It’s a vital element in cinematic storytelling. If your protagonist has short hair in scene one, it’s going to be awfully confusing if his locks roll past his shoulders in scene two.
Of course, there are more subtle aspects of continuity that require an eagle eye to pick up on. One Redditor spotted such a discrepancy while viewing the German film Free Fall then watching the Netflix show Sense8, which both feature actor Max Riemelt.
And while the observation has absolutely nothing to do with the story line of either narrative, we can’t help but commend the effort.
In a post titled “Why did the actor who plays Wolfgang get circumcised for Sense8?”, CRISDEARMERO wrote:
So I know this is probably not that important but it is really bothering me. I recently watched a movie that [Max Riemelt] is in called Freefall in which he plays a gay cop. There’s a shower scene where you see his penis and you can clearly tell that he is not circumcised, because you can see the foreskin clearly covering the head of the penis while it’s flaccid. Now, in the [Sense8] episode “Demons” he has his nude scene where there is a close up of his penis and it is suddenly circumcised, as the foreskin is no longer covering the head of the penis. Why would they do this? Did they think it would be more aesthetically pleasing or something?
We’d like to submit into evidence exhibits A & B — the scenes in question.
Thanks to this thing called the internet, it wasn’t tough to track either one down.
First, here are some GIFs and stills from the 2013 film Free Fall, which do indeed show the bishop is clearly wearing a turtleneck (LINK NSFW).
Compare them to these photos from Riemelt’s nude scene in Sense8 (LINK NSFW, OBVIOUSLY), and you’ll see where the confusion arises.
That being said, we’re not sure we can jump to the same conclusion that the 32-year-old actor underwent circumcision specifically for his role in Sense8.
Actors, if you ever see language in your contract that requires getting cut, you should probably have a serious talk with your agent.
Commenters offered their own explanations, starting with the clinical — “There are medical reasons for circumcision, along with personal reasons.”
Another reader had a different take: “He is uncircumcised [in both productions] but has his foreskin pulled back instead to make him look circumcised [in Sense8]. An uncircumcised penis is probably too risqué for American audiences.”
Still not sold? Perhaps the answer is more of an “industry” thing, as another commenter suggested in this detailed breakdown:
I’d say it is a body double [in Sense8], which is silly because the producers should have found someone who was uncircumcised. Here are my reasons why I think this:
1) A few seconds before the [Sense8] close up, there is a shot of the actor’s back side, which gives us a sense of his hair pattern. Namely, he has a lot of inner thigh hair that is missing in the close-up. Certainly, this could have been shaved etc but it is more likely that it was a body double it seems because the hair color doesn’t quite match up either.
2) In the Orgy scene in the next episode [of Sense8] he appears to be wearing a prosthetic that is uncircumcised as far as I can tell. (different length and color from the previous scene) It also appears to have strange buoyancy issues – normal penises tend to be at least neutrally buoyant or float a bit, his appears to be straight up sinking.
3) Both are different from each other and from the scene in Freefall.
“That is a lot of analysis for a dick shot,” responded another to the above list.
At least we can all agree on that, if nothing else.