Stand-In & Deliver: Learning from Some of the Greats

Every once in a while, you have to thank the universe for the gifts it gives you. A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to work on a new untitled project by director, Joshua Marston (Maria Full of Grace.) However, technically, I wasn’t in front of the camera. I was able to be a stand-in for none other than Kathy Bates. I’m not sure how in the world I got the call at 6:00 in the morning,  let alone how I got called in to be her stand-in. Yet, I was excited to be back in an environment I love and learn from every time I work on a film. I will be eternally grateful for the lessons I’ve learned and the observations I made during my three day work week. Honestly, it was like one big master class. I got to watch Kathy Bates, Danny Glover, Michael Shannon & Rachel Weisz work, rehearse, and just be. well, normal human beings. More importantly, I got to be a part of something that will no doubt yield wonderful performances from its cast members. I also learned more about the ins and outs of the process in three days, than I have in a long time. I was there to do a job and contribute to what they needed at the time. That pretty much sums it up about the film industry in general, you do your job for the time allotted and move on. I’m glad that i got the opportunity to work with and learn from four of the most talented actors in the business.

#BruceWillis Will Feel the #Misery on #Broadway

Apparently, Die Hard action-star Bruce Willis, will be making his Broadway debut in the stage adaptation of Stephen King’s Misery. The best-selling 1987 novel was already adapted for the screen with Kathy Bates and Jame Caan, so I’m wondering how they will adapt it, yet again, for the stage. Actress, Elizabeth Marvel (House of Cards) will step into the role of Annie Wilkes, which was originally portrayed by Bates and earned her an Academy Award. Personally,I think it would be interesting if Kathy Bates were given the chance to play her famed character onstage. I honestly think that even after twenty-five years, Bates could pull it off. Who knows? It’s still early in the process, so there might be a chance for her to win a Tony for the same role in which she won an Oscar. But, I’m interested to see what Marvel does with the role. The characters of Paul Sheldon and Annie Wilkes have become so iconic within the horror/thriller genre that I think an audience may have a tough time seeing anyone else but James Caan and Kathy Bates in those roles. The good news is, that many film-goers may not be aware of, that Willis has Off-Broadway stage experience. It’ll be very interesting to see him “back on the boards” after nearly thirty years. However, I don’t want to be too quick to assume its fate yet. We’ll just have to wait and see until the curtain goes up in the fall.

One Day I Want to Work With: Michael Shannon

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He got an Oscar nod for Revolutionary Road, starred in everything from big budget blockbusters like Man of Steel, to indie films like Take Shelter, and still finds time to get back to his theatrical roots onstage in NYC. Michael Shannon has been one of my favorite actors since I saw him in 2006’s adaptation of Tracy Letts’ play Bug. Like most actors, I have a list. My fellow actors will know it well. It’s a mental list comprised of people we dream of working with. We want to act with talented people. We want to spar with them, connect with them, act our hearts out with them. Well, he’s one of those actors. He’s on my list. Boy he’s one of those actors that just makes me go, “I want to study more. I want to get even better. I want to get to be as good as him/her.” His subtly in  Revolutionary Road was so good, that there were moments where I forgot he was playing a character.  He has a range that is hard to match nowadays and is someone who knows when to get back on the boards (the stage) and stretch his acting muscles to keep them sharp.

Everyone has someone who they want to work with. I love working with interesting actors who make me want to strive to be better. As a character actress, I love watching other character actors. I love wanting to push myself to not necessarily be like the actor I admire, but emulate the kind of intricate characteristics that make up the people they play. Michael Shannon’s performances are complex and it’s those complexities that make him a fantastic actor.  Michael Shannon, if you ever read this, I want to work with you. Seriously. We need to make this happen.