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What Makes A Good Actor?

What Makes A Good Actor? 

The other day, a friend and I were discussing Michael B Jordan. She had just watched Creed (which I really enjoyed) and was impressed by his work. I hesistated on whether to share my unpopular opinion but I took the plunge and let her know that I didn’t feel the same way.

I honestly don’t know what it is but I am yet to see a movie role of his in which I am convinced of his acting. Now let me clarify that I find this so weird because prior to Jordan’s rise to popularity, I absolutely loved him on TV, specifically – The Wire, Friday Night Lights and Parenthood. So why isn’t it gelling for me in movies? For me, the biggest thing is that every time I watch him in a movie, I can see him acting and it never seems natural.

And that’s what led to my question, “What makes a good actor?”

I think a good actor is someone who makes me forget the actor playing the role and totally sucks me in. Someone with range and that’s versatile plays a good deal too in being a good actor.

side bar – A few years ago I remember saying that Will Smith was a better actor than Denzel eek! Will Smith’s recent string of failures haven’t helped my cause but I think what I was trying to say was that Will was more versatile. Denzel – who I think is a fantastic actor – can be sometimes one note. It’s like I see a similarity to all his characters. The mention of versatility above just reminded me of this but I digress.

Not long after the conversation about Michael B Jordan, I watched Trumbo and Bryan Cranston became my perfect example of what a good actor is. From Malcolm in the Middle to the arguably iconic Walter White on Breaking Bad. If I can watch him as Trumbo and not even think of him as Walter White, I think that is some feat that I find very impressive.

The other angle is if you are a super star off screen and are still able to make me forget your personal life,  then you are good in my book. In this area, this is where I give kudos to Brad Pitt. Doesn’t matter how small a role (like in 12YAS or The Big Short) or if it is a leading role, I completely forget that he is this mega star with a personal life a lot of the world is interested in. This is actually what I think hinders Beyonce from being a good actress. She hasn’t honed in on the skill that turns off her “superstar”. Every time I watch her, it’s always “this is Beyonce playing xyz” or “I wonder what Jay-z thinks about this scene”…or maybe she just can’t act. I did like her in Cadillac Records.

Anyways, those are my thoughts on what makes a good actor. What do you think ? Also, what do you think about Michael B Jordan ?


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  1. The Truth

    I agree completely. On tv he is great and natural, in the cinema i can see him acting. I agree on Bryan Cranston as well, i forget everything else he has done while i watch him

  2. KJA

    You and I have had this conversation a few times in respect to MBJ. Agreed he has a great body of work (Creed, Fruitvale) even though he hasn’t acted in that many a movie. However, he had two outlier performances in Chronicle and That Awkward Moment where he was just one the boys. He may be needs to understand what being a method actor like Daniel Day Lewis or Christian Bale entails or go the way of Brad Pitt and just be himself as he was in the two aforementioned Chronicle and Moment. Maybe again, it’s the roles he’s being pitched. If I was MJB, I would also dig up the Time article that shows how Will Smith literally had a roadmap for a blockbuster movie every year from Independence Day to MIB to Ali to Seven Pounds. He showed range and made millions. As for Denzel, I still question his Oscar for Training Day, as he should have got it for Philadelphia, Cry Freedom, Malcom X, Remember The Titans, or The Hurricane. MJB can can be a great actor, he just has to flip the blueprint and not end up like the previous black hype – Anthony Mackie.

  3. Dee

    I agree with what you said, a good actor should definitely be someone who makes me forget I’m watching a movie or who they are in real life. And will smith does that. From fresh prince to 7 pounds. I agree Denzel is a fantastic actor but it’s just the same vibe I get from all his movies. He probably isn’t open to taking roles out of his comfort zone. And yeah Michael b Jordan hasn’t really done any movie to impress me. He doesn’t leave a memorable performance. It’s not just about just about that. Versility is key. And please let’s not forget mike colter.

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