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modeling & talent ● breaking into showbiz By Adam Hill All the World’s a Stage The secret to becoming a movie star is never being afraid to leave Hollywood for the spotlight of the theatre Y ears ago, a young actor in training told me she only wanted to be a soap opera actor. With a straight face I said I understood that if she were offered a starring role in a feature film, she should state emphatically, “I’m sorry, I only do soap operas.” Of course, she should also reply in a similar fashion if offered a role in a Broadway Show or a TV situ- ation comedy. I respond with little difference when young actors tell me they only want to do movies. This suggests to me that maybe they’re more interested in becoming “stars” than actors. In truth, I’m okay with that as long as the actor puts in the work needed to achieve his goals. I have no right, nor does anyone, to tell this person he’s wrong in his pursuits. Go for it! However, my objective as an acting coach is to see young talent reach full potential. My joy is watching actors grow. To see them evolve into dy- namic talents able to handle any acting challenge presented to them. Is there a secret to making this a reality for all actors? Why is it possible for so many English and Australian ac- tors to arrive in this country and get cast in roles that could go to American actors? Are they more innately talented? Are they more deserving? Are they just better looking? The answer to all these questions is of course a resounding NO. The secret is theatre. In both England and Australia, theatre performance is a major component in training. Young actors are taught to do as much theatre as possible. They are taught that playing the provinces, touring the country, and doing small theatre 22 PAGEANTRY “I love theatre. You learn too much as an actor and enjoy it too much not to want to go back.”—Benedict Cumberbatch are all ways to get practical experience and develop a supe- rior acting instrument. In England, a country half the size of California, they have over 65 theatres outside of London for professionals to hone their craft. Actors at all levels, even someone like Hugh Jackman, are encouraged to do at least one play a year to keep their instruments working at top performance. This is not always possible, but in the last five years Jackman has appeared three times on Broadway. He is just one example. Search any famous English or Aus- tralian actors and Google their theatre work. You will see that unless they are doing one film after another, they find a way to do theatre. They take an enormous drop in salary in order to do this, but to them it is not about money. It’s about craft and growing as actors. When we look at American actors who have had longevity in our business, we can see just how many careers began in theatre. Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Glenn Close—the list goes on. Even some of the greats—Jimmy Stewart, Henry Fonda, Betty Davis, Katharine Hepburn—began in theatre and often re- visited throughout their careers. “I definitely think that theatre is something I’ll keep coming back to in my career for as long as I can.”—Daniel Radcliffe In New York City alone, actors like Hugh Jackman, Emma Stone, Helen Mirren, Glenn Close, John Lithgow, Jake Gyllenhaal, Bradley Cooper, Michael C. Hall, SHOWBIZ Continued on page 74