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Gary Oldman and the Good Friday prayer

I'm not exactly sure who Gary Oldman is. I thought I knew but then I realized I was picturing Alan Rickman. So it doesn't matter all that much to me personally that he is, let's say, not super-likable, at least on the evidence of his recent, lengthy, a-bit-too-candid interview with Playboy -- which I only heard about because he said some terrible things, in particular some headine-grabbing things about Jews for which he later apologized. And the wording of that apology rang a bell I didn't expect.

I am deeply remorseful that comments I recently made in the Playboy Interview were offensive to many Jewish people.... I hope you will know that this apology is heartfelt, genuine, and that I have an enormous personal affinity for the Jewish people in general, and those specifically in my life. The Jewish People, persecuted thorough the ages, are the first to hear God’s voice, and surely are the chosen people.

Most of the responses I've seen to this last part ran along the lines of "Laying it on a bit thick, there, Gary." But I recognized that line about "the first to hear God's voice" right away, from the petition offered at the Good Friday liturgy for the Jewish people. I would say the "reformed" prayer, but that would introduce some confusion: it's the one from the ordinary rite, not the rewritten but still controversial one in the extraordinary form. This one: "Let us pray for the Jewish people, the first to hear the word of God, that they may continue to grow in the love of his name and in faithfulness to his covenant."

Is Gary Oldman Catholic? I don't have any idea, and when I did a little Googling to try to guess where else he might have picked up the language he used there, I got pages and pages of links to stories about the apology. So if you have another guess, please fill me in. Until then I'll be puzzling over Oldman's decision to close his (not totally satisfactory) apology for spreading anti-Semitic tropes with a paraphrase of the Catholic Church'sofficial post-Vatican II prayer for the Jewish people.

What was Oldman apologizing for, you may ask? I will tell you.

It seems the actor was complaining about how hard it is to get financing for projects in Hollywood these days, and he said, "I can understand why someone like Mel, for instance, would finance his own movies now, because it has all become so crazy." The interviewer, clarifying that "Mel" was "Mel Gibson" and, no doubt, having some other ideas about why Mel Gibson has turned to self-financing his projects recently, asked, "What do you think about what he’s gone through these past few years?"

"I just think political correctness is crap," Oldman replied -- the published interview notes that he was "fidget[ing] in his seat" as he said so. Then he told a story about "a Buddhist kid" whose science teacher -- in a public school? private? It would seem to matter, but Oldman doesn't say -- told him it was "stupid" to believe anything other than that God created the earth. So, says Oldman, "the parents went in and are suing the school! The school is changing its curriculum!" Well, I should think so -- assuming that telling kids they're "stupid" is part of the curriculum. But to Oldman this is an example of how "No one can take a joke anymore."

A joke? Well, he has other examples! "I don’t know about Mel. He got drunk and said a few things, but we’ve all said those things. We’re all fucking hypocrites. That’s what I think about it." Hm. Have we, Gary Oldman? Have we all said "those things"? Maybe we have all spoken in anger things we later wished we hadn't, but what Gibson said...

The [police] report says Gibson then launched into a barrage of anti-Semitic statements: "F*****g Jews... The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world." Gibson then asked the deputy, "Are you a Jew?"

I have never said those precise things. How about you? Have you ever even come close? It's a little bit troubling, this assertion of Gary Oldman's, which suggests at the very least that he has said those things, and thinks it's just a commonplace way to vent one's anger.

At this point you might be willing to extend to him the benefit of the doubt -- he may have forgotten exactly what "things" Mel Gibson got himself in trouble for saying. (I personally have never been able to forget the part where he called a police officer "sugar tits," but maybe that didn't seem so memorable to Oldman.) But then Oldman elaborates:

Mel Gibson is in a town that’s run by Jews and he said the wrong thing because he’s actually bitten the hand that I guess has fed him—and doesn’t need to feed him anymore because he’s got enough dough. He’s like an outcast, a leper, you know? But some Jewish guy in his office somewhere hasn’t turned and said, “That fucking kraut” or “Fuck those Germans,” whatever it is? We all hide and try to be so politically correct. That’s what gets me. It’s just the sheer hypocrisy of everyone, that we all stand on this thing going, “Isn’t that shocking?” [smiles wryly] All right. Shall I stop talking now? What else can we discuss?

So, it turns out Oldman actually remembers pretty clearly what made Gibson "an outcast." But he has a unique interpretation of why it did so. Where you or I might have said that Gibson, long rumored to harbor unsavory opinions about Jews, exposed himself in that moment as one who subscribed to truly alarming, pernicious anti-Semitic tropes of the sort that had led to major persecution of the Jewish people over centuries -- actual persecution, not "We prefer not to finance your movie" persecution -- Oldman thinks that Gibson has been cast out by the Jews who "run" Hollywood for his ingratitude. In other words, that he was right. Oldman seems not to know that what Gibson said was not so much "politically incorrect" as it was just plain old "incorrect." It kind of is shocking that you would say Hollywood is "a town that's run by Jews," as if you had no idea what sort of history that kind of talk has, Gary Oldman! I mean, it was shocking, up until I read this interview. It won't be anymore.

I left out the part of Oldman's apology to the ADL where he says,

If, during the interview, I had been asked to elaborate on this point I would have pointed out that I had just finished reading Neal Gabler’s superb book about the Jews and Hollywood, An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews invented Hollywood. The fact is that our business, and my own career specifically, owes an enormous debt to that contribution.

See, that's not really helping. There's a difference between saying that American Jews happened to be particularly successful in the early days of the motion-picture industry and saying, as he already did in that interview, that they wield unseemly power and should thus be held in suspicion. That what Mel Gibson said was only wrong "because he's actually bitten the hand that I guess has fed him," not because it was hateful.

After "Shall I stop talking now?" would have been a good moment -- though not of course the best moment -- for Oldman to have stopped talking! But he was enjoying himself. "What do you think of the pope?" Playboy asked. "Oh, fuck the pope!" he replied. So...not a Catholic, then?

There's more. After expressing his admiration for Charles Krauthammer ("I think he’s fair, very savvy and politically insightful, so I enjoy watching him"), Oldman cycles back to the topic of political correctness, and by this point everyone else is fidgeting in their chairs. He calls Nancy Pelosi an ugly name. He expresses some confusion about who's allowed to say what about gay people. "At the Oscars," he complains, "if you didn’t vote for 12 Years a Slave you were a racist." (Is this a good time to make my "Gary Oldman? More like Cranky Old Man" joke?) And then, "You have to be very careful about what you say," he says, as though he cannot hear his own voice at all.

After some back-and-forth about how the Oscars and the Golden Globes are all phony, not that he cares, he sums up his career on a positive note: "I’m successful. I know that. And I think I’ve been successful because I’m probably very good at what I do. I’ve been very disciplined."

"Disciplined" is not the first word I'd use!

So, anyway, getting back to where we started, and unsavory as all this is, I am left wondering about that echo of the Good Friday prayer, and asking, is it a sign of progress, or a depressing indication of how far we have left to go, that what was once a refreshing expression of respect and (implicit) contrition for a long history of demonization -- the prayer's image of the Jewish people not as "perfidious" rebels, but as "the first to hear the word of God" -- should now find its way into the mouth of a Hollywood star trying to demonstrate his high regard for Jews, despite his casual conviction that they "run" Hollywood? What do you think?

About the Author

Mollie Wilson O'Reilly is an editor at large and columnist at Commonweal.



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Not sure we can assume Oldman isn't Catholic based on his thoughts about the pope. I once had the chance to meet Andrew Sullivan and to ask him for *his* thoughts about the pope, and his reaction was virtually identical. (This was February of 2013. I imagine the response would have been slightly different had I spoken to him two or three weeks later.)

I'm not exactly sure who Gary Oldman is.

He was this guy in The Fifth Element.  And he was a different Potter character than Alan Rickman.   I thought he had an interesting take on George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy a few years ago.  I've missed most of his other big roles. 

Very unfortunate and bad things to say in the interview.  All he can do is apologize profusely and hope he can work again.  

Presumably he has people that would help craft a public apology, so that allusion to the Good Friday prayer (nice catch, btw) may have been someone else's work.

He just made it a lot harder to be conservative and work in Hollywood, which is too bad.  It's hard enough to earn a living as an actor.



I've always admired Gary Oldman as an actor who played everyone from Sid Viscous to Count Dracula to Beethoven to Lee Harvey Oswald.  I don't know if he was born a Catholic.  However, he stared in David Bowie's music video, The Next Day, which surely must have given Bill Donohue an aneurism.

He did some pretty ... strong... work as Jackie Flannery in State of Grace (about New York's Westies) and as Joe Orton in Prick up Your Ears. I wonder too if the allusion to the Good Friday Prayer was provided by someone else.

Yes, I think Oldman's portrayl of the "Westie" Jackie Flannery was outstanding.

I thought that, according to the usual telling, Adam and Eve were the first to hear the word of God, directly and in person. Like the rest of us, of course, they ignored the parts they didn't much like. Have they now been relegated to mythology, and original sin with them? I can't keep up.

Good point, Jim P. and Dominic. I am afraid of finding out who his advisers on this matter might be. (Krauthammer to the rescue?)

Frank: It did indeed! Although Donohue was so busy heaping insults on Bowie that he didn't even mention Oldman.

Ironic, I guess, that Oldman played Pontius Pilate in the movie, "Jesus"  ;)

I have liked him as an actor, but his comments do seem anti-semiticto me.  I read a news story once about Mel Gibson's upbringing ... his father was exteemely anti-semitic and a super conservative Catholic ... ... so this may partially explain (though not excuse) some of the creepy stuff Mel has said.

I guess we have to pay attention to what actors say because everyone else pays attention to them, though generally they're no brighter or more articulate than the rest of us. Alec Baldwin was on "The News Hour" years ago talking about funding for the arts, and I kept thinking they needed to find somebody who could express his opinions and think on his feet better. His handlers DID put glasses on him to signal that he was in "intellectual mode," but that didn't really help much.

I don't know if it's true that Jews are still "running" the movie biz. Certainly most of the old studio system moguls were Jews.

Marlon Brando, without becoming vitriolic, tried to explain his frustration with Jewish producers in Hollywood on Larry King one time. Agree with it or not, it was certainly more measured than that of Oldman or Gibson. And Brando had Oldman and Gibson beat all to hell as an actor:

Crystal - you're right, it doesn't excuse it.  Many people grew up in families and cultures that tended to inculcate biases and views that society now rightly holds to be unacceptable.  It is up to those of us who onboarded those biases and views to jettison them, and certainly to not give voice to them in an interview with a national publication.

It is strange to find out icky things about famous people that I had previously liked ... Eric Clapton has defended fox hunting, Alec Baldwin has said bad things about gays, and don't even go to the Woody Allen place!  I do think it matters, that we cannot separate people's accomplishments from their bad acts.

Hi, Crystal.  I do think that at some level we can assess the worth of a work of art or craftsmanship apart from the flaws of the artist/craftsman.  Honestly, Woody Allen's films never appealed to me even before I found out what a creep he is, but plenty of people still love and admire his work without condoning his personal failings.  Acting and films are more difficult than some other artistic endeavors in that they are intensely collaborative, and it's understandable that people would say, "I don't want to work with Mel Gibson", whether or not his work is good.  


Yes, sinners are capable of producing great art because they are children of God. Lookit Caravaggio. I'm not sure an interview with him in a "gentleman's magazine" would have been as profitable as just contemplating this, which allows you to zoom in and contemplate the details:


Hi Jim.  When I was in school I remember a big discussion about whether a person's art or writing could stand alone in value, apart from all we knew of that person.  I don't think so, myself.  What we do and say and accomplish flows from the kind of person we are.  Suppose Hitler was a really good artist ... the art might have been technically good but to me at least it would be forever tainted by the character of the person who made it.  Saying everyone is a sinner (Jean) seems pointless to me ... if everyone is a sinner, then distinguishing between good and bad seems moot?

Suppose Hitler was a really good artist

Apparently he actually did paint.  

I'm not sure that Jean meant that we're all equally sinful.  I'd imagine that each of us finds her or his own unique niche in that regard, some niches being larger, some smaller.  For myself, I don't think that anyone is completely bad nor completely good.  Nor do I suppose that there is any correlation between artistic talent and virtue.  I do think that some artist's sins are so grossly abhorrent that they taint our perception's of the person's works, but that's not always the case.  If our interest is in the quality of the work, then in theory we could be like that television show where the judges are blindfolded so that all they can do is hear the voice without seeing who is singing and form our judgements accordingly.  I've been around the stage enough to know that the boards are groaning with divas and jerks, and that actors and musicians have done things that would result in really long lines outside confessionals.  (And I'd say the same of the clergy!)  But for the most part, I find I'm able to set aside what I know of the guy's personal views and appreciate the work.  

Maybe there is also the question of repentance. I'm not sufficiently knowledgeable (nor, truth be told, interested) in Mel Gibson's stupid utterances to know whether or not he apologized.  If he hasn't, or if he did but it comes across as insincere, then that might make a difference as to whether or not I would watch his work (and, certainly, pay to see it).  I didn't mind overly much when Alec Baldwin was just roughing up paparazzi, but I mind more that he uses anti-gay slurs.  (I've lost track of whether or not he apologized for that, sorry).  In the case at hand, Gary Oldman has apologized.  Does that wash away the taint, at least somewhat?  I'm not sure, but it is kind of an interesting question.



Roman Polanski comes to mind as well.  It was disturbing to read the number of actors who didn't care what he;d done but only cared about being in his next movie.  To my knowledge, Polanski has never apologized.  I really did like Mel Gibson before he started saying all the bad stuff ... The Bounty ... The Year of Living Dangerously ... Tim  ... Mad Max ... Gallipoli    :)   Oh well.

Jim, I agree with your interpretation of what I'm trying to say. But I also understand Crystal's point:

1. If an artist indulges in ethnic slurs (Oldman) or commits statutory rape (Polanski), I think it's perfectly valid to choose not to support them financially by paying money to see their productions. Or if people feel that Caravaggio's personal sins warrant boycotting his work, they have a perfect right not to look at his paintings ... or even to them out of their books about Renaissance painters. 

2. I don't think that the art itself is necessarily tainted by the artist's personal life. For example, Gary Oldman did quite a good job as Beethoven in Immortal Beloved and was a creditable Sirius Black in the Harry Potter movies. I detected no personal prejudices creeping into those roles. 

Jean, I do think that the work people like Oldman have done is still good work.  By tainted, I meant tainted *for me* in that now I tend to think of the bad stuff when I see their work.  It's a subjective thing. 

I remember reading about Caravaggio once - he sounded like a rake but not a bad person.  He had a really interesting life and I remember a past article about his mysterious death ....

Wow. He slammed Jews and the Pope in the same interview. He is more than finished. He is a public figure and I believe it does take away from his art. Although I do appreciate his art, it is unwieldy that he should sell tickets with that attitude. The apology is more shameful because he seems to go from the sublime to the ridiculous. But I must admit I am in denial about Michael Jackson who created and performed some great music. 

Aside from that, Mollie, your post may have been a watershed post. In the sense that the F word is usually verboten here. I was wondering whether some sensor would squack when there were some of those in my quote form "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk": You quoted multiple times no less.  Maybe it has always been allowed here as long as it is quoted. Am I the only one who noticed this. But it sure seems new to me. If so it is good to see the Commonweal blog grow up. Not that I am  advocating street talk. 

It's a strange confluence: Oldman expresses so much sympathy for Gibson, who even before his drunken anti-Semitic ranting had provoked Jewish ire with The Passion of the Christ, and then in his apology quotes a specific liturgical text that was crafted to assuage Jewish ire.  Could that have been intentional?  If so, it demonstrates an interest in and knowledge of liturgy and liturgical history that is deeper than that of the average man on the street, I'd think.  But on the other hand, quoting a Good Friday text unavoidably points to Christ's passion, which, coming from a friend of Gibson, would seem to point right back to The Passion of the Christ.  It's all very curious.


I saw his apology on Jimmy Kimmel. He seemed sincere. It seems the gracious thing to do is to accept it and move on.

If everyone agreed with him he would not apologize. Everybody is sincere after they have been caught. Forgive him for sure.  But he has some serious reparation to do and no one should make it easy for him. it is not even that the guy was drunk. He sat for an interview which he prepared for. The bar changes when you are a public figure.


He's an actor. With all due respect to the profession and I love the arts, it is not like they are respsonsible leaders involved in politics, community action, advocacy, etc. It is entertainment.

Jim Pauwels: It's a puzzler! At first I thought, Maybe Oldman is one of those right-wing quasi-sedevacantist Catholics like Mel. But (as I understand it) one of the things those folks most resent about the post-Vatican II church is how it went soft on relations with Jews. So the "new" Good Friday prayer is the last thing he'd be quoting!


Unfortunately, people do admire celebritties. Young people especially. Look how he has enthralled you.

I confess a certain (very, very limited) sympathy with what Gary Oldman originally said. A person who is overheard, even in private conversation, to make a "politically incorrect" remark may within days find himself or herself on the front pages of newspapers across the country being denounced as a moral outcast. As a supporter of gay rights, I was at first thrilled that people who uttered gay slurs were subjected to this kind of treatment, but it is beginning to worry me more than a little. Once certain groups achieve a certain social status somewhat comparable to a "protected class" in the law, and particularly once they form organizations to protest perceived insults, they gain significan power which may be misused. 

In general, I would have to say that the people so far who have suffered because they have made stupid or insensitive remarks have pretty much deserved what they got. But it is rather frightening, especially in this day and age when privacy has largely evaporated, to know that saying something ill considered or stupid can have such drastic consequences. Of course, Gary Oldman was giving an interview to a magazine, so one has to wonder what in blazes was going on in his head when he said what he did. And I have no sympathy whatsoever for Mel Gibson. Still, there's something more than a little frightening about this kind of thing when it happens.

And isn't the charitable thing to do to take apologies at face value unless they are blatanly insincere? 

Mollie - exactly!   I can't keep track of all the different distinctions between camps of tradionalists, but the language Oldman used in his apology doesn't appear in any of the revisions of the prayer (of which there have been three since the 1950's for what is now the Extraordinary Form of the missal, according to the Wikipedia entry on the prayer  [which is pretty interesting reading, btw]).

Maybe he has Vatican II sensibilities that aren't fully formed?  (Kinda like most of us, I guess).  In his case, according to the available evidence, he's solid on the reformed liturgy, but still needs to work on his interfaith relations ...


David -  I agree pretty much 100% with your take.

FWIW - there is a fellow by the name of Matthew Kelly who gives speeches and workshops (and sells a lot of books) to the Catholic ministerial class.  One of his pithy little bromides is that our discipleship consists in our striving to be the "best version of ourselves".  Although I frankly detest that sort of corporate-jargonization of discipleship, it does imply that each of us may have within us several different "versions", some presumably more admirable and  virtuous than others.  I can believe that there is a version of Gary Oldman who sincerely meant every world of his apology - and also a dark version who harbors some ugly thoughts, which probably shame the other versions of himself.  Maybe during the interview, he rather inexplicably let this version out of the cellar where it is normally locked up.  Maybe we give the interviewer some credit for letting the F-bombs flow and getting Oldman to loosen up and open a few ports on the internal firewalls.  I guess it's a Jekyll-and-Hyde theory.


Jim, yes, I've often thought of making a blog of "sayings" I loathe. At the top would be "Everything happens for a reason." 

In my view, there is only one version of ourselves and we are stuck with it. We can sometimes control the worst of them, but circumstances and mood determine what others are going to see. 

FWIW, I'd be interested to know the dynamics of the live interview. We get the transcript, but so much of the dynamic between the interviewer and his subject is unknown to the reader. Not giving Oldman a pass here, but did he feel that Gibson was under attack and responded with hasty words? Some interviewers also offer drinks to their subjects to get them to loosen up. (It's not always coffee in those mugs on Letterman's show.) Some subjects come to interviews with a snootful.

"Sid Viscous"- isn't that laying it on a little thick? :-) He's one of our finest actors and was the first husband of Uma Thurman, whose father is the best-known of American Buddhists... None of which gives Oldman any particular standing as a religious commentator. Except that he's an American citizen entitlled to free speech. Which means he shouldn't have to apologize for any comments he made, if sincere. I doubt he was thinking of being anti-Semitic.

Frank Gibbons: I meant my comment  below for you, but the s/w here seems not to stack the replies. Sorry.

John Prior: You're correct about A & E, non-Jews of course. And even Abram/Abraham wasn't a Jew until God said so. Moses of course was.

So, you don't know who the famous actor is and you're unable to use The Google to find out if he is Catholic.  


Commonweal, I'm afraid you're really showing your age.

"each of us may have within us several different "versions", some presumably more admirable and  virtuous than others"

Jim P. --

My psychiatrist friend says that each of us has a whole family of different selves inside of us.  Just consider multiple personality disorder (often mistakenly called "schizophrenia").  The unfortunate person has several "identities", sets of memories, feelings, thoughts, behavior, which emerge and have control of the person at diferent times -- and the different identities don't even know that the others exist!  This is obviosuly an extremely serious mental disorder.  But it really wouldn't be surprising, would it, if we "normal" folk might also harbor some secondary, shadow "selves" hiding in our unconscious mental caves.  Why wouldn't there be?

Just look at the fact that sometimes we have explicit conflicting feelings about things, even about the people and things we claim to love.  So, yes, we should accept Mr. Oldham's apology.  It wasn't his best self that was talking.

(But it is sort of scary, isn't it???)  (Boo!!!)


P. S.  With Pope Francis' daily sermons reminding us to behave better, i find that I'm consciously trying to change who I am.  And doesn't St. Paul talk about "the old man" that nees to be replaced?  Isn't he talking about taking hold of one of our identities and replacing it with a new one?

The human mind/spirit/body is so terribly complex.  It's enough to turn one's attention to that favorite question in intro philosophy courses -- "Who am I?"

The book referred to___"how the Jews took over Hollywood__shows how in the beginning when films were dirt cheap, no one was interested except Jewish merchants. They reaped when it got big. To this day.

Except that he's an American citizen entitlled to free speech. Which means he shouldn't have to apologize for any comments he made, if sincere.

" Being American means never having to say you're sorry."


(P.S. Gary Oldman isn't an American citizen.)

And those of you who are ape for Sean Connery, remember that he believes slapping women is a good thing when nothing else works.

Dear Jim,

i appreciate your comment on this issue.  you express a positive point about sin, confession (or apology), and redemption.  all of us were raised in an environment that said negative things about some group of people.  i don't think that there are any exceptions to this, whether we are Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, gay, straight, male, female, white or black.  human societies have always made some groups "superior" and other groups "inferior." 

the real issue is how we, as individuals, deal with these issues.  Some people cling to racism/sexism etc, and others struggle with it.

i don't think that we should condemn or judge people who make "politically incorrect" statements, but if they don't apologize, we don't need to watch their movies or buy their art work. we don't know the reasons that caused them to have abhorrent viewpoints.  (personally, i have always been turned off by Mel Gibson's anti-British, fake historical movies.)

i also think that it is mistake to hold artists to a higher standard than the rest of us.  artists don't have greater insight into social issues than the rest of us: Eliz Schwarzkopf was a nazi party member, Pete Seger was a communist party member (as was Paul Robeson), ingmar bergmann was in the nazi youth movement, and knut hamsun glorified hitler.  we all have to make our individual decisions as to whether we want to see works of art by people who have expressed such terrrible views.  but we should let God judge them (and us).

doug hogan



This is a secondary source, as best

"Nowadays, Oldman is a very private person, who eschews media and celebrity whenever he can. But when he was playing Pontius Pilate in a film about Jesus, a reporter got him to talk about his religious views and his views of Jesus. He said:

I wouldn’t call myself religious, but I would say that I was spiritual… I’m sure there was an energy and power that came off [of Jesus]. I’m not sure if he could change water into wine or that he could walk on water… but I do believe that a great man, a powerful man, was called Jesus and he walked the Earth.

Oldman goes on to compare him to other great, admired men of history: Gandhi, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King. But in no way does one get the sense that Oldman considers Jesus divine, or that he deserves an entire religion.

However, when it comes to morals and ethics, Oldman seems to echo the principles of Natural Law ethicists like C.S. Lewis or Augustine:

We’re given a code to live our lives by. We don’t always follow it but it’s still there

Doug Hogan, thanks for that very interesting comment.  (It drove me to Google to see who the heck Knut Hamsun was :-)).  

You wrote, "Artists don't have greater insight into social issues than the rest of us".  Some artists are extremely insightful, though.  Certainly, some writers are, including some scriptwriters.  I wouldn't doubt that the experience of immersing oneself in a role and a script can cause an actor to engage in quite a bit of reflection, and some do extensive background research into roles.  

Having said that, I don't think of artists as being fonts of wisdom, and in general I don't look to Hollywood personalities for instruction on how to live my life :--).  Actors, painters and musicians take the fruits of their labor and reflection and instead of turning it into lessons for the rest of us, they turn it into art.  Art that is too overtly preachy or didactic is thought to be inferior, or so I was taught to think in my college days.  Art for art's sake, I guess.



I suspect that Shakespeare understood more about human feelings than anybody ever.   And great actors also have to have an understanding of human nature, as do great novelists.  It's one of the things that makes them great.

Well, at least we can all understand why he is a very private person who eschews media; he comes off like a total boob.  I'll still watch classics like "Sid & Nancy" and  "The Professional" , but the pearls have lost their lustre.

Actors, writers, and many in the performing arts have insight into human condition and it is translated into their craft. Their gift is not, usually, reflection outside of that medium. 


I saw that after I posted it (not the only typo in there).  I was hoping no one knew who Sid Vicious was anyway.

Wasn't Sid Vicious the guy who bit off the heads of mice (or something) when performing?  How could you forget that?

Jean, that saying is surely annoying rather than loathsome, and annoying clichés certainly abound.  At least that's how it seems to me as I get older, only seemingly more tolerant, in fact too weary to express my intolerance.  If I started a list like yours, "not relgious but spiritual" (duly trotted out by Gary Oldman, it seems) would be near the top.  Intelligent, benevolent and even admirable people use it, but it is a lazy prefab locution in which the meanings of "religious" and "spiritual" are treated as self-evident.  They are anything but.  Here's another cliché, receiving just treatment from Frank and Ernest:


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