Green Screens

Eric Molinsky talks with actor Ioann Gruffudd and others about “green screens,” the secret to TV weather reports, dinosaur films, and many other special effects in film.


An actor walks on stage. It’s stripped bare, except for the color green. His co-star is a tennis ball…It sounds like experimental theater, but this is how actors work in Hollywood these days. It’s called a green screen.

Ioan Gruffudd was trained at the Royal Academy of the Arts in London. Then he got cast in the Fantastic Four series as Mr. Fantastic.

“The times where we had to create things were… Well, especially for me, was whenever I stretched. You know, I mean, I can’t physically do that obviously, so I’m continually imagining myself doing it and I think that’s the key word here is – you just have to use your imagination. And that’s where I think it’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do as – as an actor because you’re not only acting, you’re then imagining what you’re reacting to also. So you’re almost doing twice the work.”

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