Charles Dance (Analysis)

At first sight, Charles Dance may boast quite an intimidating presentation. His seemingly effortless charisma has in fact become instrumental in conveying a variety of shady characters throughout a prolific acting career. Nevertheless, it might be hasty to conclude that this outward appearance should warn the audience toward the individual’s instinctive personality. A more thorough observation, supported by vultology, might expose in turn that the disposition could be less tributary to a consistant irate mood than it would be to the expression of specific cognitive processes.

Indeed, the contraction of the muscles around the eye sockets which accompanies the pairing of Ni and Se often conditions the brow by pulling it up toward the outer side, while the upper eyelids stay relaxed and lowered, hovering over a steady stare. Likewise, the pairing of Fi and Te may manifest through a constant tension from the upper lip to the sides of the nose, which overlaps with expressions suggestive of displeasure or contempt. When Te is prevalent on Fi, the emotional effusion associated with this contraction tend to be stifled under the cheeks, which can result in an overall stern composure.

Thus, what might be perceived as somewhat of a “manic” expression, in this case drawn toward the audience by a piercing glare, can prove to be a default look for the NiTe/Vedain type.

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Figure 1 : A range of severe, yet typical countenances

The further breakdown of filmed interviews should help us substantiate this assessment, while pointing out some nuances of personal development.

In this occasion, it becomes quickly apparent that Charles Dance is most frequently balancing between a lengthy gaze downward and to the side, “zoning out”, and a fixated look on his interlocutor, with occasionally a quick glance upward.

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Figure 2 : Eyes movements are conducting the face from the side to the front, and back

Meanwhile, the line of thought shared through the speech is seemingly revolving around the integration of memories into patterns, as would suggest the following quote from an interview with the BBC about acting :

Charles Dance : “What I tend to do when I work is taking each character face value, basically. If there are things that I feel I need to know about the character, I will go into it. Like in the moment I am playing a priest, […] I will go to church […] and do all the external things I need to know. […] I find that, if the writing is good, I basically have to serve that text.”

When the recall is seemingly more demanding, his brows furrows into a scowl which contracts in the center, while his eyes stay in sharp focus.

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Figure 3 : Charles Dance’s concentrated scowl

These elements suggest a noteworthy recourse to reactive/introverted abstract perception, abbreviated Ni, and completed by proactive/extraverted concrete perception, abbreviated Se.

In most of these circumstances, the head, if not the upper body itself, is tilting heavily according to the direction of the eyes, which may induce a partial hunch.


Figure 4 : Posture is actively bending toward the focal point

Moreover, Charles Dance’s usual stance is laid-back, oftentimes openly leaning on the seat. It animates imperceptibly through a gentle sway, which can gain momentum in moments of stimulation, before collapsing onto itself.

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Figure 5 : Eyes widen and gain intensity as the body animates

Altogether, these further remarks may confirm that Charles Dance’s type belongs to the “Worldview” quadrant, lead by reactive/introverted perception (Pi), and that its primarily oscillation is indeed composed of a prevalent Ni and a subservient Se.

Beyond its visual component, the allure is also enriched by a skilled enunciation, which might first and foremost be a testimony to a methodical training as a classical actor from the days in the Royal Shakespeare company. Nevertheless, some of its attributes are distinctly concomitant with those of the “Articulation” process (Je), and thus can help the observer in determining the secondary judgement oscillation.

Despite being imbued with a hint of static warmth, his voice tone can still be characterized as nasal and uniform. Moreover, the rhythm is imparted through volume over melody, especially to emphasize a decisive word, usually at the end of a segment. It results in a rather dispassionate, analytical inflection, which can be instrumental to deadpan humor, for example when defining the character of “Gerald” as having the “principal concern” to “shag his barista”, before cracking a smile, in an interview preserved by the Kinolibrary Archive Film collections.

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Figure 6 : Charles Dance contains his amusement after quipping an off-beat comment

The speech is sometimes accompanied by a series of brief, efficient gestures from the hand, or nods from the head, which can be almost as precise and clear cut, but also indolent in their coordination, and illustrate the ambivalence of having proactive judgement in the secondary oscillation.

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Figure 7 : Gesticulations rarely engage the full body

Even though these “signals” are already indicative of the prevalence of proactive/extraverted logical judgement (Te), it may become as much clearer when factoring the complementary process in a distinct fashion. The previously mentioned tension from the upper lip to the side of the nose might be scattered through micro-snarls and asymmetrical expressions, but it also influences the flexion of the smile by pulling it toward the center of the face, pressuring against the cheeks.

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Figure 8 : Charles Dance admits he “quite like(s) dressing up”

However, contrary to other prevalent Te users, the cheeks are suddenly swelling with a hint of warmth. This might suggest a genuine contamination, which sometimes slips through the restraint and burst into a short but still unexpected “giggle”.

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Figure 9 : Emotion radiates freely from the smile

In addition to these punctual surges, the process itself is given a thoughtful treatment in transitory moments of complete disengagement, achieved through a straightened body and the exhalation of a deep breath.

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Figure 10 : Eyes are closing down while the posture freezes in an uptight position

We can thus infer that, beyond the consideration offered by Ni “worldview” and contrary to what his most cynical roles may entice, Charles Dance may have a positive relationship toward the exploration of his personal sensibility through his “inner compass” process (Ji), in this case reactive/introverted ethical judgement (Fi).

In the end, it is seemingly the man himself who invites the audience to dissipate the superficial layer of presentation, without sacrificing temperament, as the following quote, given to the BBC, would suggest :

Charles Dance : “If I was a different shape, and size, I would love to play Small weed in Bleak House. I’d love to play those characters, bits because it would just be enormous fun, and so far away from what I am perceived to be […]. I’d like to do more and more different things, the rougher, the better.”

Sources :
BBC interview with Charles Dance
Charles Dance Interview – Dracula Untold (HD) to HeyUGuys
1997 Charles Dance Interview from the Kinolibrary Archive Films Collection

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