You can say something that can really help and actor and you can say something that can really get in the way of an actor's performance, kind of cut them off from their instincts and really get into their heads. And every actor's different. Every actor requires something different. Being an actor, for me, was the greatest training to be a writer and director.
To grasp the full significance of life is the actor's duty; to interpret it his problem; and to express it his dedication. Being an actor is the loneliest thing in the world. You are all alone with your concentration and imagination, and that's all you have. Being a good actor isn't easy. Being a man is even harder. I want to be both before I'm done.
The muscularly developed actor is not seen as a serious actor although he should be seen as a serious actor because he has been preparing for these muscular roles his entire life. If you can dedicate years of your life to hitting the gym and dieting and eating right you can definitely take a movie role seriously.
The amount of preparation I saw from someone like [David] Fincher, and how aware he is of everybody else's job on the set, and how much respect he has for every aspect of the film, and every aspect of the frame - that's the type of actor I am now; it's not the type of actor I was then. But without understanding his process, and then coming to learn it later on, I would never be the actor I am now.
It is in the irony of things that the theatre should be the most dangerous place for the actor. But, then, after all, the world is the worst possible place, the most corrupting place, for the human soul. And just as there is no escape from the world, which follows us into the very heart of the desert, so the actor cannot escape the theatre. And the actor who is a dreamer need not. All of us can only strive to remain uncontaminated. In the world we must be unworldly, in the theatre the actor must be untheatrical.
The actor's physical type isn't and shouldn't be the main consideration. Does the actor look the part? It is the simplest question to deal with. The director deludes himself who yields to the temptation to believe that an affirmative answer settles the matter. An actor's looks will impress an audience initially, but after his first five minutes on stage it becomes aware of what he or she communicates (or fails to communicate) through acting!
I do go back to Ireland, and I'll probably be doing a film in Ireland in January, and I guess that kind of keeps me classified as 'the Irish actor,' but the last four or five projects that I've been in are either American or English, so I don't feel terribly trapped in that. But sometimes, yeah, you would like to not be called 'the Irish actor.' You'd prefer to just be called 'the actor.'
The director is the most important because, ultimately, as an actor, when you watch a movie, it looks like an actor is giving a performance, and they kind of are. But, what's actually happening is that an actor has given a bunch of ingredients over to a director, who then constructs a performance. That's movie-making.
Age is as much an asset for character players as it is for good wine. Human experiences, both good and bad, leave their marks on one's face and bearing. A few lines on the face and a few gray hairs coupled with the idiosyncrasies an actor adopts throughout life help out round out the actor's personality. So far as I'm concerned, the older a character actor gets, the firmer his position is.
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