In earlier blogs I mentioned Steve Buscemi as being a highly respected and successful actor, but his focus was never obtaining runway status (that I know of). The serious actor finds him/herself perturbed when professionals discuss acting in the same venue as modeling, so to those of you who are passionate about the craft of acting I extend my sincere thanks for hanging through the model discussions. Keep in mind, however, that when you do hit it big, you’ll be wishing you had taken notes from these talented models because every successful actor is photographed and has to learn to work the still camera just as well!
So what are the actor’s options? There are two basic categories of actors – the leading man/woman and the character actor. A leading man would be George Clooney (a woman would be Jennifer Garner) while an example of a character actor is Michael Cera or Angela Landsbury.
The leading man/The leading woman. There are only a few roles out there for this type of actor. Think about it – in each movie or television series you watch, there are only one or two (maybe a small hand-full) of main characters. These are the LEADS. They are generally the love interest or seated around the dramatic climax in the plot. Due to that fact, they tend to be the more physically attractive actors. Since most talent vie to keep a healthy appearance and crave the most dialogue possible, they find themselves sparring for the LEAD roles. This means they are trying to market themselves as the leading man/woman. If you fit the mold of a leading man/woman, read the notes to models in prior blogs about the importance of muscle tone, skin, teeth, and overall health. These attributes are equally important to the actor!
A flip side to this basic talent philosophy is Charlize Theron, who was characterized as a leading woman by the industry. To maximize her exposure and opportunity, however, she learned to play character roles (e.g., see this example in the movie, “Monster”).
The character actor. This actor brings the substance of quality that we look for in the leading actor, but has substantially more opportunity to appear on camera and frequently has a more diverse resume and skill set. The character actor plays secondary leads or bit parts. Character actors can become typecast the same as leading men/women, but it’s less likely. Almost every movie you’ve seen has a few character actors who revolve around the leading man/woman. Some character actors have been so successful and well-networked that they get offered leading man/woman roles later in their career, like Michael Cera, Robert De Niro, and Meryl Streep. The character actor gets the most opportunity to stretch his/her acting muscles and practice a developed skill set in a working environment.
My point? Who cares what you see in the mirror? In acting, there is always a place for your physical type. Embrace the opportunity and grow your network and skill set to reach your full potential!
Who is your favorite leading man or woman? Your favorite character actor?