Allen Levin

Do you know the parts you are right to play? Do you really know? Not the standard “I can play anything!” Not everyone is right for “Mary” in “Something About Mary.” So who are you? Let’s get specific and honest about what you can bring to the table. Take a good hard look in the mirror. Chances are good that if in life you aren’t a lady’s man you won’t play one in film or television. You’ll likely be cast as someone that is awkward around ladies but wishes to be better.

I just saw the movie “The Hate You Give.” Awesome film. Every reader of this blog has just been assigned to see this film in a theater. Get to it. This is the type of artistic communication we need to make so that real change might happen in the world. Don’t leave the responsibilities of creating a better world to the politicians. They won’t be involved. They are actors of an entirely different sort. They act as though they’ll be involved, but largely they will not (every once in a while we could get lucky in this department, but let’s not leave that to chance). It’s up to true artists to create change. We need to stand up and tell the truth. Let’s shine a “Spotlight” (if you haven’t seen that movie get to it) on what needs to be changing today.

What would my part be in the movie “The Hate You Give?” I’d be a white cop. Would I get to play the young cop who fired his gun? Sadly, no. I’m too old to play a rookie and I’m not old enough to play a seasoned veteran. I’d simply be a white cop. Would I get to speak? You are damn right. I’d never consider anything less. Maybe I’d get to yell at the protesters through the megaphone “You have 3 seconds to disperse!” Who would I be in any movie I see? I should always be asking myself that very question.

If I got the part of someone that the world looks at as evil, should I see them as evil? Absolutely not. Evil people don’t see themselves that way. If I was cast as Hitler I’d play a man who loved (white) children and was adoring to animals. I’d find his heart and his reasons. I’d convince myself that the world needed to be cleansed of the Jews. I wouldn’t look at it as evil. If I was cast as the young cop who killed Khalil, I’d make choices the way he did. I don’t believe the actor playing that role thinks of himself (as that character) as a racist. He played that part very well. I know actors that would turn that role down for fear of the audience thinking that they are truly a racist. That’s a poor decision as an artist. A true artist would take the role and truly find the character.

If you don’t know what roles you play come up to me (or someone that does what I do for a living really well) and simply ask. If you don’t have access to an honest acting coach (and there are very few) you need to really look inward. Take away all emotional feelings and ask yourselves who you’d be in a movie. Remember that only one woman gets to play Mary. Is that woman you? Remember that only one man get to play James Braddock. Can you bring him to the table? Do you truly have Jimmy in you? Russel Crowe did. Do you? Really? With most of you, the answer is no. For me, the answer is no. Despite the fact that I adore that film I am honest with myself. I’d never be able to be cast in that role. That doesn’t bother me. There are plenty of roles for me.

There are plenty of roles for you. Get honest. Get lean with your submissions. Submit your picture only to parts that you are truly right to play. Rehearse the parts that are right for you. When you are called to prove it, do so. Be ready.

Now go see “The Hate You Give” and let’s begin changing some truly bad things.

Onward and UP.