Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling star in the recently released film, Blade Runner 2049. As you may have heard, Mr. Ford mistakenly punched Mr. Gosling during its filming. The image immediately below captures both of their faces a split-second after impact. What follows is a nonverbal analysis of this moment.
One very telling nonverbal signal is seen in this instant (less than a second after he received Harrison's punch) is Gosling's elevated right forehead and eyebrow. This dynamic indicates disbelief.
The actor's mouth is also in the initial stages of a surprise display - Gosling's lips are drawn in and protruding and we don't see any teeth. If we had another image from only 0.1 - 0.3 seconds later, his mouth opening would still be configured in an oval shape - only with tighter lips and with the long-axis of the oval oriented vertically.
Harrison Ford's mouth is also in the early stages of surprise - however, his mouth also has the overlying emotion of fear. As mentioned above, a mouth of surprise will display no teeth, lips oriented vertically (albeit very briefly) - but a mouth of fear orients more laterally - with each corner pulling back and downward. In this instant, these two emotions are competing against each other (with respect to the dynamics of Mr. Ford's mouth) - and the fear component is winning.
It's difficult to see the surface of his left eye - yet we can see enough to know that his eyelids are opened significantly wider than baseline. Both fear and surprise will cause widely opened eyelids.
Harrison's forehead is also very telling. A Central Forehead Contraction together with his particular mouth and eye expressions indicate that Mr. Ford is, in part, experiencing empathy for Mr. Gosling.
Significant physical pain will also result in a central forehead contraction - which Ford is certainly experiencing in his right hand (Note how he's holding/covering/rubbing his right hand with his left - as he's also doing months later as he re-lives the event on Norton's show). The retracted and protected positioning of his right shoulder and arm is highly characteristic of pain.
Although he may have been trying to be humorous, it's interesting to note that Graham Norton asks if Harrison Ford's expression is one of regret - and Ford says, "No, that's the face of 'Oh, Shit! I'm in deep doo doo.' "
Summary: When this accident occurred, each actor was transported back into the real world. Textbooks will often give the false impression that we experience feelings in an isolated and linear fashion. Yet the natural world is rarely so simple. Here we see both Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford - the people, not the actors - displaying classic examples of simultaneous and competing emotions.
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