I think being an actor would be an enormous challenge. To be successful as an artist, you have to understand your character, get into their skin, and faithfully assume their personalities and mannerisms. Otherwise, it will just look like someone acting. On the other hand, to put bread on the table, you will need to accept jobs in movies that aren’t exactly artistic triumphs — perhaps a remake of a popular TV show, or a comic book adaptation — often wearing ridiculous get-ups.
When Kish, Russell and I went to watch Shutter Island on Saturday we saw the preview for the remake of Clash of the Titans. The original dates from the ’80s and was a Ray Harryhausen stop-motion epic starring Harry Hamlin. The remake features, among other notables, Liam Neeson as Zeus, the King of the Gods. At one point in the trailer, Zeus says “Release the Kraken,” which is an enormous, large-toothed, screeching, earthen monstrosity.
It must have been tough for Liam Neeson, so memorable in Schindler’s List and recent fare like Taken, to speak that dialogue. As he does so he is clad in some glowing, shimmering kind of armored breastplate and a cape, with long hair and a long beard. How do you decide how to say such a line as such a character? “Release the KRAKEN!” “RELEASE the Kraken!” “RELEASE THE KRAKEN!!!!” Waving hand and shrugging, “Release the Kraken.” Shatner-like: “Release . . . the Kraken.” (Shatner probably would have been a good Zeus, come to think of it.)
Neeson pulls it off, somehow, speaking the lines with a sense of weariness, indignation, and resignation, as his breastplate glows and his beard hairs flap in the breeze.