In late 2002, less than two years before his death, Marlon Brando held a 10-day acting symposium called "Lying for a Living." "Some memories of the event — like the exact address of the warehouse in North Hollywood where it took place — are a little hazy. It was, after all, 13 years ago. But nobody who was part of that extraordinary 10-day acting workshop ever will forget a single detail about Marlon Brando’s entrance."
'Looper's Noah Segan (aka Kid Blue) Explains What It's Really Like As a Working Actor
While waiting to interview Looper director Rian Johnson during Fantastic Fest, a chance encounter challenged even my notions of what it meant to be a movie star. Sitting there, in the garish luxury of the Four Seasons hotel lobby, I met a rather lost-looking young man with whom I struck up a conversation. He was passionate and sharp, and it took a good five minutes before I recognized him as Noah Segan, the actor who played Kid Blue in Looper. I assumed he too had been sent by the studio to promote the movie, but in fact he had come of his own volition, on his own dime, and was being soundly ignored by the publicists.[more inside]
Talking with Noah, it became clear that, though he had appeared in several theatrical films, he was far from living the life of privilege and extreme comfort we tend to associate with movie stars. Noah’s experience echoes those of many with occupations in the creative field; the epitome of the blue-collar artist. This interview was completely unexpected, and we didn’t end up talking much about the movie, but if you’re struggling with the financial logistics of doing what you love professionally, you too will probably find a kindred spirit in Kid Blue.
Michael Caine on Acting in Film is 58 minutes from a 1987 BBC documentary in which Michael Caine teaches some actors about how to adjust their performance for the movie camera instead of the stage. Worth watching if you're interested in acting or movies, or if you just like seeing someone who's very good at his job explaining how he does it. [more inside]
"One day early in 1954, Mary Martin and her husband, Richard Halliday, were driving on the Merritt Parkway, near their home in Norwalk, Connecticut. On the car radio came Frank Sinatra’s new hit, “Young at Heart.” It was perfect! That is, the song had the exact sentiment and feel they wanted for the pet project they’d long been planning, a musical version of J.M. Barrie’s 1904 play Peter Pan (original subtitle: “The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up”). Right on the spot, they decided they’d hire whoever had written the song to compose the score for their production." [more inside]
Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau speaking at UCLA 12/1/1971 (audio with rotating pictures, 45 min 25 sec) [SLYT]
This morning, the New York Times published "Wrought in Their Creator’s Image", an article talking about the new network series “How to Get Away With Murder", produced by Shonda Rimes and starring Viola Davis. The articles claims about the beauty and character of Black women have created a discussion, from Rimes herself and others about the stereotype of the "angry Black woman" and whether Ms. Davis is, as the Times suggests #lessclassicallybeautiful than other women because of the age and color of her skin.
Bruce Dern is a life-long runner. Three interviews with Runner's World discuss his obsession with running and how it interplays with his acting. From 1978, Running Is a Hard Act to Follow:
In the case of certain roles such as The King of Marvin Gardens, where the character stays with me for months after the movie is over, it is hard to get rid of him. It’s a frustration of the character. I think the same thing is true of running. All of my acting is on the theory of working from the inside out. Everything happens inside and then it comes out and the person grows out of that. Well, the running is the same thing for me. It happens from the inside out. It's the need and the desire that then makes the body go out and do it. And the desire to improve.[more inside]
Broadway's Patrick Page Shares His Personal Struggle with Depression The night I heard that Robin Williams died, I slept very little. And it wasn't just grief keeping me awake. It was fear. I know my depression is lurking just around the corner-waiting. As Harvey Fierstein says, "All it wants to do is get you alone in a room and kill you."
"This summer marks 20 years since Inside the Actors Studio debuted and so here are some of those appearances that both "won" and "lost" the show, those appearances which through the alchemical/semantic machinery of celebrity made their actors never less than or much too much."
The Actors School is a (fake) docu-soap about an acting school, featuring an interesting interpretation of a scene from Friends.
Mey from Autostraddle interviews actress and advocate Laverne Cox on her Emmy nomination, the epidemic of violence against trans women of color, and how to create a more supportive and loving community. [more inside]
The Hollywood Reporter Roundtable video: Comedy Actresses. Stacey Wilson sits down with The Big Bang Theory's Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, New Girl's Zooey Deschanel, Nurse Jackie's Edie Falco,The Mindy Project's Mindy Kaling, Shameless' Emmy Rossum, and Orange Is the New Black's Taylor Schilling, to talk about stupid questions from the media, disastrous auditions, odd fan interactions, the crazy stuff people tell them, and the state of American TV. (1:03:14, highlight transcription available)
In a new production of Christoph Willibald Gluck's opera Orfeo ed Euridice (Orpheus and Eurydice) in Vienna, the part of Euridice is shared between the soprano Christiane Karg, who sings from the stage, and Karin Anna Giselbrecht, a young woman in a persistent vegetative state, who lies in a nearby hospital. "The music is played to her and video cameras relay her image to the stage." [From the opera blog Intermezzo.] [more inside]
Anne Helen Petersen of " Scandals Of Classic Hollywood" fame talks about Zac Efron, the impossible demands of movie masculinity, and the history of the Teen Idol Industry on BuzzReads
SF/F legend Connie Willis pours a preview of a near-future version of the story of backstage back-stabbing, " All About Eve" with "All About Emily" for Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine.
The BBC put together a series of television commentaries from Orson Welles, "Orson Wells' Sketchbook" none of which need more than his then slightly unfamiliar face (without, he underscores, the usual false nose he wears for roles), his unmistakable voice, and his illustrations — taken, literally, from his sketchbook. In these six fifteen-minute broadcasts, which originally aired in 1955, Welles talks about not just the inauspicious beginnings of his illustrious working life but his experiences with the critics, the police, John Barrymore and Harry Houdini, the infamous radio production of War of the Worlds , and bullfighting Playlist here.
Adam Pearson suffers from neurofibromatosis, a condition that causes tumors to grow on his face. They are sizable. You wouldn't fail to notice them, even from a distance. Nonetheless, he appears in a small but absolutely pivotal role in Under the Skin, opposite Scarlett Johansson, playing a sexy alien serial killer, in one of the most remarked-upon scenes in the film. "[Facial scars and other disfigurements are] always used very lazily" by filmmakers, he tells The Guardian. "In an ideal world actors with conditions would play the characters with these same conditions.... If they'd got Adam Sandler and blacked him up to play Nelson Mandela, there would have been an uproar ... but with scars and stuff, it seems like people are cool with that." [more inside]
"To be honest," he says, "I had got to the point in London when I started to feel a little frustrated. I know moaning is part of our national character, but I hate it. And I found myself moaning a lot about theatre. Why did they decide to put that on? How come he got to direct that? And why is it that they only want plays about black people who are part of the underclass or involved in street crime? Is it because those are the only types of plays about minorities that ageing white middle-aged reviewers feel they can understand? I just found myself moaning and moaning and moaning…" (slGrauniad)
Last week's episode of True Detective featured a stirring tent-revival sermon from a wildly charismatic preacher. It was heavily edited with dialogue between the stars of the show. Nic Pizzolatto (the writer/creator of the series) thought it so good, he released the full 6-minute sermon for you to enjoy. [more inside]
Ian McKellen: Acting Shakespeare (SLVimeo) a one-man show of Shakespearean monologues from 1982
The Dissolve (previously, previously) looks at the Coen Brothers' 1996 "homespun Midwestern murder story" Fargo: Masculinity And Mike Yanagita, Keynote: Fargo in Five Quotes, Morality And The Coens
Behind The Voice Actors is an IMDB-like resource for looking up voice actors. Though it has articles, features, and trailers, it also provides fascinating time-sucks, as you can compare every actor who's played a character (for example: X-Men's Gambit or Batman's Joker) or every character an actor played ("Oh, hey! the same dude played Captain N and Ed from Ed Edd & Eddy!"). Happy clicking!
Everybody's got to start somewhere, right? So why not enjoy Charity Scanvenger Hunt organizer and Supernatural star Misha Collins' excruciatingly earnest acting debut in the 1999 educational film NO BRAINERS ON TAXES.
A month after its release, Naughty Dog's sweeping interactive epic The Last of Us is being hailed as one of the best games of all time, with perfect scores even from notoriously demanding critics. Inspired by an eerily beautiful segment from the BBC's Planet Earth, the game portrays an America twenty years after a pandemic of the zombiefying Cordyceps fungus (previously), leaving behind lush wastelands of elegant decay teeming with monsters and beset by vicious bandits, a brutal military, and the revolutionary Fireflies. Into this bleak vision of desperate violence journey Joel, a gruffly stoic Texan with a painful past, and his ward Ellie, a precocious teenager who may hold the key to mankind's future. Boasting tense, immersive gameplay, compelling performances from a diverse cast, a movingly minimalist score from Oscar-winning Gustavo Santaolalla, and an array of influences from Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men to Cormac McCarthy's The Road, it's already being slotted alongside BioShock Infinite and Half-Life 2 as one of modern gaming's crowning achievements. And while it's hard to disentangle plot from action, you don't have to buy a PS3 to experience it -- YouTube offers many filmic edits of the game, including this three-hour version of all relevant passages. And don't miss the 84-minute documentary exploring every facet of its production. [more inside]
7 Reasons Child Stars Go Crazy (An Insider's Perspective). Mara Wilson (previously) explains, and is interviewed by NPR on the subject.
Actor Richard Burton's diaries were published last fall, and are reviewed: Richard Burton Was A Great Writer, Richard Burton's Notes To A Modern Journaler, The Great Actor Who Hated Acting, For Love Of Lit And Liz [more inside]
Front Row (BBC Radio 4), 28/12/12 – 30mins. British stars of big American series like Homeland & House discuss why US TV and movies are so keen to employ UK actors right now. Answer seems to boil down to (a) proper theatre training (b) greater willingness to play unsympathetic characters and (c) botox-free faces still able to move in reaction shots. Damian Lewis, Hugh Laurie, Thandie Newton, Adrian Lester, Clive Owen, Ashley Jensen and Stephen Frears all take part. It’s an interesting discussion, though perhaps a little smug in its assumption of British superiority. I’d be interested to hear what American listeners make of it.
James Lipton interviews Dave Chappelle. Dave Chappelle interviews James Lipton. And while we're at it.... [more inside]
Nobody Hates Twlight As Much As Robert Pattinson Hates Twilight related Robert Pattinson Hates His Life
The new film Ruby Sparks, written by actress Zoe Kazan, both deals with and argues against the concept of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. [more inside]
AV Club Interview with Nick Offerman Articulate and often profound, this excellent AV Club interview with MeFi favorite Nick Offerman (previously 1, 2, 3) discusses his role as Parks and Recreation's Ron Swanson, the modern concept of masculinity portrayed by Hollywood, the importance of being yourself, and prosthetic penises. Second page of interview NSFW. [more inside]
Alison Brie gives a candid interview [YT, 29:41] with film critic David Poland as part of his DP/30 series. Topics covered include her schooling and early career, landing roles on Mad Men [YT, 0:54] and Community [YT, 4:52], developing as a comedy actress, interacting with a cult audience, what it's like to be the internet's favorite subject of titillating animated GIFs, and how to pronounce "GIF" for that matter.
Inside the Actors Studio's James Lipton offers advice to Mitt Romney.
The Lap of Luxury was a Big Brother-style reality tv show filmed for Spike TV in 2003. The format is familiar: 9 contestants living in a house together, all trying to win immunity, prevent themselves from being voted out and vying to win a $100,000 prize while facing down a smarmy host. Except... only one of them, a guy named Matt Kennedy Gould, was really a contestant. The rest were actors, playing stereotypical reality show roles. The series was scripted, heavily improvised and entirely created around Matt -- his very own Truman Show. Welcome to Joe Schmo. [more inside]
Lists of Note is a new site from Shaun Usher, proprietor of Letters of Note. It posts interesting lists, running the gamut from funny to poignant, mostly by famous people, though other sources crop up. Here's a sampling of lists: Johnny Cash, Walt Whitman, Eero Saarinen, Don Carman, Marilyn Monroe and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Day at Night was an interview series on the public television station of the City University of New York that aired from 1973-4. CUNY TV is in the process of digitizing and uploading the 130 episodes that were produced, with 46 done so far. The episodes are just under half an hour in length. Among the people interviewed by host James Day are author Ray Bradbury, actress Myrna Loy, medical researcher Jonas Salk, singer Cab Calloway, writer Christopher Isherwood, nuclear scientist Edward Teller, comedian Victor Borge, tennis player Billie Jean King, linguist and activist Noam Chomsky, composer Aaron Copland, actor Vincent Price and boxer Muhammad Ali.
Patton Oswalt talks to NPR about his role in the Diablo Cody scripted Young Adult, which is already gaining him Oscar buzz.
Last month How Did This Get Made (previously) held a live panel discussion of Superman III, a movie that started as a bizarre pitch involving everyone from Brainiac to Supergirl and Mr. Mxyzptlk, and ended up as a Richard Pryor vehicle. However for some truly crazy stories you may want to skip ahead to part II, where they are joined by Jack O'Halloran - Non from Superman I and II, boxer and son of the head of Murder, Inc. - who talks at length about his life, the movies, and choking Christopher Reeve.
Shakespeare was not a full-time writer without other responsibilities, like O’Neill or Williams. But what might look like a distraction for such authors—acting in his own and other people’s plays, coaching fellow players, helping manage the ownership of the troupe’s resources (including its two theaters, the Globe and Blackfriars)—was a strength for Shakespeare, since it made him a day-by-day observer of what the troupe could accomplish, actor by actor. [...]Shakespeare and Verdi in the Theater.
'According to Pacini,' Julian Budden writes in The Operas of Verdi, 'it was the custom at the San Carlo theatre, Naples, for the composer to turn the pages for the leading cello and double bass players on opening nights.' The composer had to change his score to fit new voices if there were substitutions caused by illness or some other accident. In subsequent performances, he was expected to take out or put in arias for the different houses, transposing keys, changing orchestration. He was not a man of the study but of the theater.
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