Minerva wrote:Wow, this board has a lot of negativity for JGL. Lucky for me, I enjoy a good debate so here I am rushing to his defence (once again...)
Now, I don't believe that he is the greatest actor of my generation but I do believe he has the potential to be something spectacular in the future. And I don't think he was employed in TDKR for his fan base, as arguably actors like Ryan Gosling, James Franco, Andrew Garfield and Shia LaBoeuf all have a similar sized fanbase and have big enough agents to request a meeting with Nolan. Yes, Nolan may have employed JGL again as he has him geared up for some cool action scenes and that's a viable reason for employing someone but I don't think he would employ him again if he thought he was average. He could have just employed a better actor and hired a stunt double instead if he wasn't impressed by him.
In regards to being constrained by vanity, I do see what Talli means about making exciting choices with each role but I am not entirely sure if Nolan wanted Arthur to be approached in anything but a straightlaced fashion. For example, in recent media, you could suggest that Arthur could be played the way Noomi Rapace approached Lisbeth Salander or like Jesse Eisenberg approached Mark Zuckerberg. That JGL could have approached Arthur as having an almost aspergers like quality or as being socially awkward complete with nervous ticks. But don't forget as well as dispensing a lot of information, secondary only to Ariadne in the film, he asks a lot of questions too so in the audiences' eyes, he doesn't know a lot but he still knows a little bit more than us.
I can't remember who the theorist was but I know he based his work on Stuart Hall's work and it mentioned something about characters who are on the same level as the audience having to assume the position of the unassuming//the inoffensive. They have to be the everyman, the kind of person we can relate to, one that we could be friends with. And that's why characters who are cold and closed off and socially awkward are generally the ones who know more than us//are able to create more than us because they are removed from the average guy//gal in the cinema or theatre. And its also why this awkward architype is often employed in most frequently horror//thrillers. I'm not saying there are exeptions to the rule, of course there are but there is a reason why Hardy was given the artist licence to play Eames as James Bond meets John Hurt meets Royal Shakespeare company and why characters like Ariadne, Arthur and Saito (not in limbo) had to play their characters close to the stereotype. I don't think the video Talli posted does show frustration on Nolan's part, I think he is simply offering direction so he can have different close ups to choose from for the final cut. The chair bit such a small section of the film, that if Nolan had an issue with his facial expressions, the chair bit would be the least of his worries as any of the team members could have been slapped around.
as for the stunt work debate! I believe stunt work should be considered a form of acting. Natalie Portman won critical acclaim and a multitude of awards for Black Swan, with particular emphasis on her dancing which is why it was such a huge controversy when Sarah Hall, her stunt double, accused her of only doing 5% of the dancing after she had won the Oscar. Also, wire work hurts! I've done it before and I don't have b*llocks getting in the way so anyone who is suggesting Joseph Gordon Levitt gets too much credit for doing his own stunts is being a bit ignorant of how difficult it is. I'd understand if it was just a case of him being on wires to fall or glide from point A to B but even then, it's taxing on your body. You have to be in tip top shape in order to support yourself over and over again so I can't even begin to imagine how much work was put into keeping his movements looking controlled and effortless in that revolving hallway scene.
1. If what you're saying JGL was limited by the way he was instructed to play the character, I'm fine with that. But that doesnt change the fact that its not a good acting performance, nor does it explain his bits of stiff acting (i.e. when he comes to Cobb's hotel room in the beginning, or when he interjects saitos and cobb's conversation on the roof). You can argue that his characterization was demanded by Nolan, thats fine, but it doesnt change the fact that its a bad characterization, so somebody has to be at fault in regards to that. The stiff acting can't be explained in anyway.
2. you can't consider stunt work as acting. Natalie Portman may have been giving lots of critical praise for learning the ballet for the film but thats not why she won the oscar. She won it for her emotional intensity. How she played the character. That's what stands out about that performance. Not to mention, she had play emotions WHILE dancing (so you can argue that she was actually acting WHILE dancing), whereas JGL was completely unemotional during his wire work. I liked that shot where he was choking out the projection though.