Last updated on December 10th, 2010 at 12:05 pm
Like me, is your dream to become a screenwriter? What character makes your screenplay rock?
Some of the best roles in a movie are those of a character actor. Character actors such as John Turturro, Richard Jenkins, Steve Buscemi and Kevin Bacon have built their careers around small, yet distinctive roles. A character actor is one who predominantly plays a particular type of role rather than leading ones. Character actor roles can range from bit parts to secondary leads. (Wikipedia)
In your cast of characters, you want one central character, at least one opposition character, and a confidant (or sidekick) your central character can talk to. This is one way to reveal your central character’s thoughts, feelings, and intentions. The confidant sometimes performs the additional function of lending contrast to your central character. In dramas, the confidant sometimes creates necessary comic relief.
Leading acting roles are often given to actors who not only can act but are endowed with dashing good looks. Character actors (see the above mentioned actors) can be normal looking Joes, some quirky and some odd.
These actors have to rely on the strength of their acting muscles to make their roles memorable. On the plus side, they can enjoy longer careers because they don’t have to rely on their looks. The leading actors often don’t fare as well. They will be brushed aside for younger, fresh faces. (sadly, this applies disproportionately much more to women than men.)
I instinctively gravitate towards the unorthodox, snarky, neurotic roles created by the likes of John Belushi, Joan Cusak, Jack Black and my all time favorite character Bill Murray.
Last week, the movie, Ghostbusters came on TV and I became glued to the set. Had to watch it, my boy Bill Murray (Peter Venkman), the Enrique Suave scientist was continually putting the moves on Sigourney Weaver (Dana Barrett) while saving her and New York City from the wrath of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man!
Some of my favorite Bill Murray movies are:
- What About Bob?
- Groundhog Day
- The Royal Tenebaums
- Lost In Translation
My favorite Hollywood curmudgeon turns 60 later on this month. To commemorate this momentous occasion, I’m thought you might enjoy some fascinating facts about him.
- Is notoriously hard to pin down. If you want him to star in your film, you have to call his infrequently checked answering machine and wait for him to get back.
- Says that he only agreed to make Garfield because he thought the script was written by the Coen Brothers. It was written by Joel Cohen, the man who wrote Daddy Day Care.
- His constant mood swings led Dan Aykroyd to give him the nickname “The Murricane” which was later made into a cocktail. This drink contains bourbon, basil, elderflower, watermelon and pepper.
- His final inaudible whisper to Scarlett Johansson at the end of Lost In Translation is one of cinema’s greatest-ever mysteries. In 2007, a digital remaster discovered that he appeared to say, “I have to be leaving, but I won’t let that come between us, OK?”
- His appearance in Zombieland has been cited in reviews as one of the funniest celebrity cameos of all time.
- He was considered for the roles of both Han Solo and Batman.
- He landed his Ghostbuster role when John Belushi – the first choice to play Peter Venkman – died.
- In fact, the parts of the four Ghostbusters were originally written for Belushi, Eddie Murphy, John Candy and Christopher Walken. Wow, chew on that one for a bit!
- It’s said that he likes to sneak up behind strangers in New York, whisper, “Guess who?” and, when they turn around, tell them: “No one will ever believe you.”
- During the filming of Groundhog Day, he was asked to hire an assistant to act as a buffer between him and the studio. He deliberately hired a deaf mute who could only communicate in Native American sign language.
- He has no publicist.
*compliments of the Guardian
- In his next film, Passion Play, he plays a ruthless gangster who keeps an angel (Megan Fox) under his thumb until a down-on-his-luck trumpet player (Mickey Rourke) comes to her rescue.
Say what you will about this self proclaimed screwball, but I have had the pleasure to witness a different side to him.
Years ago, I attended the AT&T Pro/Am Golf Tournament At Pebble Beach Golf Course in CA. This was at the height of his career. There were fans clamoring for his attention, calling out to him, hoping to get an autograph. He was sauntering down the fairway as only he could clad in knickers and one of those beanies that had a pom pom on top, when he spied a group of young developmentally disabled adults standing outside the ropes.
One of the girls clumsily called, “Mr. Murray, can I get your autograph, please?” He quickly made a beeline for that girl and brought her out on the fairway. He joked with her a little bit, signed an autograph and had their photo taken for her to remember always. That smile never left her face the rest of the day.
Me, I was a puddle of tears . . . just goes to show what kind of guy he really is.
My assignment next week will be to review Zombieland. Too many people have told me I must see this, even though it’s a zombie movie. It does; however, have Bill Murray in it.
Are there any movies that might appear on your television screen, that you will stop everything for and watch it, no matter how many times you have seen it? For me it’s Clueless and Caddyshack.
How about you? You must have at least one – who are your favorite character actors?
Now, how am I going to get our screenplay, Divine Intervention to Mr. Murray? He would make the ultimate demon wreaking havoc all throughout the movie. Maybe I’ll be walking down a street in New York and he will tap me on the shoulder. I’ll be ready for him, I wheel around and hand him a copy of the screenplay and I’ll tell him, “No one will ever believe you.”
A girl can dream, can’t she?
Places everyone –
Toni left 8 Women Dream in November of 2010 to focus on her screenplay and Club B.
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