July 3, 2004

Truman Capote on Brando.

The NYT Brando obit calls attention to "a crushing profile by Truman Capote in The New Yorker in 1957." The New Yorker has the Capote article up on its website. There is a lot of great Capote writing in the article, so you should read it. I'll just set out my three favorite Brando quotes:
"The last eight, nine years of my life have been a mess," he said. "Maybe the last two have been a little better. Less rolling in the trough of the wave. Have you ever been analyzed? I was afraid of it at first. Afraid it might destroy the impulses that made me creative, an artist. A sensitive person receives fifty impressions where somebody else may only get seven. Sensitive people are so vulnerable; they're so easily brutalized and hurt just because they are sensitive. The more sensitive you are, the more certain you are to be brutalized, develop scabs. Never evolve. Never allow yourself to feel anything, because you always feel too much. Analysis helps. It helped me. But still, the last eight, nine years I've been pretty mixed up, a mess pretty much. . . ."

"I’m going to walk through the part, and that’s that. Sometimes I think nobody knows the difference anyway. For the first few days on the set, I tried to act. But then I made an experiment. In this scene, I tried to do everything wrong I could think of. Grimaced and rolled my eyes, put in all kind of gestures and expressions that had no relation to the part I’m supposed to be playing. What did [the director] Logan say? He just said, ‘It’s wonderful. Print it!’”

“I’ve seriously considered—I’ve very seriously thought about—throwing the whole thing up. This business of being a successful actor. What’s the point, if it doesn’t evolve into anything? ... You know, it took me a long time before I was aware that that’s what I was—a big success. I was so absorbed in myself, my own problems, I never looked around, took account. I used to walk in New York, miles and miles, walk in the streets late at night, and never see anything. I was never sure about acting, whether that was what I really wanted to do; I’m still not. Then, when I was in ‘Streetcar,’ and it had been running a couple of months, one night—dimly, dimly—I began to hear this roar. It was like I’d been asleep, and I woke up here sitting on a pile of candy.”

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