Posted by MB on January 29, 1998 at 13:56:37:
In response to Sheep ....and some questions, written by Lynne on January 29, 1998 at 01:29:28
] Then Ang Lee instructing AR to be more subtle: this reminds me of a review I read recently of S&S in which the reviewer complained of the "too stolid" perfomance of Alan Rickman....yet, it sounds as if he were instructed to act in this way by the director. It brings me to this question: how much of an actor's performance depends on the director? If the actor/actress does not act well in a film....is it entirely their fault? How much control and responsibility for their perfomance lies with the whims of the director? Maybe someone will have some thoughts about these things....
Hi, Lynne! Thought I'd jump in here, if that's okay.
I have experience with theater, not with films, but maybe I can help with your question. In other words, I can speak from my experience but films and some professional theaters are much more about "business" than they are about "art", so...
The director is responsible for choosing the actors in the first place, and someone has said that casting is 75% of directing (which I have found to be true!). So, Lee already saw AR as Brandon and basically liked his style and technique, liked him in other movies and thought he would be good for this one. At the beginning, the director has spent so much time with the script that he/she is the "expert". During rehearsals, however, each actor becomes more familiar with his/her character and eventually feels a private connection to it. At this point, I feel that it's an equal partnership. In "original" works (films and contemporary plays) the writer is in on this collaboration, too.
Basically, the director is the boss. He/she is responsible for the big picture and for making sure that all of the elements are compatible with it. And the actors need to be able to trust the director enough to listen and follow his/her advice. At least in the professional world, any actor who argues too much is in danger of being replaced! And it's much easier to replace an actor than a director, especially late in the game.
As far as a "bad performance" goes, the fault could lie either way. Maybe the actor was completely miscast, or maybe he/she lacked the skills necessary for the role. Or maybe the actor refused to follow the director's advice. The way I usually judge it : if one actor stinks, it's the actor's fault. If most of the actors stink, it's probably the director's fault!
Hope that helps!
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