Here's the Problem with Actors Getting Tattoos

It is a common lament among actors that typecasting sucks. "I want to be dramatic," cry the men, "and Hollywood only wants me to be funny!" "I want to be a homely character actress," cry the women, "yet studio executives cannot see past my breast implants and perfume ads to cast me in any other part besides the love interest!" Truly, it is a sad thing when a performer cannot flex his or her muscles by disappearing into a wide variety of roles, for it is channeling that vast diaspora of human experience that makes an actor great.

So stop getting so damn many tattoos, actors.

Here's the problem with actors getting tattoos: We can put a man on the moon, yet we cannot come up with makeup that skilfully obscures an actor's tattoos in today's age of HD, IMAX, and Blu-Ray. You can use all the Dermablend you want, but as you can see from these pictures snapped of Mark Wahlberg walking to the set of The Fighter, those tattoos still shine through like grubby bruises.

Though Angelina Jolie was able to shed her modern, tabloid allure to play a 1920s mother in Clint Eastwood's Changeling, I might have believed in her character a little more if, as she was being hosed down in a dramatic sanitarium scene, I didn't see five sentences of Khmer script written down her left shoulder blade. Similarly, the digital video look in Michael Mann's Public Enemies may seem jarring, but it's not as anachronistic as glimpsing Johnny Depp's knuckle tattoos in a period piece.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm not some old man standing on my lawn, sneering at some youngster's tramp stamp. I like tattoos! I just don't get why actors are so determined to cover their bodies with them when they're inevitably going to need to sit in the makeup chair for (poorly-executed) penance. Is it fulfilling some deep psychological need for permanence in a profession that demands a schizophrenic change of identity every few months? If that's the case, here's my reasoned, professional advice: Cry into your vast supply of dollar bills and stop with the enormous, uncoverable tattoos.

· Funky Bunch [ONTD]


  • bess marvin, girl detective says:

    a tattooed necklace? really marky mark?

  • anon says:

    that's just bad makeup. for serious. as a makeup artist i know that it IS possible to touch up despite the scary advent of the digital beast. it just requires some finessing during takes and making sure you've got a wackload of primers, layers and setting powder to keep that shit covered. its not easy but its doable.

  • Jimmy James Monkey Death Car says:

    They are trying to re-claim their bodies from the masses. 'See, fans, I can do this to my body and it's personal and separate from my screen persona.'
    only, clearly it's not.

  • Furious D says:

    Tattoos on actors are what I call safe rebellion. It makes them claim to be "individuals," but since all the other actors have them, they can be comfortable in their conformity.

  • TedM says:

    Actually, tattoos on actors has a long tradition -- dating back into the 19th century. Of course, in those days, actors only were seen on stage and not really in various states of undress. For instance, John Wilkes Booth had several tattoos, including his initials on his left hand near his thumb. And he was not alone. It wasn't unusual in those days.
    I agree a bit about the whole thing though because a misplaced tat can pull one out of the scene. I know it must be a bitch to do Angelina Jolie's makeup -- I can recall several of hers bleeding through in one of the LARA CROFT movies.
    Maybe things will change in the future and those without will be considered the strange ones -- but who knows?

  • Pat icular says:

    That really is a "necklace," a rosary to be precise. The tat is on his stomach at the end of the crucifix...and of course the one on his arm that looks like Bob Marley.

  • Lowbrow says:

    And never is this argument more poignant than every time I glimpse that atrocious Marilyn Monroe tattoo that will forever pollute Megan Fox's forearm.

  • as an actor, I want a giant Superman tattoo on my chest, because that will really shine in the audition and show I have that certain spark needed to ripe off my shirt.

  • DILFITS says:

    I do a lot of acting and have visible tats, but it's mostly sketch comedy, so no one takes me seriously anyway.

  • NoWireHangers says:

    I would agree with you, but doing so would rest on the assumption that Megan Fox is indeed an "actress".

  • I haven't paid much attention to the matter of actors having tattoos but you make a really good point about these forms of expression affecting the movie roles that they play.

  • sixhundred says:

    marky mark wahlberg has 3 nipples. none of them are tatoos. let's give him that at least.

  • Yeah well with being an actor its a pain in the butt to cover them up for movies. One actor said he had to come in hours ahead of time each day to cover up the tattoos before they started shooting.

  • Don T says:

    RIPE off your shirt? eww.

  • TIGERLILY says:


  • Davert Ortho says:

    Tattoos are stupid. Tattoos are stupid. Tattoos are the bumper stickers of the soul. Tattoos say nothing except one day I decided I didn't care what I would look like 50 years from now. Stupid.

    • Sammi says:

      Some people get tattoos because they mean something to people. I got a tattoo for my grandma that passed away recently, and my friend got a tattoo because she survived a very serious car accident. Tattoos have meaning, and they can be beautiful. So really, tattoos are not stupid, and you shouldn't judge people for getting them.

  • robyn says:

    you cant take them off, move on, get off the subject it doesn't matter. He is an actor that's his job he plays someone, if you look at someone and see tattoos you think omg hard to take this person seriously. i take mark wahlberg very seriously he is good at what he does and thats all that matters who gives a shit about tattoos

  • robyn says:

    he compares to no one that's what makes an individual leave these people alone and find your own flaws they have a life to live too assholes

  • robyn says:

    HOLLYWOOD WTF I think he looks FINE either way. If the president has a tat he should be impeached lol didnt think so and if he smokes or drinks or smokes weed but infact doesnt inhale, these are all issues that should be addressed by God for making them that way, I can't leave my boo hanging love you mark muah see ya

  • Can't get enough of Super Sugar Crisp says:

    Tattoos and Twitter: People are beginning to see how STUPID they can be!

  • JD says:

    UM, whoever wrote this is an idiot. There is no cover up here. He is in the process of getting his tattoos laser removed. thats why they look like that. next month, it will look lighter and lighter and so on...

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  • GreyPilgrim says:

    I laugh when dumbass yuppy people use the argument that tattoos are stupid because in 50 years they will make the person who has them look like shit... Ummmm, EVERYBODY looks like shit 50 years later, whether or not they have tattoos... douche...

  • LanceThruster says:

    I like the fake tattoos. Who knows if Barney will always be cool or not?
    "I can see marrying someone, maybe having a few kids, but a tattoo seems so permanent.

  • Brandi says:

    I think the makeup artist just did a crappy job.