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Frank Langella

Frank Langella

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: January 1, 1938 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Bayonne, New Jersey, USA Profession: Cast ...
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"I like audiences believing I am the character I am, and if they hear too much about how I play it or too much about my personal life, I'm not that character, I'm the guy they saw on the Letterman show telling that anecdote. Some actors I can literally no longer watch, because they've told me too much about themselves." --Frank Langella to New York Newsday, January 16, 1994

"When I was a kid actor sitting in a classroom at Syracuse University, I remember a student raising his hand and saying, 'Well, professor, what about moments of Greatness? What about inspiration?' My teacher said, 'You don't have that. You don't strive for that. What you do is work hard, like a brick-layer. You get up on the stage every night and you work work work. You don't go out there looking to be inspired. Go out and work, and every once in a while on a rainy Wednesday afternoon with half a house out there you'll go off with these extraordinary flights of inspiration when the magic of your voice and your character and the audience and the lights and the actors all comes together. You're going to give one of these great performances, and you're not going to know why.'

"The reason people stay in this profession is to have those moments every once in a while, but 90% of the time you go to work. At 7:30 I'll go to the theatre, and I will want to go out there in order to do my job and if, on a particular night, it takes off in some special magical way where we're all holding on ... it's great. There are other nights you don't feel that so-called magic. That's when you earn your salary." --Langella quoted in Playbill, March 10, 1997.

"I'm still growing and learning and experimenting and hoping to find new truths in the characters I play. If somebody asks me a question, I'll give them my experience, but if you begin to think of yourself [as a mentor], you're saying, 'Now I've arrived someplace', and I don't feel that. I still have a lot of questions myself." --Langella to Kathy Henderson in InTheater, November 28, 1997.

"Sure, everyone loved the vampire story. But I made a concerted effort never to trade on it. Almost any actor who's played it has been taken down for the count--if you'll pardon the pun." --Langella to Larry Worth in New York Post, December 10, 1997.

"To be an actor in the theater is to teach yourself and keep yourself disciplined and honorable. And if you do that, you get a chance to fly in this kind of emotional paradise that acting can be when it's ... really great. Acting is just as much hard work as digging a ditch. And if you do all the yeoman work, inspiration will come.

"Revelations come when you're in the thick of it, pitting yourself ... against something that is bigger than yourself ... I'm going to choose roles where every night I go out there thinking I have to go up against something that the man in the audience, as Camus says, takes a lifetime to face and ... do it eight times a week.

"You have to maintain a certain attitude of childlikeness--because it requires it to be grown-up and go into a theater and put on a costume and walk out on a stage and say other people's words. But with each decade, I come to value decent, honorable, disciplined behavior more." --to Los Angeles Times, April 5, 1998.

"When I was a very young actor, I remember being given a piece of advice by a director who said, 'An actor is in two positions in his career: You want them or they want you.' If you want them, you could be sitting on their desk, lighting their cigar and kissing their ass and not get the part. But if they want you, you could be in the Sahara in a tent ... and a note will slip under the tent saying 'please report to work.'

"He told me that when I was 23 and I couldn't fathom it. But I know how absolutely right he was. This moment is what matters. That takes almost your lifetime to figure out. I don't know why it takes so long, but it does. That's probably the single most important thing I could leave with any actor." --Langella quoted in Los Angeles Times, April 5, 1998.

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