August 7, 2009

Actors are wonderful when they are naked.

When actors just talk, without all the habitual spiral of bullshit that usually encircles them, like a dense cloud, while on their various promo tours and appearances on talk shows and red carpet vanity fairs, that is like a glass of ice cold water on a hot summer day. I can't abide "entertainment" reporters anymore. Just can't.

This man is in a category of his own. No, not talking about Johnny Depp, although he´s pretty cool too.

I only just discovered the work of James Lipton while doing my tip of the iceberg research on the Proust Questionnaire. Below is a compilation of what he has done over the past years. Included in the homage is his producing of Jimmy Carter´s inaugural celebrations gala (which was rather awful but we'll bypass that for the good stuff)

What fascinates me about Mr. Lipton´s "Inside the Actors Studio" is the fact that we are privy to an event involving actors. Not celebrities.  Just the pure craft of acting is here, and the person behind that craft, the person practicing that craft.

Pure. Simply presented. Two chairs. Two people on a stage. Like a DIY show, or a cooking show. We witness people. A respectful insightful repartee. Without all the cotton candy woven around the promoting of next potential blockbuster fare. Instead of a gloss of gold over shit, we just see the shit. Which is good. I mean, really, truly refreshing.

James Lipton: (addressing his guest,Gene Wilder) you said once about your comedic intention: "I want an explosion of laughter on one side and Chopin on the other"
Gene Wilder: "Oh my God, I was so full of shit" (proceeds to tear up James Lipton´s notes.
James Lipton: (addressing Susan Sarandon) "Whats the difference between stage and film?"
Susan Sarandon: "Its kind of like making love and masturbating"

the enchantment of honest speech. James Lipton deserved his Emmy.

For more fresh air fare ie cutting through most of the crap on the film/entertainment business, I highly recommend these shows (all available as podcasts)

KCRW The Business hosted by Kim Masters, who also writes for the Daily Beast
KCRW The Treatment
NPR Fresh Air hosted by Terry Gross

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