I can't tell you how many times I've heard that theater actors don't make good television and film actors. There is this misconception that theater creates large performances that make actors too loud, too broad and too...well, just TOO MUCH.
I guess that Bryan Cranston, Zachary Quinto and Cherry Jones didn't get that memo.
A few months ago I had the pleasure of seeing Zachary and Cherry in The Glass Menagerie on Broadway at The Booth Theater. It was stunning. The mastery of the craft was evident throughout the play. Within the first few lines of Tom's opening monologue, I felt tears of appreciation welling up in my eyes. I knew Zachary to be a great film and tv actor, creating compelling characters for Star Trek and Heroes to name just two. But I'd didn't know he was THAT. That beautiful, connected, lyric actor who can adjust to any text and any medium.
And, again, we see it in Bryan Cranston's tour de force performance on Boston's American Repertory Theatre stage as LBJ. If you have any thought that Cranston's time as Walter White will color all his performances, read this review on The Boston Globe.
Theater may require larger performances, but good acting is good acting. Good actors learn the skills, the basics, the form, the nuances. They learn to control their egos, their voices, and their bodies. They learn to analyze a text and bring their unique perspective to it. They take us on journeys that inform, inspire and connect us to all that is great, all that is fallible, and all that is human.
So next time someone tells you not to do theater because it will ruin your acting for film and television - tell 'em that Walter White aka Heisenberg says, "remember my name."