Movie Talk

Exploding Actresses Creator Simone Rovellini on the Birth of a Meme

Movie Talk

By Erin Kim

The word "Bombshell" has a whole new meaning since artist Simone Rovellini's explosive GIF creations hit the Internet. From Cinderella's epic head explosion to a giddy Leonardo Dicaprio cranium combustion, Rovellini's "Exploding Actresses" Tumblr page has changed the meaning of some of history's great film scenes in an unforgettable way.

Speaking from Italy, Rovellini chatted with Yahoo! Movies about his subversive vision, one that planted a viral bomb on the Internet.

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Yahoo! Movies: Which Exploding Actress was your first creation? How did this all start and why did you keep making them?

Simone Rovellini: The first one was Julie Andrews in "The Sound of Music." I did it for fun, because the paradox of such a sweet character exploding was comic. Then I quickly put together some other classic heroines that embody a romantic stereotype for an art show in Milan, and that's how Exploding Actresses was born.

Y!: Are you making more of these GIFs as we speak?
SR: I still have some explosions that I haven't used in the videos, and I'm working on some new ones, yes.

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Y!: How do you make them?
SR: That's part of the fun, it can be really challenging. It's about recreating the background and animating it in After Effects.

 


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Y!: Are there Exploding Actors on the way? Why is it just women?
SR: I started targeting this overly sweet and romantic stereotype of women that often movies conveys, and Disney Princesses was the peak. There will definitely be a place for actors too in the future. I think I will wander in different directions. Leonardo DiCaprio explodes while screaming "I'm the king of the world" in this emphatic scene from "Titanic" I uploaded yesterday, and that's one of the funniest.
I love making fun of clichés in general.

Y!: Which exploding actress is your favorite?
SR: Probably Cinderella. I like the way the Fairy Godmother quickly disappears after her magic goes wrong.

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Y!: It’s interesting how most of the actresses in your GIFs don’t notice that their head just exploded. Why are they so calm and cool?
SR: I guess it's funny that they face such a shocking accident witch such coolness. They just go on with their life. It's so nonsensical.

Y!: Have people been responding to your GIFs well? What was a favorite reaction from a fan or a site to Exploding Actresses?

SR: The reaction has been very warm. Everyone seems to understand the humor and that's great. Some of the funniest reactions has been to "The Lion King." That's such a random scene I did, but everyone in the comments seems to have his or her own take.

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Y!: Why do you think people like these GIFs?
SR: Because they overturn a cliché in an unexpected and theatrical way. Or maybe just because they're wrong.

Y!: Some might say these GIFs are really gory and scary. What would you say to that?
SR: The shock of the explosion together with the innocence of the subjects makes the clips funny, but actually it was a choice not to make them bloody. I think my explosions have a slapstick, cartoon feel.


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Y!: How do you think being Italian relates to why you made these GIFs? Or is there no relation to it at all?
SR: I realized that I focused mostly on American movies with my GIFs. I think that's because Hollywood is full of stereotypes. But you can find many in Italian movies too; they're just not that funny to watch.

Y!: Anything else you want us to know about your Exploding Actresses?
SR: Well, thankfully Exploding Actresses is more like a pastime for me. You should check the other things I do, like "C'est la Vie," my short film which I'm quite proud of.

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