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I've been seeing more and more of these scenes lately (though I know they aren't new), as they add shock value to a particular scene/story line. Just curious if it's split-scened or just a part of the job.

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I remember a making of a scene from a Hollywood film where girl vomits on the hero but in reality girl only opens a mouth and the vomit shown is coming from a pipe behind the girl in a way that the substance coming out of pipe looks like it coming from girls mouth. I think same can be done for spitting in distance shots. – Ankit Sharma Nov 18 '13 at 14:06
@AnkitSharma I remember seeing some behind the scenes or commentary about the movie 'SWAT' and in the scene when Colin Farrell vomits after working out, he supposedly just had some type of soup in his mouth, mixed veggie or chicken, I can't remember. But that was a cut-to scene anyway. – BigHomie Dec 23 '13 at 18:56
up vote 19 down vote accepted

Great question.

This can often come down to the willingness of the actors concerned as to whether to go all the way during a 'spitting' scene.

Sometimes you will indeed see the shot as an edited one - 'spitter' spits, cut to 'spitee' receiving the phlegm. This is easy to pull off and does not have to involve any real phlegm hitting the 'spitee's' face - this can be simulated with water/egg white/corn syrup.

However, when you see the shot as a two-shot (both actors in frame), then there is no faking it, but you can rest assured that plenty of mouthwash is involved, plus a similar mixture as described above to create the most effective spittle, a substance that will cling to the face but then also dribble in sticky strings.

I don't have any links to back this up, as I am going by my own filmmaking experience alone, but would welcome any edits to this answer if anyone has anything to add.

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Any special "protecting" make up on the receiving party? – Saariko Nov 18 '13 at 20:16
We never used anything - the mixture came off pretty easily. Basically, any actor who is serious about their craft will take one for the team now and then - if they are immersed in a role, then they need to experience everything first hand in order to react with conviction. – Nobby Nov 18 '13 at 21:31
Or they could take the advice of Laurence Olivier who once suggested (to famous method actor Dustin Hoffman on the set of Marathon Man), "Try acting, dear boy." – Nobby Nov 18 '13 at 21:32
What could make up protect from? Spit is unlikely to cause an infection on unbroken skin, and can be easily washed off. It could more easily cause an infection if it hits an eye, nostril or mouth but I don't see how makeup could protect those. – bdsl Feb 9 at 23:05

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