written by Benson Simmonds
Yes, there are a few essential qualities that an actor needs to become a star and today we’re going to focus on…. well, let’s just say it’s something permeates every aspect of our culture. It’s everywhere – on billboards, in print, on the streets, in the office, in the home, and of course on TV and film…. did you guess yet?
Yes, it’s sex! It’s not just that sex sells but as my longtime acting teacher and mentor Ivana Chubbuck taught me, a “star” actor can always find the SEX and the HUMOR in their work. We’re not talking about looks here, because there are many beautiful people who just aren’t that sexy. If it were just about looks, then every good -looking actor would make it, but they don’t because it’s about much more than that! Regardless of what you look like as an actor, to be successful you need to be comfortable with your sexuality and comfortable being playful and yes…seductive. I’m not talking about being sleazy or crass or dirty but learning to enjoy and be comfortable flirting and getting someone else to feel sexy and/or getting someone else to find you sexy. Is Jack Nicholson a handsome model type? Uh..no, but he’s played romantic scenes with so many beautiful women. Why? Because he is able to be playfully seductive in a genuine organic way. Seduction is fun but it needs to be playful otherwise it’s a turn off to the other actor and the audience.
It’s called being able to generate SEXUAL CHEMISTRY or heat in a scene with another actor. Now of course there are many stars who may not be great at seduction, but they have other key qualities necessary to inspire us such as authenticity, depth, humor, passion and likeability. But without understanding how to enjoy your sexual energy it is a lot harder to become a star….or just be able to make all of your money from acting.
I recently came across this video in which John Cusack is being interviewed by a very hot Israeli model for Israeli TV. Watch this video and then continue reading
Do you notice how freely he flirts with her? Ladies, do you find it sleazy or kind of charming. Most of the youtube comments indicated the latter. Also notice that CLASSIC GUY move….I remember this one from high school. You know which one? Yup, the one where he asks to get a closer look at the chain she’s wearing around her neck so he can get close to her. It’s so much fun to watch because they both seem to be having fun being playfully seductive with each other.
Now of course the challenge for an actor is generate that kind of attraction with whoever your co-star is..even if they’re not your type. For the purposes of the play, movie or TV, you need to learn how to make them your type. That’s what I teach the students who study with me and I explain it on my Master Your Audition video. So if you’ve bought the video and have questions, write to me and I’ll try to explain. And if you haven’t, what are you waiting for?
One of the specific ways to generate heat with someone is to start to sexually fantasize about them. Even if they’re not your usual type, imagine that they are really good at doing something that you like or that they’re willing to do something you’ve fantasized about and never done. Though you can use a substitution in a scene for an emotional connection, you need to use the person right in front of you, i.e. the other actor, for the seduction part , to generate sexual energy.
Another tip is to take a simple line that seems innocent enough like “I think we should close up shop”. Now in your mind think of a really juicy sexual image for what “closing up shop” is. Just think the thought and then say the line and see how it reads. Be specific. Think of something sexually exciting that you’d like someone to do to you or something you’d love to do to/with someone else. Then say the line and see how it feels.
So have some fun this week! Watch yourself or other people at a bar or in public and watch the physical signals we give each other when we’re attracted to one another. It’s often subconscious body language, but as actors we need to program that subconscious behavior in our work.
So have some fun this week and be little bit of a flirt..even if it’s just in front of the mirror or …..the cat!?