21 February 2010

the Zen of acting

Ben Kingsley was interviewed in the newspaper this week about his upcoming role in the Scorsese film "Shutter Island" and talked about how every detail of his character’s costuming is important, because if he looks down at his own shoes (even if they’re never seen by the audience) and they’re not appropriate to the character, or period, or conditions, his performance would suffer. It is an enormous investment to think through all the personal choices his character would make, but through the process, I absolutely understand that he comes to know his character, to become intimate with him, and we all benefit from the richness of his investment. He says that before every take he goes “to zero. Then I’m ready to receive all the energy of the set, the lighting, especially completely open to the other actors, uncluttered, no preconceptions, know my dialogue backwards. I find that a very gratifying and joyful way to work.” Man, I love him for saying that! Is there any better way to be in the world?

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