Reflections on the acting trade by a very popular actor
Who is B.C.? For most, it means Before Christ, for the rest it means Bruce Campbell.
Campbell is a film actor, basically a huge figure in the B-Movie world. His fame started with the Evil Dead trilogy and followed with many parts, long parts in B-Movies, short ones in A-movies.
Many of Campbell’s A-film short appearances take place in his all-time friend and colleague Sam Raimi‘s movie works, like Darkman (1990), Spiderman (2002), Spiderman 2 (2004), Spiderman 3 (2007)… Campbell is the author of a few books, mainly the autobiography If Chins Could Kill, a New York Times Best-seller, and Make Love the Bruce Campbell Way.
In the last section of If Chins Could Kill, Campbell does some reflections on his trade as a film actor.
Here they are.
What You Don’t See Is What You Get
What You Don’t See Is What You Get To one way of thinking, actors have a charmed life—we are artists, free to express childlike emotions and we are pampered beyond reason. When working, we travel first class, stay in fancy hotels, are driven to and from work, have a comfortable place to hang out during the day and get free lunches. As a fringe benefit to this public life, actors are recognized, applauded, awarded, revered. Then, of course, there is the issue of money—a well-paid actor can get more for a single job, not counting residuals, than a teamster and his extended family would ever hope to earn in an entire lifetime.
Actors, a miserable lot?
To another way of thinking, actors are a miserable lot—they are insecure, vain and temperamental, clawing about in a world more competitive than almost any other profession. How many rocket scientists would line up around the block, in the rain, lobbying to work for just one day? Actors face rejection weekly and are willing to tolerate years of subhuman living conditions, all in the hopes of being “somebody.” Still, ninety-seven percent of them will fail—on average, Daddy’s sperm has a better chance of fertilizing Mommy’s egg than an actor has of succeeding. As actors age, the pressures to remain eternally young are almost unbearable. A plumber will never hear the phrase: “I’ll hire you, but you need to lose twenty pounds.”
Fame and ridicule
Well-known actors are hounded by the media and approached by complete strangers. I feel fairly confident that Joe Bob factory worker never has his garbage searched by tabloid reporters and almost never gets undergarments in the mail. Actors may enjoy fame, but they also face public ridicule when they cannot live up to their on-screen personas. Subjective notions of success and failure are shoved in the faces of people whose shelf life is about as long as cottage cheese on a July afternoon. Once you look past the hype, actors are nothing more than fugitives from reality who specialize in contradiction: we are both children and hardened adults—wide-eyed pupils and jaded working stiffs. I’ve enjoyed being an ad-hoc member of the film business and I’m grateful for a unique, fly-on-the-wall perspective—hovering around the white-hot center of the big H, but never quite close enough (or is it high enough) to crash and burn. I’ve had the opportunity to meet some fascinating people and see places I normally would never have ventured. I’ve delighted in learning new tricks, refining others and discarding enough bad ones to make a decent living in a very hard profession. If that isn’t glamour, I don’t know what is….
Want to know more about Campbell? Check his website bruce-campbell.com!
Here below, his other books and comic books:
MORE ON FILM ACTING: Check our posts No Small Parts, Buster Keaton: The Best Comedian Ever?, ON SCREEN ACTING According to Edward Dmytryk (and Jean Porter), Joseph Cotten, a Great Autobiography, Michael Caine On Acting For The Screen and On Directing: An Elia Kazan’s Masterclass.