Nakadai Tatsuya on the Golden Age of Japanese Film: Extras ①

Present-Day Nakadai Tatsuya

Nakadai Tatsuya, currently in his eighties, continues earnestly to appear in both theater and film productions as an active duty actor. In both arenas, he has always kept trying, through trial and error, to show audiences a “new side of Nakadai Tatsuya.”

Feeling it imperative to detail Nakadai’s activities in recent years, this segment of the book was compiled from interviews conducted both before and after appearances in some of his major recent works.

Recent Film Appearances

“Promise: The Nabari Poisoned Wine Case,
The Life of a Death Row Inmate”

In 2013, Nakadai starred in the film Promise: The Nabari Poisoned Wine Case, The Life of a Death-Row Inmate. In this film, based on a true story, Nakadai plays a man who despite insisting that he has been falsely accused ends up spending nearly half a century imprisoned on death row.

Producers at Tokai TV were following the Nabari Poisoned Wine Case, and initially I just appeared as the narrator for their documentary program on the subject as I thought them to be very admirable people. They were in pursuit of the truth, gathering all this material in their courageous fight against the judiciary, firm in their belief that here was a man who had been falsely charged.

They then wanted to make it into a movie. When they came to me with the offer, I initially turned it down. The “dramatic reenactment” style is difficult for the actor — it just tends to come across as contrived no matter what. My other reason for turning it down was the way I play the role of a convict on death row. I can’t help but play it like I’m in distress; like I know I’m going to be executed in the next moment. I tend to fall into the trap of thinking that I have to remain constantly serious. That’s just not good for one’s acting.

But as they kept sending me the materials, I came to think… “This man truly is innocent.” I was then shown the script, and it was quite good indeed. It wasn’t just him looking serious all the time. When he ate something tasty, his expression would actually show it. That’s what made me accept the offer, thinking I could give a very focused sort of performance.

Audience reception was positive, too. The only problem is, I’m afraid that the more people see the movie and the better the reception we get, the more obstinate the judiciary will become. But even more than that, I am extremely offended by their stance of, “We’ll just wait it out until he dies so we don’t have to overturn his sentence.” I played the role with the fervent hope that this man would soon be able to return to normal life.

Meeting Director Kobayashi Masahiro

In recent years, director Kobayashi Masahiro has been at the core of Nakadai’s film work. In Haru’s Journey (2010), Japan’s Tragedy (2013), and Lear on the Shore (2017), Nakadai has starred in roles that each take a different approach to the themes of aging and dying.

The fascinating thing about him is that the scripts he writes for his films are all original. Directors in the past used to write original scripts when they were still assistant directors, and it was only once those were deemed worthy that they were finally promoted to directors. But now because everyone wants to make movies as quickly as possible while spending as little money as possible, everyone relies on bestselling novels or manga for the source material. An original story requires money, and it’s tough on the director, the cast, and the staff. Despite all this, Kobayashi still wants to make films based on original stories. That spirit of his is very commendable.

He also has a very high literary sensibilities. In all his movies I’ve done, while I always die at the end, it’s never a “tragic” kind of death. Rather, it’s always depicted in this way where one’s life has been brought to completion. In Haru’s Journey, I’m just enjoying a moment of fun with the heroine, “Haru,” when suddenly I die. In Japan’s Tragedy, I’m actually still fine when I choose to die for my son.

Senda Koreya, my teacher at the training school, once told me: “Think about why the work was written in the first place. Everything starts there.” Those words of his are still etched in my mind. I have always thought first about my character’s way of life before determining how I am to play the role. That is why I’m not fond of films where the writing was influenced by trends, or films that were written with the intention of making them a hit. I want to do films that make me feel, “No one is going to come and see this. But it’s something I’ve never done before.” And that’s exactly what Kobayashi’s works are like. “I’ve never seen a film like this, nor do I remember ever acting in anything like this.” That’s how they make me feel. It’s also why they’re so rewarding for me to do.

With Haru’s Journey, I just couldn’t seem to find the time in my schedule to actually do it. And yet, Kobayashi actually waited eight years for me to become available. You do not often come across directors like that these days.

“Japan’s Tragedy”

Nakadai’s second film with Kobayashi was 2013’s Japan’s Tragedy. In this film, Nakadai plays a former carpenter who, having lost his wife and his job, now lives with his son (Kitamura Kazuki) who depends on his father’s pension money for their daily existence. Burdened by a serious illness, the father locks himself up in his room. Refusing food and water, he chooses to die there.

The son tries to somehow persuade his father to come out, but the father absolutely does not budge. With almost no dialogue, what especially leaves an impression is Nakadai’s performance in which he just sits still in prolonged silence with a certain kind of enlightenment visible in his expression.

This film is based on a true story of a deceased elderly man, left to decompose in his room while his daughter kept on receiving his pension money.

I have appeared in quite a number of movies, but even so, this one felt like a first. Any sense of narrative was reduced to a bare minimum, and even the ending was left ambiguous. There was also no music in it, with sounds of geta shoes, birds singing, and the wind blowing used in its place. It was really quite the avant-garde sort of film.

Although the protagonist does ultimately choose death, I didn’t play it like he was making the “correct” choice in doing so. My hope is that people who see the film will try and think about why he makes his decision.

I interpreted this work to be not about an isolated society or solitary death or issues like that, but rather about an existence beyond life and death. Once when I was studying Zen, I came across these words by Zen master Suzuki Daisetsu. “The purpose of zazen meditation is to enter a state of nothingness; to become an inanimate object.” I believe that the father who I played did exactly that — he became an inanimate object. And so compared to all my past movies, I didn’t do a lot of role preparation for this one. My feeling was that I needed only to exist in the moment.

Up until now, I’ve always acted as per the director’s requests. On Naruse Mikio’s sets, he would tell me, “I don’t want you to act as if you were in a Kurosawa Akira movie.” Ichikawa Kon would tell me, “Your acting is too serious.” So my thinking was always that actors aren’t artists — we are but mere tools to be used, sometimes having to play things we don’t want to play.

But finally, at this age, I’ve come to think that I should put more of my actual self into the work and into my role. If I’m playing Van Gogh, for example, I reveal parts of myself that are “Van Gogh-like.” I revealed parts of my real self in Japan’s Tragedy, too. If I was driven into a similar set of circumstances, I too would wish to just become an inanimate object and vanish.

“Lear on the Shore”

The latest film by the Kobayashi-Nakadai pair is Lear on the Shore. In it, Nakadai performs the part of a once-popular star actor of Shakespeare plays. Now suffering from dementia, he lives in a countryside retirement home which he breaks out of, proceeding to wander about aimlessly at the seashore.

Kobayashi always tells me that he writes my roles for me, and with this one he was saying that he especially wrote it with me in mind.

This man, formerly a big star, suffers from dementia. His daughter and son-in-law have money, so they have put him in a retirement home. The people at the retirement home don’t want him to wander off somewhere, so they have him in restraints. The man escapes anyway, going on a journey of loitering, or I should say, wandering about.

Assessing my performance in this film objectively, there’s something to be said about an 84-year-old actor giving it their all like that. Old people need to stay lively, after all. Otherwise things might revert back to how they were in the Ballad of Narayama days, with people from poor farming villages being taken out to the mountains when they turned 50! No, but even if society doesn’t take it to that extreme anymore, I do still think that deep down everyone wants old people to just hurry up and die. Well, maybe I’m overthinking it.


Nakadai in “Lear on the Shore”

This film is about an old man, now considered a burden, who decides that if he chooses to live freely it is possible for him to do so. That’s the kind of film it is. It was a new type of role for me, and while I don’t know if it turned out well or not, I enjoyed doing it.

As I said, Kobayashi wrote the role with me in mind. Indeed, even as this character — a former actor — keeps forgetting things, he never forgets his lines in King Lear. While the director hasn’t flat-out said it, the role is pretty much… “If Nakadai Tatsuya had dementia, this is what it would look like.” So I tried to play the role while thinking about what it might be like to be experiencing dementia; to be wandering about in a demented state.


Recent Theatrical Plays

”The Lesson”

The acting school Mumeijuku, supervised by Nakadai, performs one play a year. Starting in Noto in October before making their way to Tokyo at the beginning of the year, followed by the rest of the country, it is always a rigorous tour spanning nearly six months.

With their 2013 performance of The Lesson, Mumeijuku tried something new by inviting audiences to watch the play inside their own training hall.

Film acting is passive. No matter how much you might want to do a certain kind of role, you will never get to do so unless the people making the film ask you to. This is especially true in my case being a freelancer, having never been attached to any movie company. Someone will request me for a role, and it always starts with me going, “Huh? It is a what role now? How on earth am I going to play that…?” Each role I do always starts with me struggling to get a handle on it. As a result, I’ve become a “jack-of-all-trades” kind of actor.

However, that is not the case for me when it comes to theater. In Mumeijuku, I can play what I want.

The Lesson is absurdist theater. It is an anti-war play set during the Nazi occupation of France, asserting that unless we destroy what we currently think of as common sense and the systems we have now, we cannot move forward. That was Ionesco’s thinking when he wrote it. Accordingly, the stance I took in my performance was the complete opposite of how I usually feel — that it was okay even if the audience didn’t understand it at all.

On a personal note, having been in the acting profession for 60 years now, I’ve always wanted the audience to understand the plot, to find the production interesting, to be moved, and — if possible — to praise me. That’s something that’s always been on my mind. But after 60 years as an actor, I wanted to give it a shot as something more like a hobby. I wondered what might happen if I did the exact opposite of what my thinking had been up until this point. I would just throw something that is beyond comprehension at the audience, and they would be free to interpret it however they liked. I even went so far as to think it’d be okay if there was no audience at all.

And so we opened the doors to our training hall, limiting the audience capacity to just 50 seats. Some people were saying I’d gone crazy or that it was a form of self-sabotage, but it wasn’t that. What was especially interesting about it was that atmosphere — the audience were right there in front of me. This being a first for me, I was terrified prior to us starting. But actually getting up there in front of the audience, I had this sense of… “Wait a minute. I’ve already done this sort of thing a number of times in the past.”

Those times were on the set of Kurosawa Akira’s movies. He would always have a staff of around 50 people when we were filming, and us actors would perform right in front of them. When I came to see it in that light, I was able to perform without feeling too uncomfortable.

It is a play with an enormous amount of lines, but since the content is all nonsense, the audience will not be able to comprehend any of it no matter how persuasive your delivery. Like the tempo and rhythm in music, I had to think about how I could best deliver my lines despite the audience’s lack of understanding. Also, while the dialogue is irrational, I tried not to make my acting itself come across as irrational. My feeling was that if I didn’t perform it in a serious way, it would actually make the play seem less absurd than it really is.

“Barrymore”

Mumeijuku’s 2014 play was Barrymore, a story about an aging, failing star, depicting the anguish of trying to regain one’s past glory. Nakadai’s only co-star in the production was Matsuzaki Kenji playing the voice of the teleprompter, practically making it a one-man play.

In this play, I really wanted my performance to show what a failing actor looks like. I wanted to bring forth my own complexes and self-deprecation in my acting.

Every occupation has an end date, but in the case of an actor the end feels especially unreasonable. Regardless of how good you think your acting might be, if no one is there to buy it, then there is nowhere for you to act. It’s a fleeting thing — one day, just like that, you’re gone. That is the sort of “actor’s end” I wanted to perform. I fully understand how Barrymore felt. Perhaps his end is what awaits every actor.

As it is almost entirely a one-man show, it was difficult to memorize all my lines — although that is of course not limited to just this play in particular. A senior of mine once said, “Being an actor really would be such a great job if only it wasn’t for having to learn all the lines!” He was absolutely right. Memorizing lines was, and still is to this day, a struggle.

When I’m trying to memorize my lines, while of course the thing I do most is reading the script over and over again, I also like to put up pages of the script on the walls of the bathroom. This is something that Mifune apparently did as well. I’ll also put them up on the ceiling in the bedroom so I can see them when I go to bed — that way I can do one last check before I fall asleep. Once, when we were doing Hamlet with Haiyuza and I recited a certain line, our household maid who had come to see the play went, “Ah! That’s the line from the bathroom!”


“Barrymore” in his dressing room, attempting to drown his sorrows in drink

“The Dance of Death”

In 2015, aside from Mumeijuku’s performances, Nakadai also performed in the reading play The Dance of Death. With Nakadai performing alongside a respected figure in reading plays, Shiraishi Kayoko, it is a story of terrible conflict between an elderly married couple.

Reading plays have become common these days. That is, plays performed using only sounds and voices. This was a complete first for me. I had never done even a recitation play before.

Strindberg’s The Dance of Death is such a difficult play that Laurence Olivier did it as one of his last roles — he’d specifically saved it for the final years of his life. The subject matter being about intense conflict between husband and wife, the role of the wife is especially important. I had thus been hoping to perform it with Kishida Kyoko… But she then passed away.

I first met Shiraishi when we were doing an interview together, and I thought, “She could probably do the play.” I casually mentioned this to her, and a producer happened to overhear it. Shiraishi, too, had just finished the latest run of her play Hyakumonogatari, and so we decided that we should do the reading play together.

However, I was worried whether I’d be able to act while also reading the script. As we were rehearsing, I was struggling with it to the extent that I thought it would’ve been easier to just memorize my lines instead. But ultimately, out of my selfish desire of wanting to try something I’d never done before, I did decide to do the play even if just for the fun experience.

Another thing about reading plays is that the rehearsing period for them is very brief. When we’re set to do a new performance with my troupe, for example, we’ll spend at least three months rehearsing for it. But with reading plays, there’s only a one-week rehearsal period. I’m sure it’s a question of efficiency, too, there being so many reading plays as of late — you don’t even need to set the stage to do one.

In doing the play, something I especially kept in mind was how I would express in words that conflict between us. If Shiraishi said something in a certain tone of voice, I would respond in this tone of voice. It’s a conflict of voices, or rather, a conflict of feelings. That’s why it’s so fun to play arguments. There is nothing interesting to me about playing the typical home drama where everyone is all friendly with each another.

As Shiraishi is a 20-year veteran of reading drama, there was so much I had to learn from her. In that sense, I really was groping in the dark with this play. Shiraishi has such a wonderful way of delivering her lines, too. For a long time now, I’ve always been telling actors at Mumeijuku that they should just spit out their lines in a straightforward manner. Bad actors have a tendency of making all these little “detours” when delivering their lines. That makes it difficult for the people listening to understand what it is they’re trying to say. Saying it just like that, in one breath — that’s the key. Shiraishi is able to do that, and so it was a lot of fun working with her.

New York & Watanabe Ken

Every year before starting his performances, Nakadai visits New York. Besides giving lectures on classics of Japanese film, he has also been to see many Broadway stage productions.

Every year, I go to New York and catch about ten plays. I’m still no match for American actors. The first Broadway musical I saw was The Phantom of the Opera, and they’re still continuing to do that today, 40 years later, even if the actors and the stage sets have changed.

The actor playing the leading part will usually sign a two-year contract, and beneath him there will be five actors waiting as candidates to be his substitute. If the initial actor does well and gains popularity, he’ll usually just keep doing the role for years and years until he decides to quit. All this time, those five people are just kept waiting.

But the producers are always watching. If they notice the lead actor showing even the slightest bit of slack in his performance, he is immediately taken out and put as the last person in line behind those five people. So the actors are always highly conscious of the fact that they are under threat. Even with extremely popular actors, if their performance starts at, say, 2:00 in the afternoon, they’ll wake up at 6:00 in the morning, and if it’s a musical they’re doing, they’ll be practicing their singing and dancing until just before showtime.

Compared to that, Japanese actors — me included — are still much too lazy about our diligence. People pay money to come see us at the theater, so we have an obligation to make them think, “Ahh, live theater really is great.” And the number one thing we need in order to do that is skill. If we don’t improve our skills, there are only going to be less and less people coming to see us.

But the most impressive thing I’ve witnessed in New York was Watanabe Ken. When Japanese actors try to go out into the world, there’s always that huge language barrier. It’s one thing to be able to converse in English in your daily life, but quite another to be able to use it as an actor and actually recite lines. But that’s exactly what he pulled off in the musical The King and I. He gave an astonishing performance. Standing there amongst all those non-Japanese actors, performing in English, singing, dancing… And doing it all flawlessly. On my way out I went to see him in his dressing room, and I told him, “You are the pride of all Japanese actors today.” Even if I tried, I would never be able to do what he does.

“Mother Courage and Her Children”

Mumeijuku’s 2017 performance starting this fall will be Mother Courage and Her Children. In this play — which he is revisiting for the first time in nearly 30 years — Nakadai plays the role of the mother.

At Mumeijuku, we pay our students performance fees. So, I try to get as many of them on stage as I can, and hopefully that can sustain them for at least half the year. For this reason I felt bad doing my one-man show of Barrymore… But happily with this play we’re able to use most of our male actors.

I consider it a rather difficult play, so we’ve started rehearsing for it earlier than usual. The first time I performed it, at age 55, was my first time playing a female role. The stage producer, Miyazaki Yasuko (Nakadai’s wife), wanted to use a female actor who was physically as large as possible — German women are big, after all. But we just couldn’t seem to be able to find any actresses like that, and so she asked me. “Why don’t you give it a shot?” At first I was surprised. “Huh? Me, doing a female role?” But she convinced me, telling me I didn’t have to speak in a woman’s voice — I could just use a deep masculine voice. And it was quite fun indeed. The tail ends of my lines were different from how a man would speak, and despite it being an otherwise mannish performance, I’d sometimes throw a little “flirt” in my acting, making the experience feel fresh to me.

As long as I can be in shape physically, I should be able to do the role even now. No, I’ll be able to do it better than before.

I’m already 84 years old — considering my age, I should be just tottering around by now, shouldn’t I? Luckily, I was taught at a young age to always keep my back straight. If you allow yourself to remain in a comfortable posture, it eventually causes your body to become frail. Your legs and your back will weaken. Even now when I’m on the train, for instance, I still have that habit of always keeping my back straight.

When it comes to movies, I feel like Lear on the Shore might be my last. Likewise with theater, I’m doing this upcoming play with the intention that it’s going to be my last one. But, of course, if I end up doing something else again next year then this will have been a lie, so I’m not going so far as to calling it my farewell performance or anything of the sort. If I still have energy left after this one, then I suppose I’m going to think about the next one.

I still have around 30 theatrical plays that I’d like to do. However, my feeling is that death will catch up with me before I can get to them all.



Nakadai in “The Return”

Acting Theory & Art Talk

Throughout our talks, Nakadai has on many occasions spoken about things which couldn’t be filed under any specific production or co-star. I would nevertheless like for as many people as possible to read about his thoughts on acting theory and art.

In this section, divided into themes, I have jotted down some of those aforementioned previously unpublished words of his.

“Making It”

Acting is a profession based on supply and demand. Inevitably, some actors will make it and others will not. Doesn’t matter if it’s film or if it’s TV — if there’s no work, there’s nothing for you to do.

It’s difficult to tell who is going to be successful and who isn’t. There are actors giving it their all who are obviously talented, and yet they never become successful. Meanwhile, there are actors who are just completely hopeless, and yet they do make it. It’s totally nonsensical. But ultimately as it really is just an issue of supply and demand, there’s nothing us actors can really do about it. Even in Mumeijuku, I’ve seen many actors who I personally selected because I could see that they had what it takes, and yet they’ve ended up quitting because they just couldn’t make a living doing this. In fact, Mumeijuku has less than 10 people who make a living on acting alone.

Ours is a profession that says, “Pay me and I promise to do my best!” We aren’t “artists” — I’d say the word “entertainer,” or perhaps “artisan,” fits us better. But as I figure I personally don’t have too much longer left, I’m going to spend the time I do have doing exactly what I want.

What is a Good Actor?

The departed Miyazaki Yasuko used to talk about “actors with skill but no dignity.” In the early days of Mumeijuku, she used to tell our students: “I want you to become good actors. But even more than that, I want you to become actors with dignity.”

Whether or not I’ve accomplished that myself, I do not know. What I do know is that there are definitely actors out there who are skilled and yet undignified. “Undignified skill” is the kind of skill where the person himself is going, “Look at how great I am!” They’re overly self-conscious. In my youth, I too used to always think how I just wanted to do well. But if you take that kind of thinking too far, your acting starts to come across as fake.

Yes, while you do have to always give it your best as a rule, in terms of methodology it really is enough to just grasp your role’s temperament — to some extent I feel like once you have that, the rest is inconsequential. No matter how you play it after that, it’ll somehow come together in the end. In fact, I think it’s actually better if your acting is a little “broken.”

There are times when it’s just better when that sense of reality is broken. If you’re watching an actor and the only thing you’re thinking is, “They sure are good“… That kind of acting can get old fast. I received this same advice from many people when I was young, but the thing is that when you actually are young, you can’t help but think, “I have to make this work. I have to come across as talented. I have to do exactly as the director tells me.” You’re actually quite restricted as to what you’re able to do.

Actors and Sex Appeal

While all actors need to have skill, similarly another thing that both actors and actresses alike need to have — and I’m leaving myself out of this discussion completely — is sex appeal. Ultimately, the actor with sex appeal is always going to win. And I’m not talking about something like making eyes at someone, but about a quality that you are born with.

When I’m judging examinees for Mumeijuku, that’s something I’m always on the lookout for. Whether they’re actually “sexy” or not, that’s not the issue. It’s whether or not these actors have sex appeal. After all, this profession puts one in immediate contact with the audience, so when an actor has something like that up their sleeve, you know they’re going places. But the thing is that while there are actors and actresses who come across as sexy when I meet them, it’s only a select few who can also convey that on the stage and on film.

The Newcomer’s Advantage

I was a huge fan of Marlon Brando in my training school days. Back in those days, every guy out there was copying the way he walked. That’s what first made me curious about him, and upon researching how he’d been brought up, I quickly found out that he had of course studied the fundamentals. Even Marilyn Monroe started learning the basics when she hit a wall soon after her debut.

Actors hitting a wall is something that happens all the time. When you take on a new role, you have to cast away all your previous experiences. In other words, you need to always have that newcomer’s mindset. Actors with with a career behind them tend to get cocky, and that’s just no good. You can’t take the plunge into something new unless you cast away your career.

In that sense, I’m no match for a newcomer. They have that freshness about them. When you’ve been doing this for tens of years, there’s not much freshness left.

When you think about it, when you’re playing a new role, the audience is seeing it for the first time in their lives, right? It follows then that when it is a newcomer who they have no previous mental image of, there’s a better chance of that role seeming like it fits them. So whenever I receive a new script, whether it’s for theater or film, I’m always thinking to myself, “I need to play this like I was a newcomer.” But having amassed such a large repertoire, it actually becomes a hindrance.


Nakadai Tatsuya

Stealing Techniques

When I’m saying my lines, I split them up into smaller pieces. Let’s say I have a long line to recite. First, I have to look at it and understand what it actually wants to say. Which words do I emphasize, and which ones do I overlook? It is extremely difficult, and it’s only recently that I’ve somewhat gotten the hang of it.

Then you also have to think about where you breathe. Do you say the whole line in one breath? Do you say it in a monotone voice? Do you say it in an awkward way? If you say your lines too well, you run the risk of becoming detached from your role, instead becoming one of those actors who thinks, “Look how great I am.” When I’m trying to achieve that sense of reality, there are times when I’ll steal from amateurs or students who have just joined Mumeijuku. Actors who have already got it, have got it, but rookies are not like that.

Also, when I’m acting, I try to have someone to model myself after. For instance, when we did Driving Miss Daisy with Mingei’s Naraoka Tomoko, I was thinking about how I should use my voice and about the length of pauses I should use in my articulation in order to produce this certain sense of my character playing dumb. And the first person that came to mind was Shofukutei Tsurube. That’s not to say I was mimicking him, but I was thinking about how he breathes. I used him as a mental image.

When I played Van Gogh in Man Aflame, I was thinking about how he would speak. So I’d do things like riding the train and watching television and I’d just listen to how people spoke. Finally, I found what I was looking for. It was war photographer Watanabe Yoichi — I used his obstinate manner of speech as my image.

Actors vs. Stage Directors

Shingeki theater was first established in the Meiji era when scholars opposed to things like shinpa and kabuki theater wanted to create a new, modern kind of theater. Thus, in shingeki theater, actors are always dismissed in favor of the stage directors and the scholars translating the plays — they are the ones receiving all the attention.

But the thing is that the people in actual direct contact with the audience are the actors. So if you feel like something about the play doesn’t seem to match with your intuition, you should consult the stage director and make it fit your intuition. Because there’s nothing more boring than playing something you just aren’t feeling.

When I joined the training school, the first thing they taught us was the word “if.” As in, “If Nakadai was to play Hamlet, what would that look like?” That’s something that’s critical for an actor, and it’s the stage director’s job to help them with that. Sure, acting theory is essential, too, but using your own five senses is also just as important. I believe it’s only when you combine your five senses with theory that you can finally convey the message to the audience. That’s why it’s so important to value your intuition.

To Go On Acting

While I never showed it much on the outside, in my mind I’ve always been thinking about that “1 vs. 49” statistic from my training school days. I have no educational background, so in the back of my mind I always kept thinking, “If this doesn’t work out, I won’t be able to eat.

Growing up without a father and experiencing a childhood of poverty where there was nothing to eat, I still have a fear about that to this day. So while it is a very lowly sort of thing for me to say, at the basis of my thinking there’s always been this thought of… “I wouldn’t be able to eat if it wasn’t for acting. Never again do I want to go back to that.”

I think I’ll probably keep acting until I die. I’m at that age when really I should be sitting out on the porch sipping tea or something, and yet I continue doing films and theater with that athletic mindset of, “It’s all in the legs and back.” I suppose it’s a bit greedy of me to do so. I’ll just have to chalk it up to my stubbornness.

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