The things actors do

Posted by: Barbara

The things actors do - 10/14/11 02:02 PM

Occasionally I feel impressed by something an actor has had to learn in order to play a role believably. I don't mean frequently seen things like holding a handgun correctly, but some thing a little out of the ordinary.

For instance, Meryl Streep chopping onions in Julie and Julia. She/Julia started out the way most of us do, by slicing the onion and then cutting the slices into little squares. But then she learned to do it the way chefs do, by keeping the tip of the knife down on the chopping board and moving the handle up and down rapidly. I've tried for years to chop onions that way and could never get the hang of it. But Meryl Streep did.
Posted by: Lorna

Re: The things actors do - 10/14/11 07:11 PM

I could never do it either. But then I never practiced the way Julia did, until she had a mountain of onions on her kitchen table.
Posted by: Kay

Re: The things actors do - 10/14/11 08:20 PM

And I broke down and bought a chopper when I had a LOT of onions to chop smile
Posted by: Christopher

Re: The things actors do - 10/14/11 11:25 PM

How about George Clooney in The American? He played an assassin who took a job to build a weapon with the firepower of a submachinegun and the range of a rifle. Scenes of snipers carrying a case with a brokedown weapon in it are fairly common in movies and TV. But there are never more than five or six parts to be assembled...snap, click, and it's done. Clooney's character ordered the various things he needed, and then he put it all together...nuts, screws, trigger guard, everything. There must have been close to a hundred pieces, but Clooney never hesitated, never picked up the wrong part. And he did it in one continuous take. THAT was impressive.
Posted by: Rita

Re: The things actors do - 10/15/11 06:28 AM

I remember that scene. The camera slowly circled the table where Clooney was working, showing him from every possible angle. I don't see how they did that.
Posted by: Christopher

Re: The things actors do - 10/16/11 02:08 PM

A circular track for the camera to ride on, I suppose. I don't think we were shown the floor in that shot. Or maybe it was just one cameraman with a really steady hand. grin
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: The things actors do - 10/24/11 04:28 PM

Willem Dafoe played a counterfeiter in To Live and Die in L.A., and one extended scene showed him at work. He was very sure-handed in pouring gunk on the plates, operating the complicated machinery, picking up the right tool without hesitation, etc. It wasn't done all in one shot like Clooney's scene, because the process takes hours, maybe days. Dafoe wasn't casual, but he wasn't finicky either. He just looked like a man who had been doing the job for years.