Actors can’t always be themselves
Some of us go through life trying to satisfy other people. We base our decisions and thought processes on the needs of others and not on the things that might be best for ourselves.
Thinking outside of the box, taking a risk and living in the moment are often frowned upon because such concepts are frivolous and too irrational for some to comprehend. Of course, the moment we do take a "leap of faith" we are criticized, chastised and ridiculed for our decision.
We’re often expected to perform at a level that we cannot possibly reach and maintain a non-existent and unrealistic image of ourselves.
Take actors, for example. More often than not, the roles they portray on screen or on stage are not complete reflections of their true personality.
"It’s just a role," most thespians say.
"I’m not that person," soap opera actors constantly scream.
But people will always see what they want to see – the character being portrayed as a reflection of an actor’s opinion, beliefs and values, especially in films such as Brokeback Mountain.
Conservatives and religious leaders called the film immoral and ungodly, when in actuality the film didn’t really show a lot of nudity or sexual activity. The film’s purpose was not to throw homosexuality in the face of its viewers nor was it the intention of the cast and crew to disrupt or nullify a person’s view of a cowboy.
Yet conservatives deem Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal heathens for portraying cowboys differently from what history tells us. Even after Ledger’s death, people still criticize him for his role in the film. What does criticizing him now, of all times, really prove other than the fact that perhaps the people making them have too much time on their hands? How disrespectful are these critics that they will not let a young man’s soul rest in peace?
Why should anyone fault Ledger, Gyllenhaal or any other actor who dares to portray a role outside of his or her realm of comfort? They certainly did not star in the film to please anyone. We should not make assumptions about other people without getting to know a person first. People make wrong assumptions everyday that cause us to, at some point, defend our values, opinions and decisions against the majority.
We cannot be afraid to stand up to those who desire to confine us to the same small box in which they have obviously remained for so long. Our purpose in life is not to be someone else or even someone’s minion.
As students and professionals, we must remember that we’re not going to please everyone all the time. How can we when there is only one of us and many of them?
Latimer, an English post-baccalaureate student, can be reached via [email protected].