I know we all have our favorite male characters. The ones that make you stop, drool, and take a moment or two to compose yourself.
And that's a powerful tool.
Hugh Jackman as Wolverine? Oh. My. God. He is absolutely Alpha and hot as hell. Hugh Jackman as Leopold in "Kate and Leopold"? Not so much. Though I did love the accent.
Johnny Depp as Capt. Jack? Verrrrrry nice. Johnny as Edward Scissorhands or Willy Wonka? Um...good acting.
Orlando Bloom as Legolas? The hot elf with flowing hair and arrows at the ready? *blinking* Yes. Please. Orlando as the pirate in POTC? Eh. Okay.
My point...besides the blatant hotness of some characters...is this. Someone has created a male character that lives in women's fantasies. Long after the movie is done.
Then you have the opposite.
I will watch John Cusack, Kevin Spacey, or Harrison Ford in anything they act in. Why? Because I like THEM. The roles? None really come to mind. I just know I enjoy watching them work.
It's hard to compose a man of fiction and make him desirable to readers. You can use the parallel technique...your hero is compared to a popular character or actor so the reader establishes the look you want. Or you can go through the whole time-consuming filtering technique. A little here. A little there.
Because the book IS the movie screen. The story will play in the reader's mind while he/she reads. And a lot of readers will simply add all the pieces you've given them together and form their own ideal hero. But you have to give the pieces. Breathe life into the hero. Make him a character. One a woman thinks about long after the book is finished.
5 months ago