Impossible Bodies investigates issues of ethnicity, gender, and sexuality at the margins of contemporary Hollywood. Examining stars from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Clint Eastwood to Whoopi Goldberg and Jennifer Lopez, Holmlund focuses on actors whose physique or appearance marks them as unusual or exceptional, and yet who occupy key and revealing positions in today's mainstream cinema. Exploring a range of genres and considering both stars and their sidekicks, Holmlund examines ways in which Hollywood accommodates - or doesn't - a variety of 'impossible' bodies, from the 'outrageous' physiques of Dolph Lundgren and Dolly Parton, to the almost-invisible bodies of Asian-Americans, Latinas and older actors. From the Pumping Iron documentaries to The Quick and the Dead and Boys on the Side , Holmlund traces the broad shifts and startling disjunctures in what count as desirable images of masculinity and feminity in mainstream cinema.
From lesbian killers to Swedes who never play Swedes, Impossible Bodies considers how representations of ethnicity and race, gender and sexuality are played out in contemporary Hollywood films, and shows how popular cinema reflects and communicat contemporary values for audiences.
Chris Holmlund is Associate Professorin Cinema Studfies and Women's Studies at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is the co-editor of Between the Sheets, in the Streets: Queer, Lesbian, Gay Documentary (Minnesota UP, 1997).