Some actors play themselves in every role they take. Moviegoers see their movies because they like the image which that actor projects.
But other actors are character actors. They disappear into the role. If they play the role of Napoleon, they read biographies of Napoleon to help themselves get into the role. To think like Napoleon. Gesture like Napoleon.
There’s a tension in acting. Many actors try to be realistic. Yet there’s something fundamentally unrealistic about acting. And that’s not just because the actor is pretending to be someone different.
An actor has read the script. He knows what happens next. He knows what will happen in every scene.
An actor has memorized his lines. Frequently, he has also memorized the lines of the costar.
He will practice his lines in front of the mirror. Practice different facial expressions. Practice different intonations.
In a dialogue with his costar, the actor knows what he is going to say next, and he also knows what his costar is going to say next.
Of course, real life isn’t like that. We don’t know what the other person is going to say before they say it. As a result, we don’t know what we’re going to say in response to what they say.
We also don’t know from one day to the next what’s going to happen from one day to the next. We know our own past. We know other bits and pieces of the past. But we’re profoundly ignorant of the future.
Yet an actor ties to immerse himself in his role. Learn everything he can about the character so that he will be in character when the director begins shooting.
Not only does the actor know in advance who will say what when and do what when, but the director rehearses every scene. And he frequently does several takes until the actors get it just right.
But, of course, in real life, we don’t get to go back and reshoot a scene if we’re dissatisfied with how things went the first time around.
So acting is paradoxical. An actor, to be realistic, has to feign ignorance. He must pretend to be wholly unconscious of what he’s acutely conscious of. Part of acting is acting as if he doesn’t know what’s coming next. Acting as if he’s reacting.
And this illustrates the psychological difference between fatalism and the psychology of predestination.
In fatalism, the agent knows what’s going to happen to him before it takes place. And that makes him very self-conscious–as if he’s peering over his own shoulder every step of the way.
By contrast, a Calvinist knows there is a script, but he hasn’t read it. He only learns the plot by living.
An Arminian doesn’t even know there’s a script. He denies it. Ironically, he was scripted to deny the very existence of the script.