Fourth year drama students at UNCSA don't have a spring break. Instead, we have rehearsal. But those of us who worked to finish academics before the fourth year are free to do with ourselves what we wish during academic finals week (the week before spring break).
I have never been in the presence of a star of the caliber of Christopher Walken. Part of the amazement was that I was in the mezzanine and I still felt his presence. Fifteen seconds into the show I realized that becoming a star has more to do with opportunity and luck; this man threw down one of the most amazing performances I've ever seen, all while seeming to use the amount of energy it would take one to throw a paper wad into a trash can - not the amount of energy it would take to throw a no-hitter baseball game. If I lived in NYC, I would throw down cash to see this show twice a week as long as he was in it.
What is this thing that he has (it's beyond craft and technique)? You hear about the 'it' factor....the 'it' factor is something that every person in show business wishes for. But what is 'it', and how do you attain it? After the show, I got online and watched interview after interview of Mr. Walken and read review after review of the show (here is Mr. Ben Brantley's, which I agree with the most) trying to uncover.....what? Mr. Walken's gift, approach, wisdom?
In this video interview that I've posted, Mr. Walken talks about himself and his talent. He says that he's aware of who he is and what he is as a package. He even addresses the impressions people do of him and says he has no idea what their doing. In another interview he did on The View, one of the ladies asks him to impersonate himself and he laughs and says he can't. That makes sense, I thought. How can you impersonate something that you're not putting on?
Ah. That's key: He's. Not. Putting. On. He clearly embraces who he is as a human being, and how he fits into the entertainment industry. He brings 100% of himself. Not what people want him to be, not what people expect from him, not what he wishes himself to be - but himself. And, as my favorite acting teacher Laura Henry says, how can there ever be competition in acting if you allow yourself to bring 100% of yourself? There is no one else in the world who is you.
This can be a difficult thing to when you're you - Little 21-year-old completely unknown almost professional actress Jasmine Osborne. But when you look at it in terms of Christopher Walken, it helps me to trust it. Can anyone ever compete with Christopher Walken to be Christopher Walken? Absolutely not. Have there been parts that Mr. Walken has wanted, or auditioned for, and not won? I'm sure of it. It is the business. But has he lost those parts because he's not as talented as the person who was cast? I'm equally sure that that is not the case. The case would simply be that the casting director was looking for a different brand of talent. A different kind of person bringing 100% of who they are.
So, Mr. Walken. I'm sure that you'll never see this blog that me, little 21-year-old completely unknown almost professional actress Jasmine Osborne has written. But if you do: Thank you not only for your work, but for helping me take a step in trusting what I have to offer that no one else does or ever will.
--Jasmine Anne Osborne