“I don’t talk about the process… because it’s a very personal thing. You follow inklings that you don’t know where they’re coming from.” – Christoph Waltz
Academy Award-winning actor Christoph Waltz became one of the major stars to enter the streaming world with The Consultant, an Amazon Prime dark comedy series about a ruthless consultant who takes control of a mobile gaming company. In an interview to promote the series with The New York Times, Waltz spoke generally about his views on acting, including his perspectives on an actor’s “process” and what impact an actor should have on the audience.
Waltz is blunt about his feelings when it comes to whether an actor is good or bad — he only questions an actor’s competence and ability to pull off a role. “I don’t believe in good actor, bad actor. If you’re playing an interesting part in a worthwhile story and you’re cast properly, you’d have to be a complete idiot to not be good.”
In fact, while Waltz became an international superstar from the moment audiences saw him in the riveting opening scene of Quentin Tarantino‘s Inglourious Basterds, he notes that he isn’t persuaded by the idea of “nailing” a particular scene. He explains, “All this market-economy vocabulary: ‘nailed it.’ Well, if you nail it, where do you nail it to? What kind of nail do you use? Why nail it in the first place? It can’t go anywhere anymore. Wouldn’t it be the goal to keep it flowing?”
While Waltz received some training in script interpretation from Stella Adler while he was living in New York in the 1970s, he is not particularly interested in talking much about acting technique. He says, “I don’t talk about the process — or sometimes have a, let’s say, ironic distance to disclosing the process — because it’s a very personal thing. You follow inklings that you don’t know where they’re coming from.”
Waltz points out that in his view, actors should aspire to disappear into the roles that they play to the point that audiences forget who they are watching. He explains, “It’s about the viewer, not the actor. I’m not interested in seeing the actor work; I’m interested in forgetting about the actor altogether.”