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Why don't more movie and TV actors do theatre?

In old Hollywood, actors usually started out on stage before securing film roles. Now it seems like the opposite. Theatre is like the next, big scary step for an already established Hollywood actor.

Is theatre acting really different to movie acting?

by Anonymousreply 24March 25, 2023 11:30 PM

YES. Dead eyes are more noticeable on screen.

by Anonymousreply 1March 25, 2023 1:17 PM

[quote] Is theatre acting really different to movie acting?


by Anonymousreply 2March 25, 2023 1:30 PM

Huge difference.

by Anonymousreply 3March 25, 2023 1:32 PM

Film stars sell theater tickets. Casting them is often a gimmick.

by Anonymousreply 4March 25, 2023 1:47 PM

Because it's not always a smooth transition from one to the other. Look what happened to Beanie.

by Anonymousreply 5March 25, 2023 1:49 PM

Film actors usually have to do several re-takes of the same shot, from various angles. It's done over and over again until it's right. Even if they mess up 100 times, that one good shot is enough to say, "good work, great performance," then it's on to the next scene.

Stage actors have to get everything correct the first time. In front of an audience, they can't just start the scene from scratch if they mess up their lines.

by Anonymousreply 6March 25, 2023 2:47 PM

Films are shot out of sequence.

by Anonymousreply 7March 25, 2023 3:05 PM

One doesn't need to project so as to be heard in "the back of the house" when making movies; conversely, the theater is not conducive to nuance, whether of voice or face.

A film actor can forget his lines, have do-overs, maybe even ad-lib. A stage actor cannot.

And that, r7, is the one major challenge for a movie actor---to be prepared to shoot any part of the script with the character in the proper mind-set.

by Anonymousreply 8March 25, 2023 4:09 PM

What everyone else said + many TV/movie actors essentially play themselves. On TV the writers often craft the character to be more like the actor - it's just easier.

Can't do that in theater. (Usually.)

by Anonymousreply 9March 25, 2023 4:15 PM

If you're pretty and photogenic enough, the camera does most of the "acting" work for you.

Trust me.

by Anonymousreply 10March 25, 2023 4:18 PM

I want Jennifer Coolidge to play Nora in A Dolls House when Jessica Chastain leaves.

by Anonymousreply 11March 25, 2023 4:20 PM

To be somewhat overly reductive, great film acting is mostly done with the eyes / face - the most powerful film moments are usually watching someone think or react - often in close up. Great theater acting is mostly done with the body and voice - it needs to read from 30 feet away. You can be a genius at one but mediocre at the other.

by Anonymousreply 12March 25, 2023 4:29 PM

For film actors of note, live theatre is also a grand opportunity to FAIL publicly and humiliatingly (though it hasn't seemed to hurt their film/TV careers at all).

Just a few examples: Michelle Pfeiffer, Julia Roberts, and Bruce Willis all received some brutally bad reviews doing stage plays in NYC. Back in the late 80s, Pfeiffer appeared in a Shakespeare in the Park production. Her notices were so bad that they sent her back to acting school (where she actually became a much better film actress).

Recently, Katie Holmes received the weakest reviews in the cast for a new play she's doing. She'll be fine, I think.

by Anonymousreply 13March 25, 2023 4:35 PM

The nature of the medium also applies to the performance - theater is one (or 2 / 3) long unbroken “moment” that modulates in real time. Film is a compilation of a thousand individual moments - each hopefully perfect in its own way. The modulation is then enhanced and perfected in a long construction process.

by Anonymousreply 14March 25, 2023 4:39 PM

Stage actors can act.

by Anonymousreply 15March 25, 2023 4:41 PM

You can fuck up your lines and do 60 takes of a scene on stage. YOu have to get it right the first time.

by Anonymousreply 16March 25, 2023 4:42 PM

The editorial process is mostly centered on constructing the performances - which are surprisingly plastic. you can usually help an actor up one level; a terrible actor can be mitigated, a mediocre actor made competent, and a talented actor can really amaze.

by Anonymousreply 17March 25, 2023 4:48 PM

R16, I think you edited incorrectly!

In respect to the eyes, r12, the two most expressive actors I can think of are Dirk Bogarde and Patrick McGoohan.

by Anonymousreply 18March 25, 2023 4:51 PM

Bruce Willis started on the stage but was away for far too long and by the time he came back he had lost whatever stage technique he had. Making movies made him lazy.

by Anonymousreply 19March 25, 2023 4:53 PM

Jessica Lange had a hard time on stage at first. A friend saw her in her first Streetcar and said her performance was all for-the-camera.

by Anonymousreply 20March 25, 2023 4:56 PM

There once was a class of UK actors who excelled in both realms: Gielgud; Olivier; Burton; McKellen; Richardson.

Also, having seen on Broadway Ralph Fiennes as Hamlet and Ian McShane as Max in "The Homecoming," I would be inclined to include them in the list.

by Anonymousreply 21March 25, 2023 5:03 PM

R21 Here, having forgotten to mention the great Paul Scofield.

by Anonymousreply 22March 25, 2023 5:05 PM

Sarah Bernhardt and Marilyn Miller were my faves.

by Anonymousreply 23March 25, 2023 11:28 PM

Because many stage actors are not social media instawhores. They care about the craft and not how many likes they get on Instagram.

by Anonymousreply 24March 25, 2023 11:30 PM
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