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    Godfather
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    Tuesday, October 26, 2010 11:04 AM
                                                                                                            Posted by ZACK           
 
                                     Sir Ian McKellen is taking on the role of Godfather Don Antonio in Eduardo De
                                     Filippo's The Syndicate, opening at Chichester Festival Theatre. In an essay for
                                     the Today programme David Thomson, author of The New Biographical
                                     Dictionary of Film, ...


                                      




    Godfather
    Tuesday, October 26, 2010 11:04 AM
                                                                                                            Posted by ZACK
 
                                                                   British Broadcasting CorporationHomeAccessibility
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    Sir Ian McKellen is taking on the role of Godfather Don Antonio in Eduardo De Filippo's The Syndicate,
    opening at Chichester Festival Theatre. In an essay for the Today programme David Thomson, author of The
    New Biographical Dictionary of Film, reflects on why actors are drawn to the mafia don.


    More or less, actors get pushed around. They're told where to stand. What to wear and they are given lines to
    say. And if they don't do it right, they're simply told to do it again until they get it right.


    I know, they may be paid a lot of money for this humiliation - they may win international prizes and sports
    cars and young mistresses for company.


    Still, vengeance beats in the heart of actors and they long to kill everyone in sight if you'll just say hello to their
    little friend.


    Once upon a time, in 1996, in the sunlit summer of north Wales, Anthony Hopkins made a film called August
    that is adapted from Chekhov's Uncle Vanya.


    Hopkins knew that when it came to being a movie uncle he was Uncle Hannibal for ever. He may have been
    a dreamy, sensitive man, but he couldn't resist putting on the frighteners. Could you?


    So now Ian McKellen is about to play a mafia don on stage and people are shaking their heads and saying,
    well, that's not like Ian McKellen, is it?


    Well, I admire Mr McKellen as much as the next man, but I recall his Richard III and his Macbeth when he
    brought energy and relish to the game of being a gangster in his time.


    You see, it's frightening to go on stage, and sooner or later actors want to get their own back. They want to be
    Brando as Vito Corleone and Al Pacino as Michael.


    Though that wasn't quite enough for Pacino. Michael, you may recall, is a fashion plate who seldom gets his
    own hands dirty, not after that first great test in the restaurant. After that, he sits in his throne and gives the
    orders while practicing his detached stare.You feel the power, but Pacino needed more - he needed Tony
    Montana in Scarface, shooting anyone who moves, diving into drifts of cocaine and behaving like trash.


    You see, actors like the praise and the knighthoods, the money and the country house. But they like to look
    you in the eye, give a wicked grin, and say, do you know what I am? Trash.


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