Pin It

Frank Langella on the First Time He Was on Stage and the Advantage He Has Over Other Actors

Frank Langella has been talking all over the place lately to promote his new film, Robot & Frank, and he had perhaps his most extensive interview with NPR.  In the interview he talks about how he got into acting and why he has had such a varied career acting in film, television, and on the stage.

Langella explains that he first wanted to be an actor “at about seven, maybe earlier than that.”  He talks about his first on-stage performance, adding, “I got on a stage when I was about six or seven, in a school pageant called Lazy Town. I wrote about it in my book. I wrote that I didn’t know what a stage was the first time I walked onto it, and I didn’t know what the wings were the first time I stood in them, but I did know I was home.  That is a blessing about as great as you could give a young kid, which is to have a calling, something that you think you’re right for and want to do. When I graduated college, I’ll never forget my graduation night sitting amongst all my buddies, fraternity brothers and guys in my classes and things, some of them in agony because they had no idea what they were going to do.  And I already had a job in a little theater in Boston, and I had my car all packed up, and I drove away the next day and was in rehearsal that afternoon. And that was one of the things I was spared growing up, you know, all the agonies of being a kid, all the – you know, it’s going to – how can I ask a girl on a date, I don’t want to enter that room, I’m not as good a ballplayer as the other guy, what – all the things that all of us go through. One of them was spared me, which was what am I going to do with myself. I knew, and boy was that a – that was a blessing.”

After spending much of the mid-to-late 1970s guest starring in television roles, Langella spent most of the 1980s on stage with a few film roles (including playing Skeletor in 1987’s Masters of the Universe) only to devote himself mostly to film in the 1990s. Langella notes that his varied career, “has been really very much like a Chekhov play, which is, it just ebbs and flows and, you know, it’s not like exposition, and then the plot turns, and then there’s a great big climax and then a denouement. It’s been wildly up and down. And I’ve liked it that way – great, great periods of enormous success, and then even sometimes greater periods where I couldn’t get a job, at one point I couldn’t get an agent even, where you just feel like you’re somehow you’re not going to ever pull out of whatever the slump is that you’re in.”

One advantage that he points out that he has is that as a trained theater actor he always could go back to the stage when film and television work wasn’t coming.  He says, “The thing I think I had in my back pocket that a lot of actors don’t have is that I was – I trained myself for the stage. So there was never a period in my life when I couldn’t do that. So I did. I didn’t run to bad television or do commercials or things like that, I went on the stage and I played great roles. And the movies would be dead to me for three, four, five years – nobody wanted me – and then suddenly, something would come along and start a whole new period. And as I left my juvenile period and then went into my leading man years, and then when my leading man years were fading along with my hair and waistline, suddenly I began to get offered very interesting character roles, which kind of started with Dave, the Ivan Reitman film I did, about the president. And that began what was what I think I am in now is my character years.”

Leave a Reply

Latest Videos

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/watch-david-mamet-in-the-1976-sh.jpg
Watch: David Mamet in the 1976 Short Documentary ‘The Playwright Directs’
Though David Mamet is best known for his distinctive writing style in his scripts for the stage and screen, he has also directed theater and film. The 1976 short documentary titled The Playwright Directs depicts Mamet directing actors through several scenes at an almost frantic pace, dispensing pearls of wisdom throughout, like his thoughts on […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/watch-marvels-agents-of-s-h-i-e.jpg
Watch: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1 Bloopers
Forgetting lines? Corpsing? Delivering lines in Spanish? Unruly props? All in a day’s work on the set of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, apparently. Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, and the rest of the cast find plenty of humor while playing super-serious secret agents in the Marvel Universe. While you’re waiting for season 2 of the series […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/audtion-tapes-robin-wright-and-h.jpg
Audition Tapes: Robin Wright and Haley Joel Osment Audition with Tom Hanks for ‘Forrest Gump’
Check out Robin Wright auditioning for the role of Jenny from Forest Gump opposite Tom Hanks. Interestingly enough, Hanks doesn’t quite have Gump’s southern drawl down just yet while the other actors audition with him. In fact, Hanks would base Gump’s voice on the voice of Michael Conner Humphreys, who played the young Forrest and […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/watch-judi-dench-sing-send-in-th.jpg
Watch Judi Dench Sing “Send In The Clowns” From Back in 1995
Dame Judi Dench has such a commanding presence as a film actress that it’s easy to forget that her big break came on stage in England with the Old Vic Company in 1957. In fact, she made her Broadway debut the very next year when the Old Vic Company performed Twelfth Night and Henry V […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/bryan-cranston-emmy-award-speech.jpg
Watch: Bryan Cranston’s Emmy Award Speech: “I love to act. It is a passion of mine and I will do it until my last breath.”
The Emmy Awards weren’t the most exciting awards show this year but with Bryan Cranston winning for Outstanding Actor in a Drama for Breaking Bad, we at least got to hear one heck of a fantastic acceptance speech. “I was a kid who always looked for the shortcut,” he said. “I did happen to stumble […]