I want to be a great actor, I’ve always wanted to be a great actor, and I’ve dedicated my entire life to that object.
I’ve always loved the movies, I’ve always loved the magic of the movies. As a kid I would visit the Odeon on the Kingsway in Swansea every Sunday without fail, and my hero was Steve Martin because I loved the silliness of his comedies. When I was 10 years old my mum took me to Disneyland and I fell in love with each and every one of the dancing girls on show (I had already fallen in love with Michelle Pfeiffer earlier in the Summer, it was a good year).
I yearned to run away with the circus.
Later I discovered drama, and decided to become an actor after seeing Marlon Brando in Streetcar Named Desire. My decision was swift and unequivocal, and made during a moment of clarity and nothing was going to change my mind. I wanted to be the same as Marlon Brando (albeit as Stanley Kowalski).
Part of my admiration for Brando was related to a dissatisfaction with myself. The young Brando was physically impressive for sure, but it was the sheer force of his personality I was responding to: the strength with which he enforced his point of view, his refusal to be swayed from his goal, and he possessed a courage and tenacity I had never known. Brando represented an ideal. Something I could aim for. His performance showed me I could be better than I was. And this was nothing to do with some sappy characterization, these qualities were engendered in the man himself.
I was living in a grey and obscure part of South Wales in the 1990s, and a performance Brando gave in 1949 Hollywood inspired me to change my life.
It’s 2010, and our stages and our screens are dominated by hacks, by people who do not care about what it is they do, and they try to make those who strive for excellence, those who yearn to produce truly remarkable work, those who love their work, feel like freaks. But it is they who are the freaks, and tragic freaks at that, for they do not understand the true power of our work and the sheer joy it can bring an audience. No, they are as people in a sexless marriage, a union of convienience and not of love. Don’t be a hack. Whatever it is you do, don’t be a hack. If you hate what you do then find something you love and do that. Don’t be a hack.
The desire to be a great actor is borne by love.