Having worked on metadata for movies and TV shows, I stop to consider the choices others have made for what they show in their interfaces. What are you trying to communicate with a list of actors, headshots, and character names? Does your interface enable the user to easily associate actors with their roles?
I see two main scenarios:
- People browse to the movie and want to see which actors are in it – likely they are already familiar with those actors, so they have a name and/or face association.
- People come from watching the movie and want to see who a particular actor is – maybe what else they have been in. They have a face, maybe a character name too, they are looking to match to an actor.
For case (1) we want to make sure the user sees the most recognizable representation of an actor from the viewpoint of the general public. This is why we show their most popular/recognizable movie at the top of their profile pages. The most recent image of the actor is usually the best here.
Case (2) is a a bit different. If you come directly from the movie, but the movie is one from 30+ years ago in an actor’s career, then they could now look a lot different.
Do you show the latest headshot for the actor? Do you show an image of their character in that movie? Do you show an image of the actor’s character in their most famous role? Do you show different images based off of how the arrived upon the movies details page?
Should there be an older set of headshot photos for older movies in movie detail interfaces?
I’m watching some older horror titles for the season, and seeing that the actor headshots often look nothing like the person in the film you’ve just watched – decades older (if still alive). See the Halloween (1978) cast above.
Would it be better to have staggered headshots for an actor – say, ever decade – so that the closest ones are shown on the relevant film?
Or maybe stills or promotional photos should be used for a direct reference to that exact movie.