There are a lot of great actors out there and a lot of them deserve a lot of praise from blogs like mine. As the OSCARs approach, I tend to think a little harder about what makes a great actor. I also tend to look back on actors that some people don’t actually understand how talented they are. This article is dedicated to giving three actors a little bit more a limelight. It’s a bit of weird list. Out of all three actors, there is only one you probably haven’t heard of. The other two you almost definitely have and one of them you probably already think is a phenomenal actor. But with all three examples, I think I can teach you something about them that makes their talents a bit more three-dimensional.
3 – STEVEN BERKOFF
I reckon most of you have no idea who Steven Berkoff is. If I list a few things he has been in, you could type his name into Google Images (or I could post a picture of him in this article – I haven’t decided how lazy I am feeling today yet). He was the villain in Rambo 2, Octopussy and the first Beverley Hills Cops. He has also been in ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ and, for some reason, Strippers Vs. Werewolves (I haven’t seen the damage his acting career suffered from that film yet). You probably never gave him a second thought. Right now, you are probably nodding in a slight approval that he is a competent actor, but you probably have no idea how talented he actually is.
What if I told you he had a whole acting school? He was actually one of the top acting practitioners I studied in school and University and was one of the greatest inspirations I have, when I act. His teachings are mainly about wearing emotions, which is why a few of his performances in the 80s and 90s were larger than life characters. On stage, he is apparently amazing, being able to portray a dog without actually running around on all fours. He just channeled the energy and happiness of a dog and the audience just got it. The ability to connect with an audience through using your emotions like carefully constructed tool is one of the greatest tricks an actor can learn.
Eventually, I kind of left the Berkoff school and went with Chekov, because that practitioner built on Berkoff’s teachings, but taught me to harness my emotions and then force them all back inside. It is a little like Berkoff’s techniques, but it makes your performance more subtle, which suits my style a little better. But the point still stands that this small time actor you occasionally see in a movie you are mildly interested in, is actually one of the biggest influences of the acting profession. Besides, I personally love telling people that my entire acting style stems from one of the characters in Beverley Hills Cops.
2 – JOSEPH GORDON LEVITT
Yeah, this entry might seem a little pointless. Everyone knows that Joseph Gordon Levitt is one of the most awesome new faces on the acting scene. He seemed to be in everything in 2012 and aced every role he was in. His latest film Don Juan is apparently awe-inspiring and Brick, one of his earlier films, is one of the finest pieces of modern Noir cinema I have seen in a long time. However, Gordon Levitt actually does a lot for the acting community, besides being awesome on the big screen. He owns a site called hitreCORD.org
Check it out, because it truly is amazing. Joseph Gordon Levitt uses this site to allow creative minds to actually show their work and then he uses his site to get them to a wider audience and producers who might be interested. The second you look at this site and see his smug, yet not arrogant, face, you know you are in good hands. Joseph Gordon Levitt genuinely is a nice guy and wants to help. If I ever hit the big time as an actor or writer, I can only hope that I stay as down to earth as Joseph Gordon Levitt. He is an inspiration for actors everywhere.
Oh, and he can also sing. Seriously, dude, stop stealing all the best talents. You’re making the rest of us look bad.
1 – ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER
We all know Arnie. We all know him as the laughably bad actor, who ruined the character of Mr. Freeze and pretty much made a living being the joke of the acting world. Sure, he is in so many classics he is definitely a star, but no one actually thought that he could be called a good actor. Predator just worked, because it was so macho and camp, which is how we think of Arnie. Total Recall needed a true action star to portray one of the bloodiest movies of that decade. He might help his movies, but I don’t think anyone has ever accused him of being talented at the acting profession.
And that is a damn shame, because he actually knows his acting theory really well. When James Cameron invited him to play the part of Kyle Reese, in some small robot movie that I cannot think of off the top of my head, he was amazed at the idea of this killer robot. However, he decided to help Cameron improve it. Right there and then, he spieled off exactly how an actor should approach the role. It was Arnold that wanted the Terminator to be monotone, rather than just merciless. He came up with the reloading a gun without even looking down at the weapon trademark. All of those little things that made the character great and iconic came from Arnold actually being a really intelligent actor. He knows the little tricks to bring out the best in a performance. It is a shame that he is trapped with an over-the-top voice and a goofy face. His mind actually knows more about acting than most of the actors in the game these days.