From a very young age I have had a respect for movement. In the theater world, a lot of the time as an actor, you will see breakdowns that call for actors who “move well.” I’ve always had a deep admiration for those who move well–specifically dancers–more specifically, ballet dancers. They are the epitome of grace and lightness. They exude confidence and do it all while making the hardest tasks look effortless.
Dance is not effortless. The blood, sweat, and tears that go into training, rehearsals and performances is something that needs to be respected. Most recently, I’ve realized that as someone in the arts, it is important to have an appreciation and respect for what I cannot do as an artist. I know it sounds odd, but I think that it helps me as an actor. I have had a love of dance since I was little; all while knowing that I would never be able to do something like go up en pointe or grand jete across the floor. Because of my disability, and challenges physically, I was forced to stop ballet at about 11 due to the fact that I’d be eons behind the other girls in class. Music has always been my first love. I’ve always loved classical music, and sweeping orchestral themes. I also always wanted to move around to the music. Don’t get me wrong, I still move around to music. Sometimes I look like a flailing chicken, but I move around. I only wish that for a second I could know the sensation of actually dancing around gracefully.
As a kid, I would watch ballets on tape. I would watch documentaries about dance. Mikhail Baryshnikov was the dancer of the moment when I was a kid, and I would watch the Nutcracker over and over before my parents took me to see it at the Boston Ballet almost on a yearly basis. I’ve just always thought that dance was one of the most beautiful forms of art. The body goes through so much pain and effort to produce something so exquisitely gorgeous. I have so much love and respect for dancers, painters, musicians, and any form of art that I don’t actually do. I think if we respect others art forms, we’ll have a greater understanding of our own.
Ever since the birth of drama, actors have worn costumes. In Shakespeare’s day, men dressed in drag and played women. Today, Superman vs. Batman director, Zach Snyder, released the first photo of actor Ben Affleck donning the famous bat suit. Lots of actors have played Batman. Most recently, Christian Bale played the dark knight in the Christopher Nolan films. George Clooney played the caped crusader in the now infamous box-office bomb Batman & Robin. Clooney was also famous for pointing out that the costume for his version had nipples on it. Former heartthrobs Val Kilmer and Michael Keaton also tried to save Gotham City from disaster. So, what makes Ben Affleck so different? Why are people freaking out? Is it is his famous Boston accent? Is it that Affleck playing the famous comic book hero can make a great hashtag? #Batffleck
I have a theory. In theater, when a play is originated, it has the actors who created those roles. Oftentimes, they are so iconic that it is unfathomable that other actors could do the role justice. Take Marlon Brando in Tennessee Willilams’ A Streetcar Named Desire for example. Brando took the role which he originated in Stanley Kowalski, and brought him to the big screen. Since it premiered in 1947, dozens of actors have portrayed Brando’s iconic role on stage ( i.e. Gary Sinise, Aidan Quinn, Blair Underwood, & John C. Riley) and film (Treat Williams in 1984 and Alec Baldwin in 1995 made for TV adaptations.) However, the only actor that has become synonymous with the famous “STELLA!!” line has been Brando. All of the other actors could have done damn fine jobs in the role, but it was overshadowed by one performance.
In the case of the Batman character and its portrayal on film, I think it comes down to one key point at the present moment. The current cinematic landscape has recently become over-saturated with the character–and not just Batman, Spider-man and Superman as well. Many actors have played those roles on film. There have been SO many versions, sequels and “reboots” that I think as an audience, we’re getting a little sick of the same thing over and over. Unlike the theater, where people are used to seeing different actors play the same roles in various productions, film forever encapsulates a particular character. This might make it hard for an audience to believe several different actors playing the same character. It’s been done time and time again, and it’s not all bad; it does beg the question as to whether or not so many adaptations are needed so soon after each other. Granted, they are money-makers, but I think we are sacrificing quality of the work for quantity of sales and box-office. But who knows? Batffleck’s portrayal might be the best one yet. We’ll just have to wait and see. For now, he’s just an actor wearing a costume. Oh, Did you see those biceps? Good work Ben Affleck. Good work.
The best minds in the US are tucked away in a remote town where they build futuristic inventions for the government’s benefit.
The tagline given to the show Eureka, a television series that aired from 2006-2012 doesn’t do it much justice. Although it only ran for 5 seasons on the Sci-Fi channel, it was one of the most interesting series I’ve ever come across. It blended traditional sci-fi elements of what you might see in Star Trek or Battlestar Galactica with a series like Pushing Daisies (or maybe Pushing Daisies stole some of its whimsy from Eureka, who knows.) It’s bright, colorful, and a sci-fi fanatic’s dream. Who knows if we may have an actual town in the U.S. with geniuses and a Cafe Diem? We might. You can watch the entire series streaming on Netflix. If you want to discover a great series, check it out.
*Fun side note: If you’re a fan of Orphan Black, Matt Frewer, who plays Dr. Aldous Leekie, is also on Eureka. Plus, he does a really fantastic Australian accent.