Want to Volunteer?
September 21, 2015Posted in: News & Information Tagged:

Can actors play someone with Tourette if they don’t have Tourette in real life?

We often talk about how movies and TV portray Tourette inaccurately. Usually this is because actors and directors do very little research beforehand and instead go with common stereotypes about the condition.

What about the actors or actresses, writers or directors, who try to accurately portray Tourette?

Can they do a good job? Is it okay to not have Tourette and act as though you do in a movie or TV show?


Canadian actor Serge Houde (centre) portrayed a man with Tourette Syndrome on police drama 19-2

Researchers recently took a look at these important questions. They examined a German movie called “Vincent will Meer”. This movie depicted three people, Marie, Alexander, and Vincent who become unlikely friends with one another. Each main character has a medical condition – Marie has anorexia, Alexander has OCD, and Vincent has TS. Vincent is played by actor, Florian David Fitz, a man who himself does not have Tourette Syndrome.

Researchers created a survey to find out if viewers of this movie thought the portrayal of Tourette was a good one. The vast majority of moviegoers said that they found the actors’ tics to be convincing. With that said, the viewers who had Tourette themselves found his performance less convincing. The authors of the study believe that having Tourette allows people to better distinguish between real and preformed tics.

Another interesting result was that there was no significant difference between the viewers with and without Tourette in terms of their urge to perform the tics seen in the film. In other words, the viewers with Tourette weren’t more like to pick up the tics than the viewers without TS. The researchers believe that the reason for this is that echophenomenon (where people copy sounds or actions they hear or see) is common among people with and without TS.

It is important to note that the actor who played the man with Tourette had an acting instructor who had tics and he also did some prior research. This research included spending time with people with Tourette. The researchers believed that this helped him to more accurately portray someone with tics.

What do you think about this topic?

Do you think actors without Tourette can accurately portray someone with TS

Leave a comment