Earlier, I quoted Jonathan Gray and Anna Martin on how the basis of The Lord of the Rings Real Person Fandom is their connection to The Lord of the Rings fandom.
In the bonus material, (Gray) points out, the actors as presented as similar to their roles in the film (…). The behind-the-scenes narrative existed parallel to the fictional narrative of the trilogy, and, as Gray argues, it mirrored the narrative of the trilogy, both enriching and being enriched by it. (…) Certain parallels are used to pin these versions together at crucial points, as I will discuss later in this chapter. Many points in the behind-the-scenes documentaries are used to pin the film version to the books. The books, the films and the paratexts link together in various ways to form a complex intertext, an interrelated group of texts that enrich and layer each other in meaning.GRAY, JONATHAN (2006). BONUS MATERIAL: THE DVD LAYERING OF THE LORD OF THE RINGS In: ERNEST, MATHJIS (ED.) THE LORD OF THE RINGS: POPULAR CULTURE IN GLOBAL CONTEXT, WALLFLOWER, 238.-253.
MARTIN, ANNA (2014). WRITING THE STAR. STARDOM, FANDOM AND REAL PERSON FANFICTION, 64., 69.
Now, Cathy Yue Wang talks about a broader tradition of creating a transmedia story around certain characters or certain ships.
A more intriguing and creative subgroup has appeared, called “Lou/Cheng Derivation” (楼诚衍生). This refers to fan works which use characters from other media productions, who are played by the same actors who take the roles of Ming Lou (actor Jin Dong) and Ming Cheng (actor Wang Kai). (…) From the West, “Halric” presents a similar case, as part of the fandom of Thor/Loki and Chris Hemsworth/Tom Hiddleston – Hemsworth played Eric in the 2012 film Snow White and the Hunstman and Hiddleston played Prince Hal in The Hollow Crown TV series (2012). The creation and reception of this type of derivative coupling rely on sophisticated identification and recognition from both fan authors and fan readers. On one level, fans need to meld the performed character with the performing actor and this implicitly incline toward the controversial Real Person Slash. On a second level, it is also necessary for fans to project the image of the actor into the newly created fictional role, from a different media text. During this process, the boundaries between performer and performed, between actors and characters are radically blurrred. (…) The motivation behind the crossover coupling is the shared belief that the love and affection between two male characters , in this case, Ming Lou and Ming Cheng, is transmittable across several disparate media texts. In this sense, we can view this creativity from slash fans as a grassroots endevaor to produce a special kind of transmedia storytelling which is solely motivated by love – both the love between two characters, and the love received by these characters from the fan audience.Wang C.Y., Hu T. 2021. Transmedia Storytelling in Mainland China: Interaction Between TV Drama and Fan Narratives in The Disguiser. In: Gilardi F., Lam C. (ed.) Transmedia in Asia and the Pacific. Palgrave Series in Asia and Pacific Studies. Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore. 120-121. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-7857-1_6
In this way, there is definitely a subgroup of RPF that treats the Real People, the actors behind the characters as another derivation of the characters themselves. The transcendence of these stories, indeed proves love is universal – at least for a fan’s OTPs. But it is not that love is truly universal but that by layering these stories on each other, they create an experience of greater authenticity for the readers and creators.
It seems to me impossible to separate the emphasis throughout the DVD Appendices (of The Lord of The Rings) and behind-the-scenes documentaries on truth and authenticity from the focus in fandom on truth.MARTIN, ANNA (2014). WRITING THE STAR. STARDOM, FANDOM AND REAL PERSON FANFICTION.