Lights, Camera, Action!

  1. Capturing actors acting.
    photographs by Howard Schatz

    Photographer Howard Schatz had an idea: photograph actors in a series of roles and dramatic situations to reveal the essence of their characters. Such is the premise behind Schatz's book, In Character: Actors Acting (Bulfinch), which captures some of Hollywood's most emotive stars in the act of, well, making faces. Ranging from Martin Landau (playing a husband at his 50th-wedding-anniversary party) to Natasha Richardson (pretending to be a rock star on the way to her high-school reunion) to Rosie Perez, the ensemble in Schatz's photographs—some of which are showcased here on—illustrate the extraordinary power of pure and spontaneous imagination. Enjoy the show.


    You are a man: 1. Seeing a shooting on your quiet, tree-shaded block in Brooklyn.
    2. Hearing the speeches at your 50th-wedding-anniversary party.

    You are: 1. A salesman back from a long road trip being welcomed by your wife in a particularly intimate way.
    2. A small-business owner just realizing that your brother-in-law has been pocketing the profits.
    3. A gambling addict, deep in debt to a ruthless bookie, urging your horse to pass the leader down the homestretch.

    You are responding to a very dirty joke.

    You are:
    1. A fiftysomething veteran middle manager learning that a merger will cost you your job.
    2. A high-school drama teacher watching the Academy Awards, hearing your name mentioned by an Oscar winner.
    3. A woman scorned.

    You are a man at a bar:
    1. Overhearing another man telling his friend about your wife.
    2. Realizing the conversation is actually about your sister-in-law.
    Martin Landau.jpg Charles S. Dutton.jpg Richard Dreyfuss.jpg Ellen Burstyn.jpg cusl06_actorsacting0605.jpg
    You are:
    1. A man listening to your wife and daughter scream at each other at Thanksgiving dinner.
    2. A middle-aged tax accountant told by a beautiful young colleague that you're "incredibly sexy."
    3. A C.E.O. who knows that the compensation committee is going to O.K. your massive raise.
    4. A struggling restaurant owner confronting two protection-racket collectors: "That's it, you bloodsucking bastards, not one more penny!"

    You are:
    1. A woman who thinks your husband has forgotten your birthday, walking into your house to find all your friends shouting,"Surprise!"
    2. The mother of the bride, hearing your daughter say, "I do."

    You are:
    1. A four-year-old letting the family's pet parakeet out of its cage.
    2. A four-year-old shutting out your mother's angry reprimand after the bird flies out the front door.
    You are:
    3. A man imploring your partner to come with you to visit your parents.
    4. A man betrayed.

    You are a retired cop who has just been told "F:cursing:ck you, Gramps" by a couple of young punks on the block.

    You are an actor:
    1. Hearing from your agent that, after weeks of callbacks and readings, you got the part.
    2. Hearing the next day that the director has changed his mind and wants someone else instead.
    Patrick Stewart.jpg Amanda Plummer.jpg Alan Cumming.jpg Charles Durning.jpg Bill Pullman.jpg
    You are:
    1. A woman beginning to wonder if the man you've been dating for a year is just stringing you along.
    2. The former class weirdo, now a rock star, in your limousine on the way to your high-school reunion.
    3. A computer whiz who hacked into your English teacher's files and has just aced the final.

    "Where the f:cursing:ck is the money?"

    You are:
    1. A pediatrician with a bright five-year-old cancer patient who is making up an intriguing fairy tale.
    2. A senior senator giving a speech on the glory of the American way.

    You are:
    1. A woman talking with your girlfriends about boyfriends.
    2. A young teenager seeing the love of your life kissing another girl.

    You are:
    1. A maximum-security-prison warden hearing that there's a riot in C Block—two guards killed, four held hostage—and the ringleader is a multiple murderer serving four consecutive life sentences.
    2. A desperate real-estate agent watching a buyer about to sign a contract for an overpriced white elephant: "Sign, don't read; sign, don't read … "
    Natasha Richardson.jpg Joe Mantegna.jpg Robert Vaughn.jpg Rosie Perez.jpg Fred Willard.jpg
    You are:
    1. A 10-year-old taunted by your older brother's friends.
    2. The Wicked Witch watching the Scarecrow catch fire.

    You are:
    1. An elementary-school teacher on vacation, flirting with the cabana boy at your resort in Cancun.
    2. A working mother coming upon your husband kissing the babysitter.
    3. A woman who has just received the failing grades of your daughter in college after she's been lying about how well she's doing.

    You are:
    1. A deli owner, late at night, handing the day's cash to a crackhead pointing a gun at your chest.
    2. A big-time Mob gambler sending one of your goons to pay a visit to a college basketball player who broke an agreement to shave points: "I don't want the kid dead. Just make sure he never plays ball again. Am I clear?"

    (Vanity Fair)
    Marianne Jean-Baptiste.jpg Kate Burton.jpg David Paymer.jpg
    Left: You’re a middle-aged woman at your mother’s hospital bedside as she hovers near death, remembering the quarrel you had with her when you were last together.
    Center: You’re a perky gal in your 20s whose boyfriend of two years has asked you to close your eyes because he has a very special surprise for you!
    Right: You’re a six-year-old at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus for the first time, startled by a bang from a huge cannon and the sight of a sleek, silver-clad woman flying high above the crowd in an arc.

    Left: You're an eight-year-old boy whose friend convinced you to shoplift the latest Grand Theft Auto. Now you're sitting in the security office at the mall, waiting for your father to arrive.
    Center: You've just excused yourself from the table at a dinner party where you've been placed between the two most boring people on the planet, and you're in the bathroom, wondering how you'll survive two more hours.
    Right: You're the idealistic young teacher of an out-of-control fourth-grade class, exploding after 20 minutes of complete chaos.

    Left: You're an heiress whose much younger husband is having an affair with a still-younger woman, at the mirror contemplating a face-lift.
    Center: You're the first woman to be secretary of defense, having your first in-person encounter with the head of the Joint Chiefs, who, the day before, told CNN that you're "a really cute gal."
    Right: You're the ferocious head of a major ad agency, berating a V.P. who's failed to land the Cialis account, and you're screaming, "You're so limp, you oughta be the poster boy for that stuff!"

    Left:You are a mother thinking about how to tell your children that you’re leaving their father.
    Right:You are a little girl telling your mother that your twin brother said a dirty word.

    Left You're a lady-who-lunches who hearing gossip.
    Right You're a kid being teased.
    Mariska Hargitay.jpg Nathan Lane.jpg Joan Allen.jpg Edie Falco.jpg Fran Drescher.jpg
    You are:
    1. an unmarried waitress with two small kids walking out of a restaurant where you've just told the lecherous owner what he can do with his job
    2. back in the boss's office an hour later, pleading for your job back
    3. hearing him relent.

    You are:
    1. a woman whose sister has just called to say she knows you slept with her husband
    2. an L.A. girl gang member who has just been cut off on the 405 by a blonde in a Hummer on her cell phone
    3. a woman talking with your girlfriends about boyfriends
    4. a young teenager seeing the love of your life kissing another girl.
    Martha Plimpton.jpg Rosie Perez 2.jpg
    Left: You’re a hyperkinetic eight-year-old drama queen at her birthday party, hearing that the clown has just arrived.
    Center: You’re a mom at your seven-year-old daughter’s ballet recital, watching her execute an adorably imperfect pirouette and an almost flawless curtsy.
    Right: You’re a high-school senior whose parents are at work, just about to have sex with your boyfriend for the first time, when your kid sister bursts into the room.
    Chloe Sevigny.jpg
  8. hahahaha great thread!!! thanks for posting!!

    really love Rosie Perez's photos!! she's so funny!
  9. I can't believe I didn't see these earlier...they're absolutely brilliant! Thank you so much for posting!