ARKIN ON ACTING
by Ross Sharp
From Cinematical, the wonderful Alan Arkin …
Cinematical: Well, how would you describe your approach to taking on roles?
Arkin: You’re making this a very cerebral series of- very little of the acting that I do anymore is cerebral, or cerebral choices. It has to do with my intuition, my instincts, and my feelings. It’s not something I go around thinking “I’ve got to do it this way because blah blah blah, somebody did a movie in 1943 and I don’t want to copy him” or something. It’s all intuitive and instinct by now, and feeling states. It’s not an intellectual process for me. It’s an intellectual process when it’s not working. When it stops working, then I have to think a little bit, but if it’s working, I just stay with my instincts or my feelings.
Cinematical: Of course. It’s a film critic’s nature to intellectualize the process. But do you think that because of your ability to work intuitively, that the work is as challenging or satisfying as it always was?
Arkin: Moreso because I have to nag myself less. I’m very happy to be done with all of the nagging that used to go on when I was first starting out, when I was studying and doing more intellectualizing. But it’s like Louis Armstrong said. They asked him what is jazz, and he said, “if you have to ask the question, then you’ll never find out.”
And that’s that. Turn up, pay attention, don’t bump into the furniture and have some fun. No “journeys” or fucking “arcs” for Alan.
I’d strongly recommend anyone reading this to seek out Keith Gordon’s little-seen 1996 adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s “Mother Night” starring Nick Nolte, Arkin and John Goodman. Arkin and Nolte do some stunning work together and it’s the finest adaptation of a work by Vonnegut I’ve seen to date.
But you’ll have to get it from Amazon as there’s no region 4 release. It’s worth it, believe me.