Friday, August 18, 2006
Actor Bruno Kirby, 57, died of leukemia today, and like so many people you don't realize how great they are until they're gone. I always thought of him as just a funny character actor, but looking back I see he's been in some great movies, like "Donnie Brasco", "When Harry Met Sally", and even "The Godfather Part 2", and he's always given a memorable performance.
So why am I posting this here? I was listening to an interview with him recorded back in the 90's and he had some great things to say about his acting process and creating characters which, of course, applies directly to animation. I suggest you listen to it too, but I'll paraphrase some things here. He said you should never play a character for the end result. For example, don't try to make a character funny or sad or frightening. Play the character honestly from his specific point of view, and hopefully this will elicit the desired response in the audience. Every character should believe in what he or she is doing, and should not act "negatively". No one wakes up in the morning and says, "I'm going to do something bad today". Instead they decide to do something that will satisfy their goals, be it love, money, power, celebrity, salvation, etc. He explains it more elegantly than I do, and it's good to keep in mind as you develop an animated performance. I don't know about you, but I'm going to be adding some of his films to my Netflix queue.