Friday 25 May 2012

Good Actors ...

Now to the story from a long time ago, which was what I really wanted to post today, before the long and sunny Pfingst-Weekend:

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 !


  1. Without a doubt, Richard Armitage indeed breathes life and breadth into his roles. ;)

    1. Thank you very much for your feedback, bccmee ;o)

  2. I like very much your explanation; there is no doubt that Richard Armitage is an excellent actor!

    1. Thank you very much! I fully agree ;o)

  3. I'm so curious what this 'thoughtful actor' could reach, where he will take us? I expect the great adventure;)

    1. I am quite curious about his future way as well, Joanna. As a non-Hobbit fan I even can't wait for "The Hobbit" to appear ;o)
      and I am looking forward to all his future steps and the adventures he will lead us into.
      I am very much enjoying our discovery tour together ;o)

  4. For me there are actors, like Brad Pitt, who, no matter the part, always play themselves. I like watching him onscreen and the man is clearly easy on the eyes, but I never fully forget, nor does his acting style allow me to, that it's Pitt playing a character.
    Then there are those who get lost in a part. There's no actor onscreen. The character is so believable that it becomes a seperate entity. RA is this type of actor. No matter the part, we believe he is who he seems to be. Kristen Stewart, bless her, could learn a thing or two from RA on how to seperate the actor from the role, instead of playing the same part (meaning herself) over and over in every single movie.

    1. @iwanttobeapinup
      Oh, I forgot the category of 'there are bad actors as well' ;o)
      With RA, I always have the feeling, a new person is on screen each time. I must actively match his roles back to RA, to get them together.
      At the beginning, I had problems, getting Guy of Gisborne into the picture, as I just thought, an actor just can't change that much. It can't really be RA ;o)
      What also fascinates me with RA is, that he changes the impression on his face and I get the feeling of what he wants to tell. Other actors could spell it or act it out and I would not get it.