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Standing Ovation

Nathan Fillion on Ralph Fiennes in 'Hamlet'

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Nathan Fillion on Ralph Fiennes in 'Hamlet'
Photo Source: Ivan Kyncl
When I was on my first big acting job in New York, I happened to pass the theater where "Hamlet" was being performed. I was underdressed, but just as well because they only had standing room at the back available. Ralph Fiennes was playing the title role, and I marveled at how still he was. The whole stage available, he stood in the center, and while delivering Hamlet's monologue, he was still. Using only subtle expressions, and the power of his voice, he commanded an entire theater. Even I, standing way at the back, was enthralled.

At the time, I was very green, and flapped my arms incessantly while acting. Next time you watch any TV, look for it. Find the one making the rookie mistake of turning their palms up on every line. In closer shots, look for the telltale shrug that accompanies the flipping of the palms. It's a gesture that we indeed use in life, just not every time we start a sentence. For me, it was a crutch, and experiencing Mr. Fiennes' performance freed me from that crutch.

Nathan Fillion has appeared in such films as "Waitress," "Serenity," and "Slither" and such television series as "Desperate Housewives" and "Firefly." He currently stars as mystery writer Richard Castle on ABC's "Castle."

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