In David Mamet’s 2009 film, Redbelt, Chiwetel Ejiofor plays a jiu-jitsu instructor who runs a self-defence school and lives by a samurai’s code. He refuses to participate in prize fights, until he is forced into a big, gaudy tournament for television, in order to pay off a debt. Once there, he learns that the whole thing is corrupt and so walks away in disgust. His friend convinces him to go back and fight for what he believes in. He does so, and takes on the star fighter in an unofficial fight outside the ring.
Having principles is easy when everything is find and dandy. But if we’re going to throw them out the window at the first sign of trouble, as soon as something ugly rears it’s head, then we may as well not have them at all. Principles only have meaning if they hold up in times of stress, if we employ them when it might seem momentarily easier not to.
An actor’s life rarely unfolds in the way he thinks it will. All sorts of unforeseen challenges present themselves, some of them seem unfair, some seem downright unpleasant. But know that these challenges are the life, and overcoming them is the task. They are not signals to quit and walk away.