Sunday, October 11, 2009

getting the actors we deserve

In today's New York Times, Dick Cavett introduces a video of his 1980 interview with Richard Burton, in which Burton talks about his struggles with alcoholism, overcoming both positive and negative reviews, and the differences between stage and screen acting. The interview starts and ends with brilliance, with Burton beginning with an articulate meditation on what it's like to constantly struggle with addiction and ending with a delicate performance of a simple speech from Camelot.

Here's what we get: Tom Cruise on scientology.

On the other hand, somehow we've earned Colin Farrell:

And Will Smith, who sometimes sneaks in an opportunity to show his skill in between shooting aliens and beating up mutants:

And some day, sowhere, some film director will start giving women some serious roles that aren't pre-orchestrated for maximum pathos (cf. self-denigration, overcoming hardship, overcoming hardship), and we'll start seeing female actors taking opportunities to rise up to their full heights. Here's hoping somebody makes it happen before Dakota Fanning gets too old.

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