Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hopper Thought He Was The Best Actor ... And Then He Met James Dean

(image via allocine)

From Mean magazine, Volume 2, Issue 16, Dennis Hopper talks about starting out as an actor:

Mean: I was reading a bit about your relationship with James Dean, and there's this statement I heard, something like 'Do it, don't show it'? Is this something you applied to your acting?

Dennis Hopper: I really thought I was the best actor in America, and then I met James Dean and suddenly realized that I didn't have any kind of knowledge of what he was doing. I was trained in Shakespeare, doing line readings, and suddenly I saw somebody improvising, doing these things that weren't on the page, injecting lines, injecting emotions, injecting sounds, behaviors. I had never seen improvisation; I had never seen any of these things until I met James. One night on a chicken run I grabbed him and threw him into a car and told him 'Listen, I need to know what you're doing. What should I do?' He said, 'You just have to start doing things and not showing them.' And I said, 'Doing things and not showing them -- what does that mean?' And he said, 'Well, if you're smoking a cigarette, smoke a cigarette, don't act smoking. Live the moment-to-moment reality.' Of course he died shortly after that."

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