What I have been asked at some point in almost every interview I have had in the past 10 years, and am asked again and again after the six plays and five films that I’ve been lucky enough to have played central roles in over that time since I arrived in Hollywood, is some variation of the same question:
Why put yourself through the countless agonies, sadnesses, and rejections that actors are – to quote Shakespeare – “heir to”? Why go into a field to begin with where the odds are so overwhelmingly stacked against you, no matter your charms or your talents? Why chose the hardest profession to break into on the face of the earth? Are you a masochist or a fool? Do you have some pathologically desperate need to be famous, to be written about, envied, stared at?
The answer is NO.
Well, maybe a little bit, yes, but that’s not it. It’s really not. I swear it. Can’t you see how sincerely I’m saying all this? See the lump in my throat? The tear in my eye?
Everything you can accuse actors of may be true to some extent, but it’s more than that. Much, much, more than that. Seriously.
I wanted to be an actor ever since I was 8 years old and did my first play at the Stebens’ Children’s theatre in Mason City, Iowa. In the largest sense, I wanted to be an actor because I felt it was somehow my calling. Sounds pretentious, I know. But ask any actor, and they’ll tell you it’s true. I felt, from the very beginning, that I wanted to be part of that “family” of actors, who I feel proudly spend their lives giving of themselves to make audiences laugh, to make strangers cry, to make someone in the dark feel all the things they can possibly feel about life. To make audiences feel alive.
Starring in Henry Jaglom’s “Just 45 Minutes From Broadway,” first on the stage at the Edgemar Theatre in Santa Monica and now on movie screens across the country, is my way of taking a bow for all of those doing what I consider to be the bravest and gutsiest profession in the world. For me, “Just 45 Minutes From Broadway” is a tribute to all those actors and to all our dreams of becoming one of them. We get on the stages and we get in front of the cameras that allow us to be there, and we try to share with the audiences a few feet in front of us – or thousands of miles away – all that it means to be human.
I hope that all actors will see themselves in our films and continue to struggle against all the continuous odds that are put against them and will continue to be put against them. To share with the Isaacs’ family in the film their endless battle to entertain, to touch, to amuse, and to move people sitting out there in the dark of their lives, and to shine a little of our footlights onto them.
“45 Minutes from Broadway” will be released on Oct. 1. All actors presenting their SAG-AFTRA or Equity cards will be admitted free of charge to the Laemmle Theatres.