A body double in film is a person who substitutes for the credited actor of a character in scenes that require specific physical attributes or skills that the original actor does not possess, or when the actor is unavailable, or for scenes that the actor may not wish to do for various reasons, such as nudity or dangerous stunts.
Body doubles stand in for actors in scenes where the face isn’t visible or can be obscured or replaced in post-production.
For example, if a scene requires a character to perform a professional level of ballet, and the actor playing that character is not a trained dancer, a body double with a ballet background may be used for the wide or full-body shots.
The actor may still be used for close-up shots or shots where the character’s face is visible.
Body doubling in scenes of nudity.
In the case of nude scenes, a body double might be employed to perform scenes that require exposing parts of the body that the main actor prefers not to show.
This allows the filmmakers to include the shots necessary for the story while respecting the comfort and boundaries of the actor.
Read more on how sex scenes are filmed in movies.
Stuntmen and women are also body doubles.
Stunt doubles are a specific type of body double that perform dangerous actions that the actor is unable or unwilling to perform, such as high falls, fights, or car chases.
Using stunt doubles helps to ensure the actors’ safety and the filming schedule’s smooth progression.
Read more on the dangers of stunt work.
Body doubles are an essential part of filmmaking, seamlessly integrating scenes requiring special skills, physical attributes, or actions that the main actors cannot or prefer not to perform themselves.