Presentation on theme: "Is the category of cinematic form that most of us know the most about."— Presentation transcript:
1Is the category of cinematic form that most of us know the most about. ActingIs the category of cinematic form that most of usknow the most about.
2What is acting? Impersonation - pretense Embodiment (including voice) “the aspect of filmmaking over which directors have the least control” (196)Seemingly intuitive or natural, but actually calculated and contrived
3How do we distinguish between the actor and the acting?
4Four key types of actors: Actors who maintain a single persona from role to role (personality or type actors)Actors who deliberately thwart expectations (actors cast against type)Actors who are different in every role (chameleon actors)Cameo actors – those from other professions who add verisimilitude
5The more famous or ‘exposed’ an actor is, the harder the actor must work to be seen as anything but a personality actor.
6In Courage Under Fire, casting helped shape the audience’s expectations. How would you categorize these actors in the film?Denzel WashingtonMeg RyanLou Diamond PhillipsMatt Damon
7A personality actor. . . Harrison Ford “Everyman” Embattled hero Tough lonerAction hero manqué
8Personality actors are often box-office favorites, but not well-regarded for their acting ability. Clint EastwoodTom CruiseAngelina JolieJennifer AnistonKeira KnightleyJack NicholsonSeth Rogen
9An actor cast against type Charlize TheronUsually cast as a glamorous blonde beautyIn Monster (dir. Patty Jenkins, 2003) she was cast as an unattractive, street-walking prostitute and serial murderer
10Chameleons are considered the most accomplished actors because their work requires craft. They are often ordinary-looking.Robert de NiroGene HackmanPhilip Michael HoffmanLaura LinneyEdward NortonNicole KidmanWilliam H. Macy
11A chameleon actor. . . Johnny Depp Pirate Historical figure Fantasy figureAction heroMentally unbalanced brotherDrug kingpin
12A cameo actor. . .This shot from Forrest Gump includes John F. Kennedy, who died three decades before the movie was made.Sometimes a living personSometimes appears as self – or as someone elseMay or may not be creditedSometimes a historical figure (with special effects)
13Sometimes chameleon actors are so effective that they become full-time – successful - actors. Mark Wahlberg started as pop star, boy-toy, and underwear model “Marky Mark.”Has now made a serious career as actor “Mark Wahlberg.”
14Later, with Jennifer Aniston in the film “Rock Star.” Dr. Jadwin’s Film Rule #36: Taking off your clothes generally does not get you nominated for an Oscar™, but putting more clothes on might.
15Screen acting has changed over time. The first film actors used stage techniques, which were often broader and more exaggerated than we accept today (“canned theatre”; Sarah Bernhardt at right).Watch a short video of “The Great Sarah” as Queen Elizabeth I
16Acting gradually became more naturalistic as films evolved. Acting became more naturalistic during the silent-film period (Lillian Gish at right; video from Broken Blossoms)
17The development of sound had a profound effect on film acting. Early cameras were noisy and had to be encased in bulky soundproof “blimps” (see box around camera at right)This restricted the area within which actors were able to move
18Singin’ in the Rain dramatizes the transition from silent films to talkies – and the casualties.
19It celebrates a median point in film – between b/w silent films, the technicolor revolution/studio system, and present-day naturalistic films.
20Charlie Chaplin in “The Gold Rush” To get a sense of what silent movies are like, you can watch an early silent movie that is now in the public domain.Charlie Chaplin in“The Gold Rush”
21Barsam argues that in the film Applause, (1929, dir Barsam argues that in the film Applause, (1929, dir. Rouben Mamoulian), “we can almost feel the limited-range microphone boom hovering over the actors, one step beyond the use of flowerpots” (205). Check out this 29-sec. video. Do you agree?
22In the classical studio era, movie stars became prominent The movie star embodiedA studio-created image, because the actor was “owned” by the studio who had them under contractThe social and cultural assumptions of the periodA paradoxical combination of ordinariness and god-like fame and power
23The studio/star system (1930s-1960s) Gave studios complete control over actors, the power to rename, to define “type,” to determine roles, and to refuse parts.Dominated the movie industry until it collapsed in the 1960s, when movie stars became “free agents” with more independence, but less job security
24Studio acting was succeeded by method acting in the 1960s. Developed by Konstantin Stanislavsky (director of Moscow Art Theatre, 1890s onwards)Influenced the silent directors of the 1920s in Russia and USPudovkin’s book Film Acting (1935) codified Stanislavsky’s ideas.Method acting was later taught by Stella Adler, a famous acting teacher at NYC’s Actor’s Studio.
25Method acting emphasizes Natural-seeming – lifelike - actingMethod actors learn to identify with their characters and to develop “back story” and “motivation” ideasMethod actors often study real-life people to get a better sense of how to portray charactersCollaboration between actors and directors (rather than directors calling all the shots)Improvisation to enrich the film – deviating from the script when appropriateThe use of expressive objects to indicate character and convey emotion
26Method acting is still practiced, but is often combined with other styles of acting. Some directors counsel actors to “think, don’t feel”Other directors encourage actors to feel and encourage spontaneitySome actors are encouraged to invite the audience’s participation by restraining their emotions.
27Issues in castingCasting decisions traditionally reflect culturally widespread prejudices about subordinate groups – everybody but able-bodied white men.RaceGenderAgeAbility
28An expressive object we’ll see later in the course is the sled “Rosebud” in Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane.
29Another famous expressive object from Citizen Kane is a snow globe.
30How casting worksCasting professionals or agencies are hired to find appropriate actorsActors are usually represented by agents and belong to a union that ensures they are paid fairly (SAG, the Screen Actors’ Guild.)Well-known actors read scripts and negotiate with directors and producers to determine whether they are interested in a film.Less-well-known actors take screen tests. Here is an early, hilarious screen test of actors James Dean and Paul Newman.
31Types of roles include Major roles – hero, heroine, villain Minor roles (in descending importance)Character actorWalk-on or bit playerCameosAnimal and infant playersExtrasStand-ins and stunt-workers, wranglers and handlers, and body-doubles
32Styles of actingNaturalistic (method). Think of Johnny Depp as J. M. Barrie, creator of Peter Pan, in the historical film Neverland.Non-naturalistic (expressionist) – involving the alienation effect. Think of Johnny Depp in Edward Scissorhands.
33Improvisatory actingCan occur spontaneously, or be decided on as a strategy by director and actors. Or both!Barsam cites the “You talkin’ to me?” segment from Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1973) as an example. There was no scripted dialogue/monologue for this scene; De Niro – who is a famous proponent of method acting - improvised.
34Framing, composition, lighting, and the long take all affect the audience’s perception of an actor’s performance.
35Framing and composition can separate actors or keep them together in a shot.
36Here the actors are separated in the frame (in depth and in length from each other).
37Closeups can be very important. Note how, in this video clip, the filmmaker Carl Theodor Dreyer intercalates closeups of Joan of Arc and her interrogators (Barsam dicusses this sequence on 227).
38Lighting actors in particular ways helps create meaning. What are thekinds of lightingused in this shotof MarleneDietrich in the film Morocco?What mood is created by the actor/lighting combination?
39The long take (an exceptionally long single shot) encourages us to focus deeply. In this video, actors and director from Children of Men (dir. Alfonso Cuarón, 2006) discuss why the movie enlists long takes.(The clip is from the “Making of” featurette on the DVD release of the film.)
40Barsam suggests we use the following criteria to evaluate an actor’s performance: Appropriateness; naturalnessInherent thoughtfulness, emotionalityExpressive coherenceWholeness, unity
41Screening checklist: ACTING Why was this actor chosen and not another?Does the performance create a coherent, unified character?Does the actor look appropriate for the part?Does the actor’s performance convey actions, thoughts, and complexities in a way that is appropriate to the film?What elements are most distinctive about the actor’s performance?What special qualities has the actor brought to the performance?How is the actor’s performance interwoven with the filmmaker’s overall vision?Is the actor’s performance logical?To what extent do we get tricked into thinking we’re watching real life?(Barsam 235)