarre Hollywood history of TV and movie stars being cast in projects … then tinkered with in advertising to the point where their physical appearance has no basis in reality. Below, a brief history of some similar head-scratchers.
Denise Richards, ‘Undercover Brother’
In 2002, the onetime Mrs. Charlie Sheen starred as a “Bond girl”-like villain in Eddie Griffin’s spy movie spoof. But despite all the weaponry in the film, the biggest explosion came when “Undercover Brother” released a poster focusing on Richards’ assets. Furious, the actress said her rear end had been photoshopped beyond recognition — a manipulation she wasn’t made aware of until it was on 30-foot-high billboards all over Los Angeles. “I slammed on the brakes when I saw it. I saw it at a bus stop and I thought, ‘What the hell did they do to my ass?'” the actress told WENN news at the time. “Plus, I got all these phone calls from my girlfriends saying, ‘What did they do to you? You look ridiculous!'”
Andy Roddick, Men’s Fitness
People may confuse tennis player Andy Roddick with actor Seann William Scott a lot, but it’s not like anyone is walking around accusing Brooklyn Decker’s husband of being ugly. So, why would Men’s Fitness magazine feel the need to give him Hulk Hogan-like biceps? In 2007, they did exactly that, garnering backlash from fans — and a reminder that it isn’t just women who face unrealistic physical expectations. “Little did I know I have 22-inch guns and a disappearing birthmark on my right arm,” teased Roddick, laughing off the cover image while speaking with People magazine. Who knows? Maybe the photoshop guy at Men’s Fitness thought Seann William Scott was looking a little scrawny.
Demi Moore, W
This one is kinda amazing. Appearing on the cover of “W” magazine, Demi Moore’s image was so manipulated that the artist accidentally left a telltale sign. See Demi’s left thigh? Check out the sash covering her skin — then look at where the leg emerges beneath it, versus where her thigh is above it. Have you ever seen a human being whose hips are smaller than her thighs? Well, now you have.
Oddly enough, Moore insists that the photo is untouched — but your eyeballs may think differently.
Steve Martin, every movie he’s ever made
There are few Hollywood games as fun to play as “Where is Steve Martin’s head photoshopped this time?” Because as nice as the man is in real life, it seems like he just will not sit for a studio photographer. What other explanation could there possibly be for the fact that in movie after movie, decade after decade, the comedian’s head always seems to be photoshopped awkwardly onto someone else’s body?
Sarah Jessica Parker,Harper’s Bazaar
The “Sex and the City” actress is a beautiful woman who certainly knows style and grace. But as far as this 2013 cover is concerned, from a Chinese version of Harper’s Bazaar — well, if you saw this woman walking towards you, how quickly would you run across to the other side of the street?