7 films about what it means to be an actor

Sunset Blvd.

Writer Joe Gillis (William Haldon) is not doing as well as he would like. He is head over heels in debt, and film studios are in no hurry to buy his scripts. While trying to hide from creditors, he ends up in the mansion of former silent film star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swenson). She still cannot come to terms with the loss of popularity and is planning a triumphant return. Her illusions are fueled by the butler Max, also a once famous director, – he sends letters to Norma from fans. Joe remains in this dull house as a lover and helps Norma write the script for the film, which should return her to the love of the public.

The film explores the dark side of fame and the film industry. A sure sign that Wilder touched a hot topic for Hollywood was an incident that occurred at one of the first screenings. The Paramount Pictures producer lashed out at the director in a rage and accused him of dishonoring the industry that had fed him. The love of the public sometimes becomes the main source of self-identification for actors, and, having lost it, they lose themselves.

The starring actress was once a silent film star, but unlike her character, she was able to come to terms with the loss of fame and worked in radio and television. Sunset Boulevard brought her a striking return to the movie screens.

Shakespeare in Love

The action takes place in London in 1594. The young playwright William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) is suffering from a creative crisis and is unable to finish the contemplated comedy Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter. Inspiration comes to him when he meets the daughter of a wealthy merchant, Viola de Lesseps (Gwyneth Paltrow). She is fascinated by the theater and the works of Shakespeare. At first, the girl pretends to be a man in order to get a role in his play, but quickly reveals her true identity. Viola and William discover mutual feelings for each other and begin a romance that will inspire the poet to write Romeo and Juliet.

The audience fell in love with the picture for the sincere involvement of the actors and the liveliness of the story. In it, acting is a bright, exciting hobby, close to obsession. Many moments from the life of medieval theater are close to modern reality, for example, the scene of a boring listening. The characters’ remarks about paying the actors with a profit, and the sarcastic response of the theater owner “she never happens” are also inspired by reality.

The American Film Academy, always hungry for films about acting, awarded Shakespeare in Love with 13 nominations and seven statuettes, including Best Picture.


Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) is a great actor with a “complex” personality. Despite his obvious talent, Michael is out of work as he constantly engages in creative disputes with employers. Out of despair, the disguised and disguised actor auditioned for a female role in a soap opera. He gets a job, but also falls in love with the actress of the series, who sees in him only a friend. In addition, now he has to deal not only with the difficulties of the acting profession, but also with systemic sexism. The actor’s proposals are rejected, and kisses with lustful colleagues fit into the script.

In 2015, Time Out New York named Tootsie the Best Film of All Time in a poll. The picture was nominated for ten Oscars in 1983, but the statuette was taken home only by Jessica Lange for the role of Michael’s love interest. The life of the actors in the film is shown as a chaotic set of unrelated events. Tutsi reminds that most actors, including extremely talented ones, are out of work. The disputes between Dorothy and the director were written off from those between Hoffman and Pollack, to remind that movies and plays are always the fruit of joint creativity.

A Slave of Love

In Russia, the Civil War is in full swing, but the film crew, which is filming a black-and-white silent melodrama in the south of the country, does not seem to notice the rapidly approaching tragedy. The main star of the film is actress Olga Voznesenskaya (Elena Solovey), whose image was copied from the silent film star Vera Kholodnaya. The poetic woman has little to do with the pragmatic world of filmmaking, and even less with the horrors of war. Olga falls in love with an underground revolutionary, cameraman Pototsky, and then she herself takes the side of the Red Guards, rather out of romantic motives.

“Slave of Love” became Nikita Mikhalkov’s second directorial experience and the first real success in the country and in the West, where critics were delighted with complex atmospheric scenes. In the film, the director confesses his mature love for cinema – the process of filming a silent film is shown with admiration and irony at the same time. On the stage, the desire for high creativity is combined with worries about the amount of film, the screenwriter, a man with disheveled hair, sits at a table surrounded by drafts and writes, repeating: “Not so, not subtly,” and the director despotically gives the actors instructions.

La La Land

Two ambitious young people constantly bump into each other in a crowded Los Angeles. Mia Dolan (Emma Stone) moved to Dreamer City to become an actress. Sebastian Wilder (Ryan Gosling) is going to devote his life to jazz. After another chance meeting, they decide to give a chance to a relationship, and their romance develops against the backdrop of sometimes disappointing professional searches. At some point, both of them have to make compromises with their dreams: Sebastian enters a group whose music he does not like, and Mia returns to Nevada to her parents after an unsuccessful performance.

The painting portrays Los Angeles as a stern yet magical world that is worth the potential to fail. Such a frank praise of the industry, of course, liked the Oscar. La La Land has received a record 14 nominations and six awards. The stories of the characters in the film echo the lives of the actors – for example, the scene where Mia’s dramatic monologue at the audition is interrupted by the producer’s phone call is based on a real case in Ryan Gosling’s career.

In general, Mia’s career resembles the path of Emma Stone: she dropped out of school at the age of 15 and moved to Los Angeles to become an actress.


Riggan Thompson (Michael Keaton) rose to fame as the superhero Birdman in the 90s. Now he dreams of returning with dignity to the public field as a serious actor – for this he took up the adaptation of Raymond Carver’s story on Broadway. However, a few days before the premiere, one of the actors falls out. The talented but problematic Mike Shiner (Edward Norton) comes to replace him: he gives unsolicited advice to the director, scares the actors with unexpected improvisations and passes off Riggan’s words in the press as his own. The former superhero himself does not differ in psychological resilience – he conducts dialogues with Birdman and fantasizes about the presence of super powers.

The picture subtly mocks the professional ways of real actors. Michael Keaton is best known for his role as Batman in the 90s, and Edward Norton has earned a reputation for being difficult to work with. Iñarritu said that during rehearsals he did the same thing as his character in the film – he commented on the script. Birdman explores the complex psychology of actors, whose personalities are strongly influenced by the characters they play. It is especially difficult for the stars to separate themselves from the roles with which they are associated with the whole world.

Since the film was filmed almost in one shot, without editing cuts, the actors had the opportunity to show their skills, and the picture itself took the main Oscar in 2015.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

In the 50s, Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) was the star of Westerns, but now he is having a hard time finding a decent job in Hollywood. He drinks a lot, complains about the life of his former stunt double and best friend Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), and hopes to befriend fashion director Roman Polanski, who lives next door. Rick gets his chance to shine professionally when he is cast as the villain in the new series Lancer. At first, the actor almost does not cope with the role, but after an emotional breakdown in the trailer he finds his talent spoiled by alcoholism and delightfully plays the scene.

The Hollywood Reporter called the film “Tarantino’s love letter to 60s Hollywood.” He does not try to assess the period, but enjoys nostalgia for one of the most expressive periods in the history of cinema and America in general. The script for the film, which the director wrote for five years, he called “the most personal.” The actors also brought a love of the craft and career stories to their roles. Brad Pitt gave his hero a phrase similar to the one that an indifferent colleague said to him in the 90s: “You’re Rick f *** ing Dalton! Don’t you forget that. ” And Leonardo DiCaprio completely improvised the scene in the trailer.