Incognito

With star turns in last year’s “Lady Bird” and the new period epic “Mary Queen of Scots,” out Dec. 7, the Irish actress Saoirse Ronan, 24, has catapulted into Hollywood’s top ranks. But she prefers to spend her off time out of the limelight: The 24-year-old’s favorite pastimes include knitting, cooking and reading history. “I don’t go to a lot of clubs because I’m busy knitting,” she jokes. “I just knit and read history books.” She laughs and shakes her head, adding, “Now nobody will want to read this interview.” …

She’s read a lot of history books to study for her roles, but she says her script choices are more emotionally than strategically driven. “It’s like a chemistry thing,” she says…She found revisiting her emotions “quite therapeutic,” she says. “It can really help get something out of your system or help you understand why you’re feeling a certain way or just be more in touch with how you’re feeling.”

That self-aware groundedness is part of what keeps her close to home in Ireland when she isn’t working. A self-described homebody, she lives outside Dublin, near where she grew up. Her father is an actor and her mother a homemaker…

She enjoys remaining incognito at the grocery store. Her relaxed attire helps. While she says her style changes all the time, she thinks she tends to dress like a “cool Scandinavian mother.” When I look at her quizzically, she describes loose, high-waisted pants and flowing shirts. “They’re not necessarily Scandinavian, but I just mean mothers who have just had a baby,” she explains. “I look a bit like a mother of one who’s gone mad in Anthropologie.”

Alexandra Wolfe, from “Saoirse Ronan Would Rather Be Knitting” – The ascendant star, now playing ‘Mary Queen of Scots,’ prefers to spend her off-time out of the limelight—and get through the grocery store incognito (wsj.com, Dec 7, 2018)

What would it look like for him, he wondered, when he wrapped things up?

Why?

It was a question that crossed Robin’s mind more often these days, now that he had put in roughly 35 years as a professional entertainer and more than 60 as a human being.

What did he still get out of doing what he was doing, and why did he feel the compulsion to keep doing it? He had already enjoyed nearly all of the accomplishments that one could hope for in his field, tasted the richest successes, won most of the major awards. Every stage of his career had been an adventure into the unknown, an improvisation in its own right, but there was truly no road map for where he was now. Everything came to an end at some point; it was a reality he accepted and confronted so often in his work, even as he tried to out-race it. What would it look like for him, he wondered, when he wrapped things up and told the crowd good night for the last time? How could it be anything other than devastating?

~ Dave Itzkoff, from Inside the Final Days of Robin Williams (Vanity Fair, May 8, 2018)


Notes: Dave Itzkoff traces the last few months of Williams’s life in this Vanity Fair excerpt from his Biography on Robin Williams titled “Robin” published on May 15, 2018.  In the months that preceded his death, Williams faced daunting challenges, both professionally and personally.

“Darkest Hour”: Oldman, Wow, the brightest light

The hours of makeup meant Oldman often arrived on set at 3 a.m. His average day, he estimates, was 19 hours long. By the time the rest of the cast and crew arrived, Oldman was already in character. “Joe never saw me as Gary for three months,” says the actor. “If you’re going to do a part like this, you can’t go in kicking and screaming about the makeup. You’ve got to surrender to it,” Oldman says. “Maybe day 45 you come in, you’re sleep deprived and you’re a bit grumpy. But the fruits of it were such that I could put myself in a frame of mind. Once it was all in, I was in it. I had a ball. My thinking was that if at 65, Churchill could take on Hitler, then I could sit in a makeup chair for three hours.”

– CBS News, from “Gary Oldman on becoming Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour

Gary Oldman, 59, won best Actor for his performance on the “Darkest Hour”, in addition to winning the honor at the Golden Globes, BAFTAs and Screen Actors Guild Awards.  If you haven’t seen the flick, it is highly recommended. He (and his make-up) are amazing…


Portraits: Gary Oldman, Winston Churchill and Oldman as Churchill (via National Post)

Tuesday Morning Wake-Up Call

“People get up, they go to work, they have their lives, but you never see the headlines say, ‘Six billion people got along rather well today.’ You’ll have the headline about the 30 people who shot each other.”

~ John Malkovich


John Gavin Malkovich, 59, was born in Christopher, Illinois.  His paternal grandparents were Croatian. He is an American actor, producer, director, and fashion designer. Over the last 30 years of his career, Malkovich has appeared in more than 70 motion pictures. For his roles in Places in the Heart and In the Line of Fire, he received Academy Award nominations. He has also appeared in critically acclaimed films such as Empire of the SunThe Killing FieldsDangerous LiaisonsOf Mice and MenBeing John Malkovich, and RED, and has produced numerous films, including Juno and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.


Image Source: m.antena.ro portrait of John Malkovich

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call: “Breaking Good”

breaking-bad-bryan-cranston

Bryan Cranston, 60, a self described “journeyman” working actor since his mid-20’s, didn’t find fame until his fifties thanks to the hit show “Breaking Bad”.  In a 60 Minutes interview with Steve Kroft titled “Breaking Good“, he tells Steve Kroft he’s seizing the moment.

Kroft: Do you believe there will be a time when people will say, “oh, not him anymore?”

Cranston: “I’m riding a wave right now and I recognize that. I want to do as much work as I can and do the best I can and when it’s all said and done, and they say get out of the water, you’re done, I want to be so exhausted, that I look forward to it.

“I don’t want anything left in the tank.”


Notes:

  • Don’t miss the full 60 Minutes segment here: “Breaking Good
  • Photo of Bryan Cranston on Breaking Bad: hit fix.com

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

 

A blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others

tatiana-maslany

By: Lili Loofbourow, The Many Faces of Tatiana Maslany:

Tatiana Maslany, the 29-year old actress, is a native of Regina, Saskatchewan. She is the leading lady on the set of “Orphan Black,” the BBC America television show that has the same star many times over. “Orphan Black,” you see, is about a group of persecuted clones, and all of them are played by Tatiana Maslany.

Despite Maslany’s reluctance, I managed to steer our conversation back to her magical quick-change act. I still wanted to know how she does it. “I think there’s something about being prepared enough that you can surrender,” she said. Then she quoted to me something the dancer Martha Graham told the choreographer Agnes de Mille in 1943.

At the time, de Mille was confused and bewildered by her sudden rise to fame, and Graham offered her words of encouragement.  […] De Mille asked Graham when she would feel satisfied, and Graham replied: “There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.” I asked Maslany what her divine dissatisfaction was. “I don’t know how I would label it right now,” she said. “I think if I looked back on this time, I’d probably see where it lived.”

Don’t miss entire NY Times Magazine article here: The Many Faces of Tatiana Maslany.


Red’s Wish. My Wish Too.

To stand at the helm of your destiny. I want that, one more time. I want to be in the Piazza del Campo in Siena. To feel the surge as 10 racehorses go thundering by. I want another meal in Paris, at L’Ambroisie, at the Place des Vosges. I want another bottle of wine. And then another. I want the warmth of a woman and a cool set of sheets. One more night of jazz at the Vanguard. I want to stand on the summits and smoke Cubans and feel the sun on my face for as long as I can. Walk on the Wall again. Climb the Tower. Ride the River. Stare at the Frescos. I want to sit in the garden and read one more good book. Most of all I want to sleep. I want to sleep like I slept when I was a boy. Give me that, just one time…

— Raymond “Red” Reddington, The Blacklist


Source: Thank you Kurt @ Cultural Offering

The Humbling

al-pacino-barry-levinson

Al Pacino and Barry Levinson on Age, Accomplishments and ‘The Humbling’:

Mr. Pacino, 74, is playing Simon Axler in The Humbling. Axler is an aging actor whose memory and stamina are failing him. He fears his opportunities are drying up and audiences no longer recognize him.

Q: “The Humbling” deals with a character who is despairing because he’s growing older and believes he’s no longer proficient at the things that defined him. Are these feelings you’ve experienced yourselves?

Al Pacino: Oh, yeah. What film is this again? [Laughter] There are professions where there are certain tools you depend on. With the actor it’s the memory, and also it’s the stamina. You can’t coast in some of these Shakespearean roles. They’re uncoastable. You can imagine the kind of panic that sets in when you realize you can’t get through this.

Q: Is a crisis of confidence like the one your character experiences unimaginable to you?

Al Pacino It’s got to be really confounding when you no longer have that appetite, I would imagine. I know about Philip Roth saying that he doesn’t write anymore and he feels good about it. There’s a kind of relief in that. But to be an actor that doesn’t want to do it anymore?


Send the elevator back down

kevin-spacey

“If you’ve done well in the business that you wanted to do well in, then it is your obligation to spend a good portion of your time sending the elevator back down.”

– Kevin Spacey

Q: What keeps you going? What get’s you up in the morning?

KS: We had dinner one night on the beach.  We decided to play a game and the game was you had to describe the most important thing in life using one word.  So we went around table. You got health, wealth, family, money. It came to John Huston and he said “Interest.” “Interest.” “Interest” that’s the most important thing in life. And I feel that is something that I have adopted. The idea of being interested in things that I don’t know rather than things that I do know. Peeling back the layer again and again of putting yourself in situations that are challenging and new, that are compelling, and ask of yourself something different than you’ve ever done before. And sometimes this means doing things that scare you and things that you’re not sure you can succeed at.

I suppose that is why I have always loved the theatre and why I love doing plays over anything else. There’s a ritual to it.  There’s also this incredible thing about it where it’s like you are walking on a tight rope. Feeling like you have nothing below you but your faith in what you are doing, your appreciation of the words and the story the author has written and your trust in your fellow company members.

Q: Do you feel that taking risks gets easier and easier over time?

[Read more…]

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