Actors and Their Roles

ACTORS AND THEIR ROLES….Eugene Volokh wonders why actors come across so badly when they talk about politics. If you’re a good actor, he says, “you should be able to play thoughtful, empathetic, and trustworthy”:

So why don’t the actors just treat this as a role? You’ve got a new gig, which requires a bit of improvising. Your character is someone people trust and like. He’s passionate but reasonable, serious but funny, compassionate but hard-headed. He’s the guy next door, who’s smart enough that his neighbors trust him, but not so full of his smarts that his neighbors loathe him. Your goal is to make the filmgoers like you, and thus like what you say. (Want more incentive? Pretend you’re trying to get the Best Actor in a Politically Persuasive Role Oscar. Can’t improvise? Heck, don’t you know any screenwriters? Have them script some lines for you.)

Here’s my uninformed guess: actors are lazy. My evidence for this is the annual Academy Awards ceremony. Every year I watch slack jawed as the famous actors who have been chosen as presenters walk onto the stage, squint discernibly at the TelePrompter, and recite their five or six lines about as well as an average fourth grader. Are they really so lazy and arrogant that they can’t be bothered to rehearse their lines for 20 minutes in order to produce a good reading?

It’s an enduring mystery, right alongside the continuing charade about the telecast being scheduled to last three hours. All part of the glamor of Hollywood, I suppose.