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Old September 17 2012, 07:48 PM   #49
gblews
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Re: The Top 40 Male Film Lead Actors of all Time

gturner wrote: View Post
^ But as Clint Eastwood said in "Inside Actors Studio" about why he turned away from the camera in "The Bridges of Madison County", which everyone said would've been Oscar bait. Paraphrasing him, any actor can cry their eyes out and sob on camera. You just tell them to think of their family dog that died when they were six and they turn into a tear fountain. The skill is in knowing when not to cry, or when to hide it to shift the focus to someone else to add power to the scene.

The thing about sobbing is that it doesn't convey anything about the scene. It's so emotionally overwhelming that the only context it has is the context we can infer from knowledge of the situation that caused it. In that regard it's like uncontrollable vomiting. Give any actor a good whiff of the right odor and they'll bend over and vomit uncontrollably. You could replace them with anyone off the street and the vomiting would be the same. The acts feel emotionally powerful but the information content is scant except for saying "What just happened felt really emotionally powerful, and I'm puking now."

ETA: I guess I'm saying that a sobbing scene is a very poor way to judge an actor, because we can all do those with equal power and sincerity. Kind of like pooping a monster turd.
I once read an old interview with Steve McQueen on the subject of his acting style. He sounded quite a bit like Eastwood above. McQueen talked a lot about not doing "too much" in front of the camera -- about allowing the camera to "do the work for you".

Awareness of these principles is what has made guys like these two, Robert Mitchum, Sean Connery, and, as someone else mentioned, the up and coming Daniel Craig, so compelling to watch. None of these guys have shown much "range" but none of them need to in order to present a memorable performance on screen. They didn't, and don't, ever do "too much".

If I were some young hunky looking actor type, looking to get into to film acting, I would watch every Eastwood or McQueen movie and read every word these two have ever spoken about film acting. There are very few who have delivered more on screen than they.
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