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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Talent and Technique

Please note Channing Tatum's first scene in this trailer for White House Down.  It's an excellent example of narrative, rather than dramatic acting.  Note that the first line is almost incomprehensible, and that the following lines are "indicated" inasmuch as Mr. Tatum had made a decision in advance on how to say them.  They thereby become descriptive rather than dramatic.

Channing Tatum is a very talented actor.  However, he lacks technique.  His performances have ranged from excellent to poor depending upon who directs him, whether he has an identification with the given circumstances, or a given moment, or a given character.  

There's an anecdote about Marlon Brando:  He said, "Stella Adler taught me everything I know," and Stella Adler said, "He knew it before he came to me."  I think they're both right.  Brando was what I call a natural actor.  He understood the craft by instinct.  Sometimes it's called genius.  Nevertheless, he learned a technique from Adler that he was able to use in every performance, in every genre, from Julius Caesar to Guys and Dolls.  There's no substitute for technique -- not even genius.

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