Marlon: No one taught me to act, but Stella [Adler] taught me how to apply what I had. That's all a teacher can do: no one can teach acting, but the myth, the con, the lure endures, and people hurl themselves into that dark tunnel over and over again. Canaries dying in the toxic gases!
If Tenn said that God makes an artist, the canvas, then my canvas was stretched and put on a rack in my childhood. I had a father who always wanted to know when I would get a job, amount to something, get a bigger dick, help out around the house. My mother was the one who read to me and told me there was life out there, this magical kingdom somewhere beyond the city limits. She was beautiful and sweet and a drunk. We cleaned her up a lot and sobered her up, so my father wouldn't hit her or us, so we all were acting, pretending, lying at an early age. Is that where it started? Maybe. I don't know. I don't really want to know. I just want to get up and make something and share something and forget about now. You know, even after you have money and space and live in a better city with better things, you wonder about out there. I met Pablo Picasso, knew him a bit, and he felt the same way--get me out of the here and now and help me make something that will last out there, in the future, in the dreams of other people who've had their canvas stretched and are wondering what to put on it.
Acting should be terminal. That's what Stella told me; that's what Kazan also believed. If something big isn't at stake--if everything isn't at stake--why bother? Why show up? Why apply anything to it at all? Someone is out there dreaming and asking questions and wondering why he was born. Some guy is out there with a father who beats him and tells him he's a loser with a lousy dick and no chance in hell of amounting to anything. Well, what do I tell him? How do I reach out to him and tell him a story? There's a girl out there who doesn't have a mother to teach her how to take care of a house or a man or herself, and what do I tell her? What's the story for her? It's in the text somewhere; it's in my heart and my mind somewhere, and I spend all my time and energy and love trying to find it, trying to transmit it. That's what I think acting should be. You honor the playwright's words, and you find a character out of those words, and you marry the director in your heart and you follow him and pray he follows you. Does this make any sense?