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Old June 13th, 2006, 08:23 PM   #1
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What to do with obstinate actors

What do you do on the set when an actor feels unable to say his lines as they are in the script or otherwise take direction because he thinks it does not agree with the character?
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Old June 13th, 2006, 10:04 PM   #2
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I think this is secretly why Stage productions had understudies. When the talent gets too uppity, they *can* be replaced :)

More practicle, would be to check out the actor's resumes, by contacting their former directors. If you have a troublesome primadonna trying for a part, you can choose more wisely. It's better to know before you invest the time with the wrong people.
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Old June 13th, 2006, 10:45 PM   #3
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Have them give you one your way and then they get one or two takes their way...generally actors (real ones who study and work on their craft) will appreciate both the need to get your vision of the part and your willingness to let them explore the character. If they get too upitty, ask them to leave and recast...you'll lose days, but if you can get a good actor to replace them, then it may be worth the bother.

As the director, you are the captain of the ship. If you make the direction of the scene known confidently, you shouldn't get much resistance. Listen to alternatives, weigh them and accept them if they are legitimate...but in the manner specified above. Generally, the primadonna upity actors are more into them selves than their craft, it is a sign of a lack of confidence in themselves.

Perhaps you can ask them politely if they are able to fulfill their role in the production...ask them honestly and directly. If you walk on eggshells with them, it will support their behavior.
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Old June 14th, 2006, 11:56 PM   #4
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shoot their worst side
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Old June 15th, 2006, 12:59 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riley Harmon
shoot their worst side
Or, just shoot them. Actually, any actor who was professional, would have thoroughly read and considered all aspects of the part, before rehearsals and shooting started and would have discussed any disagreements prior to that.
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Old June 15th, 2006, 09:57 AM   #6
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Yeh, this should never be an issue if you have prepared adequately, in terms of auditioning and researching actors, script reviews, rehearsing. Production is production, it should just be a matter of getting in there and getting it on tape at that point. There shouldn't be any surprises once on set.

However, I like the suggestion to let them do it their way, after you get what you need on tape. You do have to be open-minded, and you never know how it'll turn out in the edit, you may need those exact takes the actor brought to the table.
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Old June 15th, 2006, 10:19 AM   #7
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That was what I said to the actor: "We already have your version in the can, so let me do it my way so I can have options in the editing room."

The more I think about it, the more it seems like the problem was one of trust. The actor was worried that I would capture and use a take in which he perceived himself to be overacting, so he held back. Second-guessing the director is unhealthy.
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