“Laurence Olivier? Richard Burton? Elizabeth Taylor? Yvonne DeCarlo? These aren’t real people! You’re making them up!” Often I heard this aggravated accusation, and alike, from collegiate acting training program seniors soon to graduate as professional actors. The frustrated wails would come when playing Celebrity. (I had names of famous actors in a hat. A team leader would pull a name from the bowl and have to describe the actor by career, or otherwise, without mentioning the actor’s name to teammates who had to guess who was the actor being described.) University after university the same accusations of my creating fictional actors was hurled at me. I quickly discovered that many soon to be professional actors were ignoring who came before them at an alarming epidemic rate.
To better understand who we are, and what we desire, we must know who and what came before us.
In the first of an ongoing series Meet The Legends at Answers for Actors is featured Sir Derek Jacobi. He appears in a Q&A 2017 interview at Oxford Union. An international star, Jacobi offers actors insight on the differences and challenges an actor faces working the mediums of both stage and screen.
Knighted in 1994. Nominated for nearly every major performance award internationally. Jacobi is the winner of Emmys, the Tony Award, Laurence Olivier Award, British Academy Television awards, Screen Actors Guild Award, and a many more prestigious honors. Starting as a stage actor Jacobi was hand picked by Laurence Olivier to join England’s National Theater. He later starred often on both West End and Broadway stages. With over 150 screen credits both in the U.S. and U.K. he’s most modernly recognizable to broader audiences for his roles in Vicious, Tomb Raider, Murder on The Orient Express, and I, Claudius.
“Television makes you famous. Movies make you rich. But, the theater is what it’s all about.” – Sir Derek Jacobi
Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned over thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has taught master classes at acting programs at over two dozen universities including Hofstra, Elon, Yale, Temple, LSU, Wright State University, and Rutgers. He is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor.
For more information on Paul’s projects, visit www.PaulRussell.net.