Sunday, December 19, 2010

Take Three: Season 1 Wrap

Craig here with a quick pre-Xmas wrap-up of season #1 of Take Three. If you have a very short memory, that'd be the Sunday Film Experience series which looked at three notable performances from a supporting or character actor's work. 

The Big Cs: Considine, Cartwright, Cheadle

Last week’s actor Paddy Considine was the last Take Three for a spell (it's seasonal shenanigans, then everything Oscar here at The Film Experience). We began all the way back in May with Veronica Cartwright. All 29 Take Threes have been a pleasure to write. I've often found new admiration for the actors featured. It's fascinating what a spot of research and a few rewatches can do: who knew that I’d come to realise how much of a Peter Lorre fan I was had I not written about a trio of his perfs.

I veered from the strict definition of what constitutes a character actor/actress whilst featuring Don Cheadle, Kim Basinger, Steve Buscemi and Miranda Richardson, but the division these days is often blurry. With actors who alternate between lead and support,  “the rule” was always, where possible, to write about supporting work. On this note, I always saw James Franco as a solid support actor, so I cheekily wedged him in before the likely Oscar nomination and the eventual leading man career.

Coolidge, Washington, Ritter

I was overjoyed to read the comments on Jennifer Coolidge  and discover others excited by her comedic allure. My love of a trio of choice ‘genre gals’, Radha Mitchell, Melissa George and Rosamund Pike, was more controversial but those contemporary character actresses have seen their unfair share of derision, hence the Take Three love. Amanda Plummer, Kerry Washington and Emily Watson were easy choices since their work has been consistently bold and interesting. Another sterling trio – Laurence Fishburne, Paul Schneider and Harry Dean Stanton – made my job a weekly delight.

I'm keen to look at more classic Hollywood actors next year but we covered the always-wonderful Thelma Ritter and sturdy-as-steel Sterling Hayden. Alan Arkin was a choice to bridge the character acting generation. On more contemporary choices like Anna Faris and David Warner I spent more time actually watching clips on YouTube than I did watching the films in their entirety. (Faris in The House Bunny – although it wasn't an actual "take" – and Warner in The Man with Two Brains are two not-so-guilty pleasures.)

Foster, Huston & Hayden

My personal favorite Takes? It  was so much fun to research and write about Dianne Wiest, Deborah Kara Unger, Terence Stamp, Grace JonesBen Foster and Anjelica Huston, (who I enjoyed so much that I included an Anjelica Addendum over at my own blog, Dark Eye Socket).

Take Three will return in February with a new batch of beloved faces, less heralded players and surprise curveballs. Thanks for your ongoing participation with this series. The positive, constructive, curious and interesting comments from Nathaniel's loyal readership has kept this series going.

Lined up as possible candidates next season: Carol Kane, Grace Zabriskie, Emily Mortimer, Charles S. Dutton, Julie Walters and Gloria Grahame. Plus ??? Do please offer suggestions for Take Three  in the comments.

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