The Art of American Screen Acting, 1960 to Today


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SKU: 9781476676951 Categories: ,

About the Book

Modern screen acting in English is dominated by two key figures: Method acting guru Lee Strasberg—who taught the “the art of experiencing” over “the art of representing”—and English theater titan Laurence Olivier, who once said of the Method’s immersive approach, “try acting, it’s so much easier.”
This book explores in detail the work of such method actors as Al Pacino, Ellen Burstyn, Jack Nicholson and Jane Fonda, and charts the shift away from the more internally focused Strasberg-based acting of the 1970s, and towards the more “external” way of working, exemplified by the career of Meryl Streep in the 1980s.

About the Author(s)

Dan Callahan has written about film for Sight & Sound, Film Comment, Nylon, and many other publications. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Bibliographic Details

Dan Callahan
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 232
Bibliographic Info: 25 photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7695-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3596-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction: Method and Meryl 1
Jack Nicholson: Dance with the Devil 5
Warren Beatty: Take Off Your Clothes 12
Al Pacino: Darkness on the Edge of Town 17
Dustin Hoffman: Midnight of the Method 26
Robert De Niro: Born to Lose 34
Harvey Keitel: Body Artist 42
Gene Hackman: Keep It Real 46
Albert Finney: Married People 49
Anthony Hopkins: High, Wide and Handsome 53
Daniel ­Day-Lewis: In Character 60
Jeff Bridges: Straight No Chaser 65
Nick Nolte: Crucified 68
Sean Penn: By Himself 74
River Phoenix: Only Once 78
Denzel Washington: The Duke in His Domain 84
Viggo Mortensen: Set Apart 87
Christian Bale: Transparency 89
Leonardo DiCaprio: Bad Influence 92
Michael Fassbender: Angel Eyes That Old Devil Sent 95
Ben Whishaw: Diamond in the Rough 99
Jane Fonda: The Search 104
Faye Dunaway: Touched to the Quick 111
Ellen Burstyn: The Shadow Self 118
Gena Rowlands: Love Streams 124
Maggie Smith: The Acid Queen 130
Julie Christie: Darling 136
Glenda Jackson: Tension Clenching 140
Diane Keaton: In the Moment 146
Sissy Spacek: Down Home 154
Debra Winger: Feathers in a Tornado 158
Sigourney Weaver: Above It All 164
Glenn Close: Command Performances 167
Kathleen Turner: Lust for Life 170
Alfre Woodard: Wait and See 175
Judy Davis: High Anxiety 179
Emma Thompson: A Star Danced 190
Jennifer Jason Leigh: Hard Knocks 194
Julianne Moore: Lying in Wait 198
Samantha Morton: Chaos/Control 201
Patricia Clarkson: On a Dare 204
Conclusion: Chaos Theory 208
Bibliography 211
Index 213

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Anyone reading this sweeping analysis will come away with a deeper knowledge not just of styles…but a sense of what distinguishes each star. Callahan requires few words to make an observation of startling truth and clarity…Callahan has strong tastes that become more interesting and entertaining the further you read.”—Sight and Sound.