Late Bloomer…

Bill Pullman was 32 years old when he starred in his first film, 1986’s Ruthless People. This is, he notes, at least a decade later than most movie stars get their big break. “The term ‘late bloomer’ sounds awfully like loser, but I guess it’s what I am,” he says. “It sounds to me like a politically correct term for: ‘You’re stupid. Why did you take so long?’” …

Pullman talks in a low, laconic drawl but his eyes are bright and full of mischief. He has the air of a man quietly enjoying a joke that he’s not sharing with the class. When he’s not travelling for work, Pullman and his wife, the dancer Tamara Hurwitz, divide their time between Beachwood Canyon, Los Angeles, and a cattle ranch in Montana that he has co-owned with his brother for 30 years. Nowadays he is mostly in charge of infrastructure – fence mending, irrigation and so on – although when his three children were young they spent long summers there, during which Pullman would roll up his sleeves and muck in. “If you’re having to plug meds up the butt of some beast, a lot of other things seem very manageable,” he says…

The last few years have been mostly taken up with The Sinner, the detective series in which he plays a grizzled cop grappling with past trauma. After the success of the first season, it was recommissioned as an anthology series, with Pullman’s character as the only constant. “I was really scared signing up for it,” he admits. “I admire actors who find joy in doing eight or nine seasons of the same thing, but my mind is too crazy. I thought I’d wither on the vine. But the showrunner Derek Simonds was great and we would talk before every season about where the story would go. So I never did get bored.” …As an actor, he says, “you want it to be lively, you want to hear ideas that you haven’t heard spoken communally in a while. You want to feel that charged energy of simple entrances and exits.”

Pullman adds that he has always enjoyed the fact that when strangers approach him to say “I really like you in … ”, he can never predict what film they will say. “I have no idea whether they’re going to say Casper or Spaceballs or The Sinner. To have that variety in my work makes me feel lucky. I always wanted to be the vessel, where I could get possessed by something.”

—  Louis Wise, from “Interview with Bill Pullman: ‘In acting, you can order the world’” (The Guardian, June 21, 2022)

Riven with insecurities

dustin-hoffman

Hoffman, 78, often professes himself riven with insecurities and convinced that every job will be his last. “You don’t erase the first 10 years of your life, it stays with you, it’s imprinted … you didn’t work!” he says. “Selfishly, I feel, well, I just got in under the gun.” However, he has nothing to prove. With a catalogue of era-defining movies including The Graduate, Lenny, All the President’s Men, Straw Dogs and Tootsie, he’s one of the pre-eminent film stars of the last 50 years. While it’s doubtful that Kung Fu Panda 3, the film he’s promoting today in New York, will join The Graduate and Midnight Cowboy in the National Film Registry, it’s still a perfectly charming kids’ movie, enhanced by Hoffman’s infinitely expressive growl. […]

So who’s the best actor of all time? Hoffman doesn’t believe in the concept, but he believes in best performances. “The first one that comes to mind – he just got an Oscar, I heard – Mark Rylance. His Jerusalem, my God. I said: ‘What is that?’ When you see something that transforms everything that you’ve been doing for a living … I mean, you’re an actor but that goes beyond. He was doing something larger.” Equally stunning, says Hoffman, was Simon Russell Beale as Hamlet. “He was unkempt, he was heavy, he played him like a real loser, which I think Shakespeare wrote, and I thought he had an essence. Then it came to ‘To be or not to be’ and he came to the lip of the stage and he said: ‘To be …’”

Hoffman gets up, and just for me performs Russell Beale performing Hamlet. “And he held it until there wasn’t a person in the audience that was breathing and it was as if he had collected everyone to the very essence of what he was saying. ‘… or not to be.’ And I thought, ‘Woah.’ I got goosebumps. He still kept the iambic pentameter but it just got inside something that no-one else had done before. Great acting, I do love it.” And, he says, despite niggles – a torn rotator cuff, back injuries and waning ability to remember people’s names, he’ll be doing it for as long as he’s able.

~ Alex Needham, Dustin Hoffman: ‘I was an outsider. I came to New York and I was cleaning toilets’


Source: The Guardian

 

Do the work

mindy-kaling

She looked about fifteen, and not only out of place in that crowd but also a little young to be asking a question in front of such a big audience. I think she felt it, too, because I could see from the stage that she was shaking. After a moment of nervous silence, she asked, “Mindy, where do you get your confidence? Because I feel like I used to have it when I was younger but now I don’t.”

Context is so important. If this question had been asked by a white man, I might actually have been offended, because the subtext of it would have been completely different. When an adult white man asks me “Where do you get your confidence?” the tacit assumption behind it is: “Because you don’t look like a person who should have any confidence. You’re not white, you’re not a man, and you’re not thin or conventionally attractive. How were you able to overlook these obvious shortcomings to feel confident?” […]

For the record, I, like everyone else, have had moments when I felt unattractive and stupid and unskilled. When I started at The Office, I had zero confidence. Whenever Greg Daniels came into the room to talk to our small group of writers, I was so nervous that I would raise and lower my chair involuntarily, like a tic. Finally, weeks in, writer Mike Schur put his hand on my arm and said, gently, “You have to stop.” Years later I realized that the way I had felt during those first few months was correct. I didn’t deserve to be confident yet. I happen to believe that no one inherently deserves anything, except basic human rights. […]

Confidence is just entitlement. Entitlement has gotten a bad rap because it’s used almost exclusively for the useless children of the rich, reality TV stars, and Conrad Hilton Jr., who gets kicked off an airplane for smoking pot in the lavatory and calling people peasants or whatever. But entitlement in and of itself isn’t so bad. Entitlement is simply the belief that you deserve something. Which is great. The hard part is, you’d better make sure you deserve it. So, how did I make sure that I deserved it?

To answer that, I would like to quote from the Twitter bio of one of my favorite people, Kevin Hart. It reads: My name is Kevin Hart and I WORK HARD!!! That pretty much sums me up!!! Everybody Wants To Be Famous But Nobody Wants To Do The Work!

People talk about confidence without ever bringing up hard work. That’s a mistake. I know I sound like some dour older spinster chambermaid on Downton Abbey who has never felt a man’s touch and whose heart has turned to stone, but I don’t understand how you could have self-confidence if you don’t do the work.

I work a lot. Like, a lot a lot. I feel like I must have been watching TV as a kid and that cartoon parable about the industrious ants and the lazy grasshopper came on at a vital moment when my soft little brain was hardening, and the moral of it was imprinted on me. The result of which is that I’m usually hyper-prepared for whatever I set my mind to do, which makes me feel deserving of attention and professional success, when that’s what I’m seeking.

~ Mindy Kaling, Mindy Kaling’s Guide to Killer Confidence


Notes:

What if it rained? We didn’t care…

I’m not a Paul McCartney fan. (Could I be the only one?)

But McCartney featuring Natalie Portman, this is something special…

What if it rained?
We didn’t care
She said that someday soon
The sun was gonna shine
And she was right
This love of mine,
My Valentine


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