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Wayne's Recommendations of the Week

Maybe you've heard someone say "Actors don't watch TV because they're too busy making it." Any actor will tell you how jam-packed their schedule is with classes, auditions, fitness regimes, 14-hour shoots, and (sometimes) secondary jobs. But it's just as much your job to view with a critical eye what's coming out in the industry, and what has stood the test of time. Do you know what the industry trends are? Do you know which performances set a new standard for acting? Which ones launched a career or reinvigorated a fading one? With so much media available, where do you even begin to look?

Every week, Wayne curates a list of films, shows, and performances he thinks are worth examining as an actor. Everything from the classics to those just released on Netflix. And here's what we have for you today.

The Graduate

Most people talk about this movie for Dustin Hoffman's performance, but perhaps most intriguing is Anne Bancroft's work. Her characterization of Mrs. Robinson in this film launched a sexual archetype that we identify today as a "cougar," and yet she was only 35 when the film was made. As a young starlet, she worked in very traditional ingenue roles. Many Hollywood ingenues fade into obscurity as they age out of those roles--but Anne Bancroft reignited her renown by giving a Silver-screen presence to a mature, smoldering sexuality. And then she carefully selected her following roles to avoid getting type-cast as Mrs. Robinson for the rest of her career.

The Last Picture Show

Every once in a while, you get a film where the magic combination of actors makes for a film even greater than the sum of its parts. The Last Picture Show would be an example of this. A Hollywood film that has since been deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the National Film Registry, it launched several future careers. This was Cybill Shepherd's film debut, and most of her later roles would be variations of this character. It also starred a young Jeff Bridges who was cast in part because he was charming against type. Perhaps most interestingly, this movie cast several major players on Broadway (Eileen Brennan and Ben Johnson) for this film. As an actor, you may have noticed some film casting managers and producers speak disparagingly of stage actors. But in the case of the The Last Picture Show, it paid off with several Academy nominations.

I Am The Night

There are two standout performances in this show we recommend taking note of, India Eisley's and Jefferson Mays's. Interestingly enough, Jefferson Mays is another example of a Tony-award winning Broadway actor coming to the screen and making quite a splash. (For the record, the Wayne Dvorak Acting Studio has a bit of bias to believing the best actors are those trained to perform with in-the-moment honesty either on stage or on camera, and that training for both creates the most versatile actors). And India Eisley begins her performances almost in emotional pastels--she seemed at risk of remaining too bland throughout. But if you last through the slightly slow pacing of the show, you will see the girl has guts. She imbues her character with a ferocity that's less pretty and more interesting. An important distinction to help build a lasting career for young women.

Check again next week for more Hollywood film favorites that actors should know about!


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