Good Acting.

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Bigbad | 10:50 Thu 16th May 2019 | Media & TV
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I often see posts on AB where someone is described as being a good actor/actress.
I’m curious as to what you think makes them good.
I just think they are doing their job, and I can only think of 3 occasions where I’ve said someone was good, and 2 of those were playing ‘real’ people.
I’m far more likely to pick someone out for being a rubbish/wooden/hammy actor.

Recent posts have mentioned (among others) Stephen Graham, Jodie Comer, and Jean from Eastenders.

So, what is it that makes you think that someone is a good actor/actress?


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For me personally absolute reality. I don't want to look at someone and see the actor at any point, I want to only ever see the character so that I don't have to actively suspend my belief, it becomes a natural process.
That they make the character believable. Jodie Comer as the maniac in Killing Eve is believable. John Wayne as a Roman Centurion at the foot of the cross was not. John Wayne was always John Wayne. Martin Freeman is another I'd put into that bracket. Bilbo Baggins was Sherlock's Dr Watson.
an actor is good when their performance makes you forget they are acting.
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Thanks for the replies, but I still don’t really see it!

When I saw Stephen Graham in Line Of Duty, I just thought “he’s the bloke who was the policeman in the drama about that boy from Liverpool who was shot, and also the thing where he was a nightwatchman.”

I didn’t see his acting as any better than the other people in the programme, and as much as I enjoyed the series, I never for one minute thought it seemed realistic.
It was just an enjoyable and entertaining drama.
I could watch A touch of Frost and forget he was once Del Boy...
You should watch Stephen Graham play Al Capone in Boardwalk Empire ,absolutely brilliant.
It's when they make you forget that you're watching an actor and believe totally, in the character they are portraying. I agree about 'Jean' on Eastenders tho. Brilliant.
The actress playing the pervy teacher in Emmerdale is doing a pretty good job, she might be a very nice lady in real life.
A good actor or actress can switch off from one part to another with great ease and do every part justice. I think a good example of this is Timothy Spall who brings pure professionalism to every part he plays and Hugh Grant springs to mind after his amazing portrayal of Jeremy Thorpe, he WAS Jeremy Thorpe !
If you've ever caught Sean Bean's performance as a Catholic priest in 'Broken', surely there must have been occasions when you forgot he was just acting a part. We are quite blessed when it comes to the acting profession and i think the same can be said for those who write our dramas.
Agree ken, Jiummy McGovern wrote Broken I believe and The Street which the above emtnioned Stephen Graham and Timothy Spall were in, among other very good actors. The dramas he writes are amazing and seem to bring out the best in the actors.
Yes, Sean Bean is another one who can act any part and be utterly convincing.
I think you've answered your own question. You spot a bad actor because they are bad, you don't notice a good actor because you believe the part they're playing and forget they're acting.
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I don’t know about that, vulcan.
If someone is playing a ‘real’ person that I am familiar with, and I think they’ve got the voice and mannerisms right, then that’s when I’m more likely to see a good performance.
shaneystar mentioned Stephen Graham playing Al Capone, but I don’t know Al Capone’s voice or mannerisms, so wouldn’t know if it was a good portrayal.
But if someone is playing a fictional character and doing it well, I don’t see that as being any different to any other job.
Isn’t that why they do casting? To find the best person for the job.

Ken is correct in saying we have some good writers.
I did watch ‘Broken’ but didn’t see it as the fantastic drama that others did. It was just OK to me.
But, if I have enjoyed something, I can watch it again and again.
I’ve just re-watched both series of ‘The Missing’ and am currently watching a re-run of an American drama called ‘The Disappearance.’
All very gripping, but I wouldn’t pick anyone out as being a good actor.

Looks like it’s just me, then!

Thanks for your input, everyone.
dustin Hoffman is a great actor especially when he did rain man x
I would confirm that, to me, a great actor is someone who makes their character believable, to the point where I see only the character, and not the person playing the part.

Some actors are mysteriously lauded for their utterly one-dimensional 'abilities' - the pinnacle being Sean Connery, who is only ever Sean Connery, and played an Irish cop with his un-losable Scots accent, and got an Oscar for it!

As advised, John Wayne is a similar example, as is James Nesbit, Michael Caine, the list goes on.

Watch someone like Alan Cumming in The Good Wife, and I can completely believe he is an American, born and bred, even though I know he is as Scots as shortbread.
If you want to see a wooden top act - look for Charlie in Casualty - how the man has managed to stay as long - beats me.
yeah there are some good actors on AB hur hur hur
I was gonna make it more personal or to me personable

as student I paid mucho mucho moolah to see Sir Ralph Richardson act- - - and also Rudi dance Nutcracker 1976

This is AB so - - devastating AB one liner coming up
did they ? did his nuts crack? yup and how ! those scissors kicks ( er pas de six to the initiated ) wow !

seagull - 1975 - Joan plowright as Mme Arkadina ( who he den?)[тогда кто он?]
damn: should be:' who she den?'

that readers is a Chekhov comedy ( the seagull silly! ) where the final line is - "dont say anything but I think Conradin has shot himself!"

god those russkies sure know how to deliver a one liner

Steve Graham was the policeman on the Rhys evans shooting and also Al capone in Boardwalk Empire.
Being a scouser - he went into a pub in West Kairby and got beaten up.... and he said
the trouble wiv scousers is that they cant tell an actor from a gangsgter ....
yeah agreed alan cumming in the Good Wife
I hope lovers are now doing The Good Fight ...

has anyone mentioned the incomparible Keeley hawkes?
I am sure Steven Graham is a great actor although not being a great folk or TV buff I think I’ve only ever seen him in The Damned United and Line of Duty. In the former he had a relatively minor role. Brilliant as he was in the latter I was someone taken aback to see him being interviewed about it and looking and sounding exactly like his character :-)

Now Michael Sheen, who plays Clough in TDU: there’s a truly amazing actor.

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