“Why not try acting? It’s much easier.”

I’ve heard that quote attributed to both Laurence Olivier and Samuel L. Jackson, directed at Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro respectively. In Marathon Man and Jackie Brown respectively.

I have no idea which, if either, actually transpired. But I love the quote.

Making fun of “method” acting

14 thoughts on “Making fun of “method” acting

  • April 1, 2005 at 3:24 pm
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    I’d heard this years before Jackie Brown was made, attributed to Laurence Olivier directed at Dustin Hoffman.

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  • April 1, 2005 at 3:31 pm
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    The story is, for a scene in which his character has been up all night running for his life, Hoffman showed up on-set disheveled, bleary, exhausted and sweaty, having stayed up all night and run himself ragged around the Central Park reservoir first thing in the morning. Olivier disembarked from his limousine from the Plaza, took one look at him, and said the line in question.

    William Goldman, who ought to know, claims the story is apocryphal, but I like to think it happened.

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  • April 1, 2005 at 3:33 pm
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    What? Quentin Taratino rips off items from forgotten movies? What a shock.

    I think I was acting when I wrote that previous sentence, I’m not sure. Did I nail it? C’mon, I need reaffirmation. I did great, didn’t I? Was I convincing? And I looked good, right? A little sexy, even? I’ll be in my trailer if you need me.

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  • April 1, 2005 at 3:35 pm
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    I knew the scenes from each film that were supposed to have prompted the comment in each case, but I hadn’t heard the William Goldman claim. Interesting.

    I also wonder if Jackson heard the story enough times and really did decide to try the line out on De Niro. 🙂

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  • April 1, 2005 at 3:37 pm
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    No, it wasn’t dialogue, but an off-set comment supposedly made by one actor to another prior to shooting the scene.

    But hey, you looked great, babe. Love the hair. Have you lost weight?

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  • April 1, 2005 at 3:37 pm
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    Wondered about that. Cool.

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  • April 1, 2005 at 3:44 pm
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    Thanks for noticing! And have seen the crow’s feet lately? No? That’s cause they’re gone! I’ll refer, he’s totally the best.

    Belch.

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  • April 1, 2005 at 4:29 pm
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    Yes. Dustin Hoffman has quite the reputation in Hollywood as a method actor.

    It’s a little known fact that when he played Ratso Rizzo in “Midnight Cowboy”, during the final scene on the bus he actually died from pneumonia.

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  • April 1, 2005 at 4:37 pm
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    I’m *so* very glad I’ve learned never to read anything you’ve written until I’ve put the beverage down. :):):)

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  • April 1, 2005 at 4:43 pm
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    Wow. I knew he was good, but that’s really good.

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  • April 1, 2005 at 4:53 pm
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    *curtsies*

    We aims to please. 🙂

    Especially today. 🙂

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  • April 1, 2005 at 4:58 pm
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    The performance got him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. 🙂

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  • April 1, 2005 at 7:05 pm
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    That pretty much matched the context I heard for it, but the way I heard the line ran was, “Have you tried acting, dear boy?”

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  • April 2, 2005 at 11:47 am
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    What a coincidence. Yesterday, I read the 20 Questions with Dustin Hoffman in the December 2004 issue of Playboy in which the interviewer asks him about this very bit of trivia. Hoffman’s answer: “The story originated, if my memory serves me correctly, in Time magazine. They made a better story, altering it to give it the kind of irony they wanted. I was shooting in New York and Olivier was in Los Angeles, and we were away from each other for a few days. I came back to L.A. and told him there was hardly any dialogue in a scene I had to shoot on a certain day. I was supposed to be exhausted from running away from him for three days, so I said I’d stayed up all night for a couple of days and I winked at him. I was kidding. It was the days of Studio 54, and it was my way of saying I’d partied all weekend. We laughed about it. He said something like, ‘Well, why don’t you try acting next time.; It was fun.”

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