Long Road to Success in LA for Strasberg Student, Christoph Waltz

The Hollywood Reporter is taking notice of Strasberg Alum Christoph Waltz. Waltz has already won the prize for Best Actor at Cannes, and he is a clear front-runner for an Oscar and a bunch of other hardware this aware season.

Christoph Waltz

Former Strasberg Student Christoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds

He has been acting for a long while and shares a pretty healthy perspective that’s routed in his own sense of owning a craft. It is a trait we hope all our students carry with them – a sense of something unique that they have to offer the Industry and the World.

Waltz has been acting for a long while. A German student, he studied with us back in the day and has suddenly found his career booming after his stunning performance in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. My favorite line is, “In Europe, everybody would say, ‘Well, they just want to squeeze you like a lemon.’ Well, yeah! But, you know, if I have the juice, why shouldn’t they?”

Ha! It’s all about having the juice!

Published in: on November 13, 2009 at 11:59 am  Comments (1)  
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Method Acting Works

I was laid out with the Flu recently, and it gave me a little time to search the internet to see what is out there on Method Acting found this article written pre-Oscars, that suggests that Method Actors are more likely to win in Oscar season.

Specifically, the writer does a tally that concludes “more than 100 Oscars have been won by Method actors…..” Further, it offers the following statistic: “Since 2000, around 75 per cent of Oscar winners have been Method actors….”

I will admit to not having done the research on those numbers, but intuitively they sound about right. So does that mean that classical training (the preferred option in much of the UK and the rest of Europe) is no good? Of course not. A great actor can come from anywhere, and our work only ADDS to the technical skills that a classical training can build.

What it does suggest, though, is that the kind of connection to your work that Method Acting encourages makes for a strong bond with the audience. I mention this because some people mistakenly believe that an actor’s focus on their own reality somehow takes them away from the story and away from the audience.

In practice, we see the opposite. The more focused you are on what you are doing, the more the audience watches, understands, and connects to you and your character.

Have you ever watched a room of people with a baby crawling around? Eyes are immediately drawm to the small creature. We are fascinated. The baby couldn’t care less about us or what we are doing. It is completely immersed in its world, and we cannot pull our eyes away. That kind of focus is powerful, and it is a skill we actively build.

I once ran an audition where an actor brought her young golden retriever puppy into the theater with her. Big mistake…. The director and I could not stop watching the dog! Every time she would speak, the dog would move its head slightly or wag its tail and we were mesmerized. It led to the director suggesting that we cast the dog instead!

Concentration is the muscle that we begin to exercise in the very first class, and it leads directly to the kinds of results that move audiences.

Published in: on March 10, 2009 at 2:23 pm  Comments (5)  
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