Friday, July 08, 2011

"to breathe life into a character"

Writing for actors is a privilege and a pain. Good actors elevate the material, finding truths the writer never intended. But their process, the means by which they are able to breathe life into a character, is an infuriating mystery. Articulate actors rhapsodize about their craft. Honest ones admit not even they can explain how they do it.

That's why writing about acting is so difficult, why biographies of actors so often lapse into celebrity tell-all and about addiction, sex and other irrelevancies unrelated to the actor's talents. And no actor has had as much written about his elusive art as Marlon Brando, who was the greatest actor of his time, or the most overrated -- or both.

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