Feature

James Franco: Why I was a bad soap-opera actor

Even great actors are limited by the collaborative nature of what they do, writes "Eat Pray Love" star James Franco in Lapham's Quarterly

What makes a great acting performance? In an essay for Lapham's Quarterly, the actor James Franco (Spider-Man, the upcoming Eat Pray Love) writes about how "an actor is in a strange position of being the most visible component of a film with the least control over that final product." Great actors get around that by creating performances so powerful that directors have no choice but to build movies around them — Daniel Day Lewis in There Will Be Blood, for example — but, in some contexts, the actor has few defenses. When I appeared on the soap opera "General Hospital" recently, says Franco, that became obvious. An excerpt:

"It is easy to make fun of soaps, with their melodramatic plot lines, constant exposition, unnatural lighting, swelling music, and lack of action. Most of these aspects are due to the extreme speed at which soaps are produced. With five episodes a week, at least sixty pages need to be shot in a day. That’s a feature film’s worth of material shot every two days. This pace allows for very few takes, usually one....

"This isn’t to say that soap opera performers are worse than film actors, or that their performances are inferior. The soap opera performance should always be perceived in context: it involves actors working in a tradition that soap audiences have come to expect and love. Soap actors are delivering exactly what they are supposed to—they are in tune with their audience and they are not attempting to transcend it."

Read the entire article at Laphams Quarterly.

Recommended

Once-a-decade critics' poll names greatest film ever
Movie theater
we come to this place for magic

Once-a-decade critics' poll names greatest film ever

The daily gossip: December 1, 2022
Lindsay Lohan
Daily gossip

The daily gossip: December 1, 2022

GOP House Judiciary Committee deletes 'Kanye. Elon. Trump.' tweet
Kanye West embracing Donald Trump
[Redacted. Redacted. Redacted]

GOP House Judiciary Committee deletes 'Kanye. Elon. Trump.' tweet

The daily gossip: November 30, 2022
Amy Robach and TJ Holmes
Daily gossip

The daily gossip: November 30, 2022

Most Popular

World's 1st hydrogen-powered jet engine could mark turning point for aviation industry
A Rolls-Royce engine seen during an airshow.
Flying High

World's 1st hydrogen-powered jet engine could mark turning point for aviation industry

Russia asks India to send supplies as sanctions derail Moscow's economy
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Asking for Help

Russia asks India to send supplies as sanctions derail Moscow's economy

Everything to know about the storm poised to pummel the South
Tornado
Storm Watch

Everything to know about the storm poised to pummel the South