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From movie Hail, Caesar!. Josh Brolin's character says it about an actor who's dumb and who can't play in serious drama.

"Hobie Doyle? He's a dust actor! He hardly knows how to talk!"

The official Russian dub translated "dust actor" as "He only plays in westerns" and I'm not sure if it's correct.

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    Closest I can find is a reference from producer Joel Silver who equates "dust actor" with "man of action". So possibly a dust actor is an actor who mainly does action movies (and perhaps not even main roles, maybe more like a stunt man). I've never heard this term used and there aren't many Google references to it so it's probably film industry slang.
    – JamieB
    Jun 30, 2016 at 19:37
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    @user3169 how is this a translation request?
    – Catija
    Jun 30, 2016 at 19:50
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    @user3169 not a translation request. I watched the movie in English and didn't understand "dust actor" part, so I asked the question. Jun 30, 2016 at 20:15

1 Answer 1

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The term "dust actor" in 30's Hollywood parlance signified an "action" player, apposite to the "rug actor" whose strength was love scenes. Producer Joel Silver uses both terms here in a W Magazine article from Feb., 2007.

In an article from the June 13, 1987 issue of the Arizona Republic, Arnold Schwarzenegger is quoted as saying:

"In the old studio days there was the rug actor and the dust actor. The rug actor was in a suit the Cary Grant type. The dust actor was the Western hero. The war hero. Like Gary Cooper. Then if they switched parts, and the rug actor became the dust actor, the audience quit going. I don't want that to happen to me."

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  • Was the Schwarzenegger interview in 1897 or 1987 or maybe even 1997?
    – The Photon
    Jun 30, 2016 at 20:27
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    He only looks 172 years old. Jun 30, 2016 at 21:20

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