Stage versus Film Acting

Whereas you can—and many effective actors do—get away with faking, posturing, and indicating emotions on stage, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to get away with anything false before the camera. That instrument penetrates the husk of the actor; it reveals what’s truly happening—if anything, if nothing. A close-up demands absolute truth. It’s a severe and awesome trial. Acting for the screen is a more honest trade.

Elia Kazan

“A more honest trade” does not necessarily mean “a better trade.” Film acting and stage acting are different, and arguments as to which is “better” are pointless. Each has its own requirements, and good actors are good actors, stage or screen. Some actors are at their greatest on the stage, ...

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