Same-Actor Crossovers (response to Lucy)
Highlander immortals provide a special dispensation for same actor crossovers. Since they must change their identities, it's easy to argue that the crossover character is that same immortal in a new identity. Since Methos is such a chameleon, I have no trouble imagining that he might actually be a veterinarian, a police detective, an author of self-help books, a thief, a terrorist, a mad scientist, a spy or any other role that Peter Wingfield might play on another series. On the other hand, I have a great deal of difficulty with the idea that Simon Banks on the Sentinel really is Carl Robinson from Highlander. My reality suspenders get all stretched out, and then I have to buy new ones. (Do you have any idea how hard it is to get good reality suspenders that fit?) The personality change is very radical, and I wonder about the motivation for Carl the former thief becoming a police captain.
Of course if the writer is arguing that this is actually the same individual, there is no possibility of e.g. Methos and Simon Ross from Cold Squad appearing in the same story--unless one of them comes from an alternate universe. So the lust driven image of two characters who look like Peter Wingfield in a slash context could only be fulfilled under strange science fictional circumstances. It would be theoretically possible to write a story in which Richie meets some other character played by Stan Kirsch, if the writer's premise is that the crossover character is Richie from the future in the Denial universe where Richie never died.
I understand Lucy's point that same actor crossover borders on actor slash and/or incest depending on circumstances. I personally am willing to deal with same actor crossover so long as we maintain the fictional context of writing about characters who are definitely different from the actors. It's a balancing act. People who write same actor crossover are tightrope walkers, and there's absolutely no safety net when they fall. If slash writers start bringing in aspects of the actors' lives that don't belong to the characters or even bring the actors into our stories, then it stops being harmless fantasy and becomes something else that is very dangerous. It is dangerous psychologically because perspective is lost. Publishing a fantasy in which a real person participates represents delusional thinking. It is the literary equivalent of stalking the actor. It is also dangerous from a legal standpoint because the actor might rightfully consider such a story actionable. I think that it's also ethically wrong to bring an actor into a slash story as a character. It could cause emotional pain to the actor or to the actor's family. I am ranting a bit about this because someone did bring an actor into a slash story in K/S about a dozen years ago, and I was the only one who felt offended enough to denounce the story in print. I was truly horrified by the irresponsibility of the writer and I hope that I will never see such a thing again. Yet I feel that same actor crossovers are not in the same category. The actor hasn't literally been brought into the story. These writers haven't gone over the line yet.
Maybe Lucy feels that there ought to be "a fence around the law". This is a concept used by Orthodox Jews. They place a metaphorical "fence" around God's commandments by extending the commandments to actions that haven't actually been forbidden. For example, it is forbidden to eat food that isn't kosher. Going into a restaurant that serves non-kosher food and ordering a salad isn't technically forbidden. A salad can never be non-kosher. Yet if you go into that restaurant you might be tempted to order a shrimp cocktail. (Shrimp are never kosher.) So the Orthodox Jews would prevent the situation from arising by saying that going into such a restaurant is forbidden. Thus if we regard same actor crossover as a slippery slope phenomenon that might lead to actually bringing the actor into slash, then same actor crossover should also be avoided. This is a Talmudic argument offered for the purposes of discussion. I sympathize with the attitude because actor slash is a very serious offense, but I'd like to think that most slash writers do have a good enough grasp of the difference between fantasy and reality, so that same actor crossover need not be regarded as a slippery slope.