In Character: Actors Acting

Howard Schatz, Author, Beverly J. Ornstein, Editor, Roger Ebert, Foreword by , foreword by Roger Ebert. Bulfinch $50 (263p) ISBN 978-0-8212-2907-1

Photographer Schatz (Athlete ) turns his lens to actors and challenges them to show off their craft. Many of the names are well known (Chevy Chase, Danny Glover, James Earl Jones, Edie Falco), but Schatz includes character actors as well, making for a balanced gathering. The actors are given a one-line description of a situation and are then photographed close up, with only their heads and hands to use. Although some reactions are broad and make for lively photographs—many people open their mouths so wide that every filling gleams—it's the subtle shifts in expression that stand out. With only their faces available to convey the response to a complex situation, some actors choose to make tiny adjustments; these smaller, more contained expressions are intriguing, as when Robert Vaughn gives only a kindly smile when asked to be "a pediatrician with a bright five-year-old cancer patient who is making up an intriguing fairy tale," or when Ellen Burstyn purses her lips slightly to become "a woman scorned." Beyond giving a glimpse of each actor's range, Schatz includes his subjects' thoughts on their profession. Although his work makes a zesty entry to the coffee table stack, Schatz's portraiture is also a vital, thrilling window into the breadth of an actor's range. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/06/2006
Release date: 04/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
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