Twitter Twatter: You're An Acter. Act.
Recently on wowOwow, the query was posed, "Is it fair for us to hold actors up as role models?" Well. Let's see. Just in this past week, Lindsay Lohan has begged to be taken seriously as an actor, and Madonna has lectured her daughter to be true to herself, while if what is true about Madonna lately is that she is running around with a man much younger than herself and has asked her assistant to go to Malawi to pick a new baby; an appropriate baby that would "fit in." Sorta a "I hope it matches the drapes kinda thing." Role model for what, I query.
I just finished a biography about Marlon Brando, Somebody: the Reckless Life and Remarkable Career of Marlon Brando by Stefan Kanfer. Brando would have done better focusing on his craft, rather than belittling his talent (being an actor is like being a butcher,) while demanding justice for (fill in the blank.) The Native-American? He sent one up to make his acceptance speech for his Oscar win in The Godfather. Full buckskin regalia, too. Only it turned out she wasn't really what she said she was. Same with Wife Number One: Anna Kashfi, given to wearing sari's and nose rings (even at their wedding,) only it turned out she was really Joan O'Callaghan. Didn't he check under the carpet? Weren't the freckles a give away? "Freckle? I thought that was a bindi spot."
"Washington is no place for a good actor. The competition from bad actors is too great." ~~ Fred Allen
I have to relay one moment from the book. In the film The Young Lions, where Brando plays an overly blonde Nazi, he fought with the director (Edward Dmytyrk,) and at one point in the script he wanted to have his character, Christian Diestl, make a speech about racial inequality in America and the Scottsboro boys. When he also suggested that Christian (in his death scene) wind up twisted in barbed wire and arms extended like a wounded Christ, co-star Montgomery Clift said, "If Marlon's allowed to do that, I'll walk off the picture." Brando didn’t. Instead he died in a muddy pool of water, and lay there so long, technicians came running up to make sure he wasn't truly dead. Now that's acting. Playing a Nazi with a British accent? Uh.....not so good.
"Remind me to tell you about the time I looked into the heart of an artichoke."
Not that we can't learn life lessons from the movies. To quote from the most quotable movie of all time; George Sanders as Addison DeWitt in All About Eve (speaking of the Marilyn Monroe character as an "actress,") "Miss Casswell is an actress, a graduate of the Copacabana School of Dramatic Art."
That pretty well sums it up. Learn your lines. Learn your fellow actor's lines, while you're at it. Show up on time. Do your work. Go home. I think Robert Mitchum said that.
"I kept the same suit for six years and the same dialogue. They just changed the title of the picture and the leading lady. "