Silly acting problem

Well… if I recall correctly, Henry was an overweight womaniser and Anne Boleyn was a beauty… provided each satisfies that description… in my mind’s eye… I don’t care what they are in real life… (and that includes colour/gender)

But of course before ‘woke’ whatever that is, there was this divergence of thespian approaches. I’m sure many SFers are familiar with the following, but I apologise for not being able to find an audio recording of Olivier’s put down . Nevertheless, love Oliver’s ‘My dear boy…’

‘Dustin Hoffman has long been known as one of method acting’s most earnest exponents. A showbiz story involves his collaboration with Laurence Olivier on the 1976 film Marathon Man. Upon being asked by his co-star how a previous scene had gone, one in which Hoffmann’s character had supposedly stayed up for three days, Hoffmann admitted that he too had not slept for 72 hours to achieve emotional verisimilitude. “My dear boy,” replied Olivier smoothly, “why don’t you just try acting?”’


Theatre tends to be fiction though Mark so the race, age or even sex of the actors is irrelevant.

Surely most commercial cinema is also fiction. There are comparatively few documentaries released on the cinema circuit.

Of course they make up the majority of the output but for big historical dramas accuracy is key surely?

Laurence Olivier had to start somewhere… he used to observe, closely… and had a good memory.

His “put down” to Dustin Hoffman was unnecessary… possibly he thought it would be taken as jesting… but (to me, at least) it smacks of bullying and perhaps he felt threatened by a talented younger actor… :wink:

I think you might be conflating the two halves of that sentence in a way that might not have been intended. He rightly or wrongly uses non jewish actors. The film doesn’t get to grips with the antisemitism Oppenheimer faced.

But it’s still fiction and the cinema is still primarily visual, whereas what I was arguing above, is that in the theatre the well-played role is more readily able to transcend appearances because in that medioum, the spoken word is more powerful.


Surely the choice of actor must be down to whether they can convincingly carry the part. Remi Malek did a good job as Freddie Mercury, but could he play Michael Jackson? Or Elton John? Idris Elba was mooted as a potential future James Bond - would he be a convincing replacement for Sean Connery and Daniel Craig?

There’s room for both method acting and ‘just’ acting, but they need to be in the right place for the degree of believability required in the film or play. And that may change according to the eyes viewing.

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To be fair to Olivier, Hoffman was a different type of actor at the start of his career and I’d like to think the comment (if true) was said in jest.


It might not have been intended but the critic is a professional writer, and for me the problematic part is the first clause. It doesn’t need to be there, all the other points could have been valid without that. If he was confident in his audience he either didn’t need to make that point, or could have made it more strongly - instead comes across as wishy-washy (a pantomime character who should only be played by a third generation Cantonese person)

Oh yes, so anyone playing eg Macbeth will need to be an actual general -cum-murderer, regicide etc etc

What I said about actresses playing people’s mothers is because in films you often get someone acting the part of the mother of someone 5 or 10 years younger at most. Never happens with male actors, strangely enough :thinking:


I think the idea originated with actors of various minority groups finding it difficult to get work.

The obvious question, developing @DrMarkH point, is which characteristic(s) need to match. Sexuality? Religion? Colour? Nationality? Disability? Politics? Vegetarianism?

I think it’s absurd - and quite arrogant - to suggest that anyone should choose which characteristics matter and which don’t.

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I was interested to see if the Ghostbusters 2016 remake with an all-female leading cast was more or less successful than the 1984 original. Apparently Sony lost $80 million.

Reading around, there’s comments on a sexist backlash, Paul Feig the director thought it was released at a bad time because of negative feelings towards Hillary Clinton and 2 terms of Obama. I think it was just badly cast for the roles required, and watching it was an uncomfortable experience to the point where I didn’t complete the movie (that was true for GB 2 as well, with the original male leads, but that movie did suck badly).

The core issue with that film was one of legacy. A couple of generations had waited 30 years for Bill Murray as Peter Venkman, Harold Ramis as Egon Spengler etc etc. It is such a special place in the youth of so many people, and they’d waited so long for another film, that any kind of reboot was almost doomed, which all involved should have realised. They clearly realised afterwards as the one a couple of years ago was entirely centred around them, despite not being a film about them :joy: It obviously worked since there’s a sequel meant to be out in December. But to come back to your point, I cringed with all the takes about it being a flop because of sexism, it was entirely about them not delivering the product audiences needed. If they’d done that film now, and taken more time to ‘hand over the reins’, I think it could work.

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The actor should match historical figures or the source material if based on established fiction.

In the telling of a new story in a fictional/alternate universe such as Bridgerton, you can have whomever playing whatever.


People hated it because it deliberately took a great big bowel movement all over a beloved story and characters. See what Marvel, Disney and Netflix are currently doing to Star Wars, the MCU, Lord Of The Rings and Indiana Jones franchises for more of the same.

It being as funny as a wet Wednesday in Slough with un-engaging actors, an plot everyone forgot 30 seconds after seeing the film and Poundland quality CGI didn’t help.

I get the feeling you weren’t so keen on it? :thinking:


I love watching something… then realizing possibly halfway through … good gracious… isn’t that so-and-so from “whatever film/tv”…

Sign of a good actor/actress is when one doesn’t immediately say… Oh, that’s him/her… one is too absorbed by the storyline and presentation… :wink: … well that’s my view.