Acting - personal qualities, the psychology of creativity - p......---

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A testimonial about
the acting blog:
The Inner Actor

The Inner Actor is a valuable source of wisdom and information for actors at all levels of the business.

It is an invaluable resource for those seeking the skills, truths, and practicalities of making a living in the world of art and entertainment.

It should be bookmarked on the computer of any actor who continues to develop -- hopefully all of us.

Harry Lennix

> his credits include Ray; two Matrix films; The Human Stain; Titus and others

The trick is to stay in the game. Perseverance is everything, at the end of the day. Just be ready when the time comes round. It WILL come round. I believe that.

That's why it's important to challenge yourself. To study. To do the great pieces of dramatic and comedic literature. It gives you a basis. A way of working.

So that the point of departure for an intelligent and intuitive actor is farther along. The important thing is to do the work. Stay sharp. Stay working, or in class, or watching, or studying actors that you like. Know what it is that you like. Copy it. Understand it.

It's like Cannonball Adderly said about Jazz: Imitate, integrate, innovate.

Harry Lennix - from his article on "Titus"

His official site is

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Lily Tomlin on identity

'"I don't think I'm a movie star," Lily Tomlin says. "I'm a star who's in movies."

She has maintained a consistently high profile for more than three decades by diversifying.

Over the past decade or so, she has alternated recurring roles on "Murphy Brown" and "The West Wing" with regular appearances on stages across the country. A 2000 revival of Tomlin and Wagner's "The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe" played on Broadway and across the country.

The Sacramento Bee, Jun 6, 2006, posted on
> photo from "A Prairie Home Companion"

> related page:
self-esteem / self concept

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Growing up, I wanted desperately to please, to be a good girl. I wanted acceptance. I still do...

A part of me desired fame because I associated it with love. That was a total mistake.

Fame doesn’t end loneliness. ... Fame seemed to offer protection and the possibility of deep acceptance. ... 
I chose a public role, and it’s illusory to think that fame immunizes you from rejection.. you can still feel invalid and unloved.

The point of acting is to share, to connect. That’s why I act. Acting is the greatest answer to my loneliness that I have found.

Claire Danes .. [Parade, Oct 2 2005]
photo from Shopgirl (2005)

> related topics :
fame / celebrity...existential dread

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To have that concentration to act well is like lugging things up staircases in your brain.

I think that's a thing people don't understand. It is that exhausting.

If you're doing it well, if you're concentrating the way you need to, if your will and your concentration and emotional and imagination and emotional life are all in tune, concentrated and working together in that role...
...that is just like lugging weights upstairs with your head..And I don't think that should get any easier". //

"Acting is so difficult for me that, unless the work is of a certain stature in my mind, unless I reach the expectations I have of myself, I'm unhappy.

Philip Seymour Hoffman .. [ bio]
> photo from poster for Capote (2005)

> related topic :  perfectionism

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But I don't think it helps to be thought of as a scene-stealer. That's not comforting for the other actors.

They think, 'Well, I don't want to work with him. Go steal from someone else.'

So I'm never going into a movie thinking that I want to grab the attention. Quite the opposite: I give that stuff away, because I'm wanting to make the best whole piece. 
I want to look back at my resume and think, 'That was a great movie,' not, 'Oh, those four movies were shit, but I was good in them.'

I want to be a part of great things.

Don Cheadle [ bio - photo : with Sophie Okonedo in "Hotel Rwanda"]

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Rachel Griffiths once said to [fellow actor] Bill Hunter, in a bout of insecurity, on the set of Muriel's Wedding (1994), "I'm kinda waiting for them to find out that I can't act." 

He encouraged her with the reply, "Rachel, I've been waiting 40 years, and they never find out!"...[]

Rachel Griffiths won the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actress 
in a Supporting Role for Muriel's Wedding

> related page: impostor syndrome

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With music I get to feel real ownership with what I do. I write it, I perform it and even if it is crap, it is mine. With acting, you are a small part of the creative process, and sometimes it is hard to feel like you are making an impact.
John Cho .. [ bio - photo: Amy Graves/WireImage]

> related topic :  collaboration

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Especially living in a city, you kind of close yourself off to a lot of things, and walk with a tunnel vision to where you need to go..

and when I step back and look at the people next to me, and kind of feel them and understand them, listen to what they're saying...

... it's helpful to me because I can really draw from those people when it comes to acting and finding a character.

There are so many wonderful things to learn from the people around you.

Bridgette Wilson - from interview on making Mortal Kombat - see interviews page

> photo from “Shopgirl” (Oct 2005) site
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It's the sense of touch. In any real city, you walk, you know? You brush past people, people bump into you. In LA, nobody touches you. We're always behind this metal and glass. I think we miss that touch so much, that we crash into each other, just so we can feel something.

Det. Graham Waters [Don Cheadle] - Crash (2004) [DVD]

> photo: Thandie Newton and Matt Dillon in the film

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A lot of your career as an actor is having a rich life, going out and having experiences that are real so you have something to draw on. If you're constantly in the cycle of work, work, work - it's really hard to grow. Actors and actresses that take time off to lead interesting lives are much more interesting to watch.

Robin Tunney - from interview on making "The Craft"
> photo: with Cole Hauser in "Paparazzi" (2004)

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And it was kind of like you'd spilled your guts and had nothing else, and he'd say, "Okay, do that again." I've never felt that exposed, and I think that's what every actor is ultimately after - to be completely exposed and raw.

Rachel Weisz- about being directed by Darren Aronofsky in The Fountain
[Interview, Sep 2005 // photo from "The Constant Gardener"]

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The inner me is still the same person today as then [the early 1950s].

I never thought at that time that I was going to be part of Hollywood... But I always had a sense of destiny...

I was always thinking, "How can I do something of worth? How can I communicate deeply and meaningfully to a lot of people?"

Hollywood seemed the farthest thing from me, because my interest was in art, in painting. It was never the money, the fame I was after, but meaning.

Kim Novak .. [Hollywood Life, July/Aug 2005]

> on the set of "Vertigo" Oct. 12 1957 -
photo by Richard Miller

> related quote: "Creators have trouble maintaining meaning. Creating is one of the ways they make life feel meaningful. Not creating is depressing." - from book: The Van Gogh Blues
by Eric Maisel, PhD

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I wanted to go deeper inside myself [about taking a self-imposed hiatus], and I did meditation retreats and yoga, and made real connections with people who were liking me for who I was as a human being... I came out with a real fearlessness and a joy for what I do. ...

I know that place of being an actor and wishing and wanting for things to happen for you, but the truth is that it happens inside.

Daphne Zuniga .. [LA Times/TV Times Aug 7-13 2005]
> Torrey DeVitto, Daphne Zuniga, Sarah Foret in TV series "Beautiful People"

> related topics :

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Lisa Kudrow plays Valerie Cherish on "The Comeback" on HBO - "a faded former sitcom star.. desperate to revive her career..."

"The tragedy," says Kudrow, "is that this woman needs something, and has expectations, that cannot be fully realized. And to keep herself in such an unforgiving environment, she goes back and forth between being really strong, and stupid about what her priorities are."

> related topics :  self-esteem....self-limiting

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I worked so much in my 20s and I really burnt the candle at both ends.

I wasn't too picky about what I did and I was lucky that I did some really good films, but I also did some really rubbish films.

I think part of the downside about being so successful and winning the Oscar at the age of 26 is that I sort of became insouciant about the things that I chose.

I thought "Oh, I'll just try this, it'll be fun or I'll do that for the money..." Things like that now I would absolutely never do. ///

The work gets more difficult as you get older. You learn more and you gather more experiences, there is deeper pain and higher highs.

Gwyneth Paltrow .. [ bio] /
photo: as Sylvia Plath in "Sylvia"

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It's like what was said in [the book] "The Alchemist" - "When you seek out your own personal legend, the universe conspires to help you along the way." And maybe that's what's the cause of all of this right now.

Terrence Howard - about his success with "Hustle & Flow"

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It's a strenuous job every day of your life to live up to the way you look on the screen.

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Except when I am working on a set, I have all the inhibitions and shyness of the bashful, backward child... Unless I have something very much in common with a person, I am lost. I am swallowed up in my own silence.

Jean Arthur (1900-1991) []

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Thandie Newton on ambition,
and life being more than film

The thing is, I really think that I'm a good actor.... So I can do something that I don't think is artistically that impressive or interesting and I still think that I'm going to be able to work again.

I don't have that kind of fear, or think that a film is going to destroy my career, because the truth is, I've got more to give.

It might be more difficult to get the next gig, but... I'm in it for the challenge, and it's never easy for me to get films because I don't do enough.

I'm not planning the right tactics. I think that you can do that, it's a real game that you can play, definitely, and you've got to do those magazine covers, get to those parties, meet and greet those people, but I just can't do it.

I don't have that incentive, and I don't have the energy for that.

I'm much more self reflective... I think it's to do with having started out really young in this business and realising early on that my happiness did not lie with the business, quite the opposite.

I had certain difficult times which I had to deal with which actually made me very skeptical about the film industry and as a result of that I looked away from it for my happiness and ended up meeting my husband.

So in a weird way it's been a really good thing because it means I use the film industry as a pleasure for work and that kind of thing and it's not a pursuit to make me feel happy in my life.

Thandie Newton - interview
by Paul Fischer, April 27th, 2005

> photo at left: with Matt Dillon in "Crash"; at right:
with Vin Diesel in "The Chronicles of Riddick"

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imageLauren Bacall on actors
in an age of mediocrity

I put my career in second place throughout both my marriages and it suffered. I don't regret it. You make choices.

If you want a good marriage, you must pay attention to that.

If you want to be independent, go ahead. You can't have it all. ///

Today, women with minuscule talent are willing to sacrifice everything for their careers. Actors today go into TV, which I don't consider has a lot to do with acting.

Jane LynchThey only think of stardom. If you photograph well, that's enough.

I have a terrible time distinguishing one from another. Girls wear their hair the same, and are much too anorexic-looking.

We live in an age of mediocrity.

Stars today are not the same stature as Bogie (Humphrey Bogart), Jimmy Cagney, Spencer Tracy, Henry Fonda and Jimmy Stewart.

Lauren Bacall .. [ 5 April 2005]

> photo at left from To Have and Have Not (1944)
AP photo by Ann Johansson

> Lauren Bacall's memoir: By Myself and Then Some

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Jane LynchJoan Allen on stage vs film

Switching from the theater world, where the words are sacred, to film, where they are decidedly not, Joan Allen found herself on sets thinking, "What are people talking about, changing the lines, are they out of their minds?"

And the technical requirements of film "just made me wild," Allen continued.

"I used to be terrified on film sets, because I didn't know how you did the technical part and got the emotional part to come together at the same time.

Jane Lynch"People are yanking at you and putting on lipstick -- how do you focus? I think it really took me five years before I understood how it all worked."

> from article A wealth of proposals for a good Wife - Joan Allen proves she's not just a faithful companion. By Lisa Rosen, Los Angeles Times, March 15, 2005

> photo at left from book Great Women of Film - by Helena Lumme, Mika Manninen

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