Round Glasses: How They’re Used for Character Development in Film and TV

Throughout the 21st century, the stereotypical perception of glasses has been turned on its head. Now, the health- and fashion-enhancing accessory is a standard part of many people’s daily attire, including big-screen celebrities. Interestingly, the use of spectacles in cinematic productions enables directors to create the desired aura for their character from those playing the role. So, let’s take a look at some world-renowned stars that have pulled off a pair of frames in both film and television.

Conrad Ricamora – How to Get Away with Murder
During his professional career, Conrad Ricamora has worked across numerous different entertainment streams. From movies to theatre, the 41-year-old’s on-stage contributions have seen him nominated for various awards, such as the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical for his role his performance as Xue Xing in Soft Power. Despite that, the American is known for playing Oliver Hampton in How to Get Away with Murder. According to IMDb, across the shows six seasons, Ricamora has featured in 82 episodes.

source: unsplash

Upon being given the role as the legal show’s computer technician, Ricamora has regularly worn glasses. The use of round-framed, tortoiseshell-colour frames enhances the actor’s on-screen personality. The decision to opt for a circular shape is indicative of how style trends have changed throughout the past decade. At the time of writing, round glasses are all the rage, with people seeking to copy their favourite on-screen performers. Because of that, platforms such as GlassesUSA have come to the forefront, offering prospective buyers the opportunity to purchase circular-shaped spectacles in a wide array of different colours, including the tortoiseshell shade worn by Ricamora.

Johnny Depp – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 
Irrespective of the genre, directors can turn to glasses to add depth to specific characters or scenes. Perhaps most famously of the 2000s, Johnny Depp – along with other cast members – wore oversized, thick-framed, white glasses in the Tim Burton film, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Unlike Ricamora, the style choice added to the light-hearted nature of the cinematic production and, in particular, led to the creation of an iconic character.

While there will long be debate over whether Depp’s portrayal of Willy Wonka was better than Gene Wilder’s in the 1971 original, few can argue that the aesthetics of the chocolate factory owner in the Tim Burton version birthed a more style-orientated depiction of Wonka. It’s fascinating to analyse the differences in the use of round glasses. Hampton’s contemporary look solidified the stereotypical perception of a computer-savvy character in a dramatic production, whereas Depp’s over-the-top interpretation illustrates how circular frames can truly stand out.

Coming Fashion in the Mainstream
Ultimately, the differences in stylistic choices surrounding the use of round glasses in the early 21st century are there for all to see. Of course, fashion trends are always changing, and it’s a testament to on-screen productions that they’re able to reflect social changes, but that often overshadows the reasoning behind such decisions. Although aesthetics are pivotal, character development is significantly aided by glasses as they’re an extension of one’s personality.

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