Monday, February 28, 2011

Up Close, But Not Personal

 By pam and carol

When we know too much about an actor, do we look for “him” in every role? Can knowing too much detract from his performance? Can an actor’s celebrity overwhelm the character he is trying to portray?
“I don't think it's right that everybody knows everything about me. Who I am gets in the way of people looking innocently at the parts I play.”  -Alan Rickman
"I don't want people to know what I'm actually like. It's not good for an actor."
-Jack Nicholson
A lot of actors stay out of the spotlight for whatever reason. They lead unpublicized, normal lives when not working. Oscar winner Cate Blanchett does a film and then disappears until the next one. In contrast, Alex O’Loughlin has said that he is a private person, yet his admirers know so much about him. Just read some of the other entries in our blog. Google (or Bing) his name and you’ll find page after page of websites dedicated to him. Twitter and Facebook are conduits for information about the clothes he wears, the food he eats and, of course, his love life.
“Daniel Day Lewis is a phenomenon. He’s like an enigma, I’ve watched his performances and I can’t for the life of me work out how he transforms as he does.” –Alex O’Loughlin
Perhaps Daniel Day-Louis is the phenomenal actor he is because he is virtually unknown to the public. He comes to the screen a new person every time, and we believe him because we see no one else. If Alex were to keep to himself, not give interviews (which CBS wouldn’t allow at the moment) and maintain his anonymity, would an audience have the same perception of his acting? If we knew nothing about him, we would see the character he wants us to see. He would do the homework he always does and immerse himself in a role. There would be no Alex, to our knowledge, living in the character. 

Now, we’re not saying that Alex would be a better actor if we weren’t familiar with his personality. We’re saying that a viewer’s perception of his characters could be colored by too much knowledge of the actor. Can anyone watch “Two and a Half Men” without thinking about Charlie Sheen’s personal life? Does William Shatner play any role other than William Shatner?

A story, an actor and an audience. Each one is an absolute necessity. The story has to be interesting. The actor has to create a believable character. And the audience has to suspend reality and be willing to enter into the fantasy. That is how everyone can have the best experience. 


  1. Hmm, I know a lot more about Alex than about Daniel or anyone else mentioned. But that's because I'm a fan. I'd imagine the more avid fans of those other actors know just as much about them.

  2. In my opinion, Alex O'Loughlin routinely underestimates his own skill and/or craft. There are many people who still swear he is an American, based on multiple performances. And even some fans have difficulty meshing the apparently fun-loving Aussie of the media with his skin-crawlingly good portrayals of two disparate serial killers. And don't get me started on that mysterious kid in The Oyster Farmer. He transforms all the time but his best is yet to come...

  3. I don't know much about Harrison Ford's personal life, but he still looks and acts the same to me in every role(don't get me wrong I love his movies and think he is a great star but he does not show a great range) Alex on the other hand I have studied a bit even before I saw most of what he has done and still think he showed us a totally different character in every role he portrayed. Not one of them acted with the same mannerisms, facial expressions or body language and he even walked differently in some. (Guess what I want to say that knowing a bit about somebody's personal life does not take away from a good performance)

  4. Hi, thanks for sharing this.