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John Malkovich and the Myth of the Actor-Director

November 7, 2012

After getting rained out last week, my Sundance Channel blog is up and running again! My latest post considers actor John Malkovich’s 2002 directorial debut, The Dancer Upstairs. Here’s a sampling…

The rap on actors as first-time directors is that they’re often more interested in exploring characters—and indulging cast members—than in telling straightforward stories. Think of slow-paced character studies like Sean Penn’s THE INDIAN RUNNER or Gary Oldman’s NIL BY MOUTH. Even Tommy Lee Jones’ modern Western THE THREE BURIALS OF MELQUIADES ESTRADA and veteran auteur Robert Redford’s wartime drama LIONS FOR LAMBS (both of which I’ve recently written about) favor long scenes of motivation-revealing dialogue over peppy, narrative-advancing plotting.

John Malkovich’s 2002 directorial debut, THE DANCER UPSTAIRS (airing Thursday, November 8 at 10P), flies in the face of any such stereotype. Even at a lengthy 132 minutes, the quirky actor’s adaptation of British novelist Nicholas Shakespeare’s tale of terrorism and romance in modern-day Latin America unfolds like a tightly wound thriller. Imagine a Graham Greene novel translated by Costa-Gavras…”

For more, click here!

 

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