Casting Imagination : “What do you need to see?”

“Let us leave pretty women to men with no imagination.”, said Proust. , a little quote that made me smile, thus I posted it in my last Chronicle.

 

Yesterday I found and read a Stanley Kubrick interview. He was told : “In all your castings choices, the most surprising is Ryan O’Neal in Barry Lyndon. Suddenly, everybody realized : “Oh, well : he’s a good actor”.”

And indeed, one needed imagination to cast O’Neal in this role. It’s so disturbing to see this Californian former boxer playing this 18th-century Irish opportunist! And the film is gorgeous.

I think of a similar pattern in another movie : when Visconti casted Burt Lancaster – former acrobat, pirate or cow-boy actor –  to play a Sicily Prince in The Leopard!

 

Proust, Kubrick, Visconti : it’s the story of imagination. And it’s probably a little tool, right?

If you have to hire people and build a team, do you pick “the best” from all logical reasons, or to you think it’d be cool or useful to have some… imagination?

This could lead to other articles, right? What brings someone who has no experience, or not in this “field”? Why would we need sometimes to look “not under the light”, but elsewhere too?

It becomes one question :

What do you need to see… to see that other people don’t see?

 

Have a nice day!

 

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Thank you Elia Kazan

Elia Kazan (1909 – 2003) was a Greek-American director, producer, writer and actor, described by The New York Times as “one of the most honored and influential directors in Broadway and Hollywood history”.

His autobiography, “A Life”, is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Smart, fast, generous, complex, it made me study his films, Marlon Brando, McCarthyism, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, the “Methods” in acting, New York vs Los Angeles, the crisis of 1929, what it is to be a director, a migrant, etc…

Kazan is a controversial personality because he gave testimony before before the “House Committee on Un-American Activities”, and you can see an example on YouTube when he got an honorary Oscar at 90 years old, a few actors refused to applause him.

So, you could study this interesting struggle between what is quick-easy to judge as a “mistake”, and the huge talent of this man. I read his own book (he explains himself in many pages), I watched “On the Waterfront”, and I understood. It was like a relief…

I’m thankful today because he made me understand many aspects of the American culture, he whetted my curiosity on many other artists. I read the Arthur Miller’s autobiography just after Kazan’s book, and watched many movies adapted from Tennessee Williams (Kazan directed A Tramway Named Desire on stage and as a movie, both with Brando).

A book, and a year long travel, around this, in fact : “What is it to be a standing man?”. Thanks, mister!

 

Thanks for reading!

 

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