Whether you’re Tom Cruise or Lupita N’yongo, acting remains the same tough balancing act of scratching your own creative itch, hewing close to the director’s vision, and delivering a performance that’s interesting to an audience, all while not having any control over how your work ends up looking. Since yesterday brought an edition of Film4’s “Self Portrait” series that featured some of the greatest directors working today, it’s only right that we turn our gaze onto actors.
Lasting just under ten minutes, the “On Acting” episode of Film4’s series has rounded up some big names for its interviews (like Michael Fassbender, Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio) with actors that discuss the meaning of acting. One of the more honest and funnier responses comes from British actress Olivia Colman, who responds that she has no idea what makes acting so great but that “I really love it and I hope I can do more of it.” Some actors get a little more philosophical about their purpose, like Tom Hiddleston, when he calls his profession a sort of version of “3D anthropology or archaeology,” in that actors study and ultimately share the emotions of a multitude of people that have existed over countless centuries, and in countless emotions, with some actors even portraying non-human or extra-terrestrial characters.
This video is a wonderful look into the more philosophical and reflective side of actors that is usually ignored in most interview contexts, where actors are trying to sell their current project to an audience. Watch Film4’s “On Acting” below.