An experienced scriptwriter once told me that there are two kinds of good actors:
- the one's who are 'brainless' and empty shells and
- the one's who are mindful, thoughtful and full of deep analysis and even contradictions.
You surely will ask, like I did back then, how those two entire opposites both can be 'good actors'.
And the scriptwriter drew a deep breath and started with his further explanations, he had wanted to give us listeners all along.
The 'brainless actors' (for better usability just let us classify them so short and unkindly) are open and welcoming vessels to open up to, receive and portray the instructions given by the producer. They are not hindered by own thoughts and problems and can, without inner resistance or hindrance, mirror the directions of the producer.
Now we were really curious what the 'thoughtful actor' could reach, when the 'thoughtless actor' could already reach such an ideal degree of producer's wishes.
So the scriptwriter continued to explain:
A 'thoughtful actor' on the contrary to the other one has by far a harder way in his career.
He needs to get brain and body to act as one and has to bring the body to show what the mind thinks or wants to show.
This is a long and hard way of try and error, of refining one's skills, of observing, adjusting, assimilating and polishing each gesture, each reaction, each emotion, welcoming all depths of the human mind.
Now he had our undivided attention. What was the sense of training so hard, when the 'mindless actor' could already fulfill the wishes of the producer?
His stunning answer was:
The producer is no actor. He sees a scene with his own expectations and point of view and gives his directions in crude words, formulating his wishes as closely as he can manage.-.-*-_-_-*-.-
Only the 'thoughtful actor' can ever dream of surpassing the formulated instructions and to exceed the word and meet the expectations of the producer, reaching a stage far beyond the directions given by word, whereas the 'mindless actor' never has a chance to reach that stage.
Now, why did I tell you all this?
I am sure you are aware, that this blog normally talks about actor Richard Armitage.
He in all aspects of his acting, is a very thoughtful actor and in my view has reached this further stage of excellence.
He is able to fill his roles not only with what is expected from him and the producer can manage to put into words, but with life and breath, with reality, which makes all his characters human, understandable and opens them for the viewer to connect with them and build own imagined worlds around them.
So there are mere good actors and there are excellent actors like Richard Armitage !