Monday, November 12, 2007

Theatuh versus the movies

“Part of what [Daniel] Day-Lewis admires so much about American movies is their lack of insistence on the kind of brilliant dialogue that characterizes much of the theater. He disparages the idea of clever talk, or the British gift for language. Day-Lewis bristled when I mentioned, admiringly, that he was so articulate. 'I am more greatly moved by people who struggle to express themselves,' he said, sounding a little misunderstood. 'Maybe it’s a middle-class British hang-up, but I prefer the abstract concept of incoherence in the face of great feeling to beautiful, full sentences that convey little emotion.'”

More from a penetrating profile of this brainy, chameleonic actor in the New York Times Sunday Magazine.

“I always find the American theater is slightly locked in the nineteenth century. Everything is psychologically based. And I've seen some really good stuff recently, but I've seen some plays that in England would have been called television drama.” -- Brian Cox, “Brian Cox Calls Out American Theater: ‘Great Television Drama’”

Mr. Cox, more known to moviegoers as Dr. Hannibal Lecter (in “Manhunter,” a role he did way before Anthony Hopkins) and William Stryker (in “X-Men 2”), has more darts to throw:

What do you think of movie actors who come to Broadway proclaiming that theater's always been their secret passion? Totally pretentious. I have a lot of problems with theater--especially in England, because the culture is very feudal. When I was a child, cinema meant so much to me. The actors who really moved me would be Spencer Tracy or James Dean or Marlon Brando or Bogart... The great thing about film is that it has a disposable element. You do it and it's done. That's a great thing to bring back to the theater, because sometimes it can get a bit precious. Just play it through, get rid of it. Don't play the grace notes, don't worry about them.”

(Interesting tidbit: “During the production of 'Manhunter,' while [Cox] was playing Hannibal Lecter, Anthony Hopkins was playing 'King Lear' on stage at the National Theatre. Years later, during the production of 'The Silence of the Lambs,' when Hopkins took over as Hannibal Lecter, Cox was playing 'King Lear' at the National Theatre.”)

Daniel Day-Lewis and Brian Cox, by the way, are both classically-trained stage actors.

P.S. Sorry, busy-busyhan. Will be my usual blathering self, uhm, maybe tomorrow?

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