In July 2021, Action On The Side ran a virtual Work Experience for Level 3 Media students. This article has been written as part of that, by Luke M.
Every year, The Hollywood Reporter runs a series of roundtables. In this roundtable, actors talk about different topics, such as Acting Styles and Techniques, Fame, Directing, Where they are in life now, and how they appreciate the career that they’ve made for themselves in this biz called show. The actors taking part in the roundtable were Ben Affleck (The Way Back), Delroy Lindo (Da 5 Bloods), Gary Oldman (Mank), John David Washington (Malcolm & Marie, Tenet), Sacha Baron Cohen (The Trial of the Chicago 7, Borat Subsequent Movie Film) and Steven Yeun (Minari).
Steven Yeun talks about how he got the role in Minari. He talks about how he felt the script was a story he wanted to tell his whole life, as he had the opportunity to portray his father's generation as a Korean national moving to America with his family to start a new life.
Stephen felt a connection with the character as the isolation (brought from Covid) allowed him to better understand and get into the character.
The film itself is described by Stephen as a very human film about humanity's understanding of each other as humans.
Ben Affleck talks about how he was attracted to the film itself and its story. He says it's easier for him to get into a project when it resonates with him. This film reminded him of how much joy it was when he started acting in the first place and how fun and exciting it can be, and how lucky he is to have the career that he does, getting to do what he takes passion in.
Throughout the zoom call, Affleck goes into more detail in how the film resonates with him as it's about a recovering alcoholic like he was himself.
Gary Oldman talks about how he likes to experiment in films with looks and disguises and how the dressing up aspect is so interesting to see and create in films just like Mank. Oldman talks about the different types of directors that you meet in the business: the one that says they love your work and would love to do a project with you but you never hear from them again; the director that said we should definitely work together, but tries to manufacture an idea of something that ends up being like a round peg in a square hole, trying to make something work that just does not fit and piece together; and then you have people like David Fincher, who picks up the phone when he feels a role is right you and will cast you for your skill rather than just casting you because it sounds good on paper - instead he creates projects with people that he truly feels would be good to work with and be able to create a great project successfully.
Conclusion: What I Learned
When actors are working on projects/films it's easier and more enjoyable for them to take when they are naturally attracted to the project itself and find themself resonating with a character which they’re playing.
Not every director/actor can create a good project just by sounding good on paper and if they try to force it.
The pandemic has helped actors and directors positively for focusing more on the characters and story that they get involved in as there are no distractions.
Directors all have their ‘thing’ - some could be experimenting with costumes/ dressing up others with aesthetics and others with loud explosions/ action scenes.
It's important for actors to remind themselves to be appreciative of their career so far and how far they've come from where they started in the business.