Dean Martin: “Actin’ is reactin’, you know? Think what you’re thinkin’.”

Excerpt from Peter Bogdanovich’s Who the Hell’s in It: Conversations with Hollywood’s Legendary Actors:

Peter Bogdonavich writes:

We got on the subject of acting drama, as opposed to comedy, and how he prepared for a serious role. “I just kinda think the way the part is, you know?” He leaned forward in his chair. “I kinda think back to somethin’ that’s happened to me,” he continued. “Like in Rio Bravo — there was a scene I was supposed to be very sad in, supposed to cry even. So I thought about a time I was unhappy – time my son, little Dino, was very sick – and that helped me. I kinda used those feelin’s I had then.” He sighed deeply. “Before I started that picture, I went to Brando and he helped me out a little bit. Told me to listen. Actin’ is reactin’, you know? Think what you’re thinkin’.”

The image of him going to Brando for acting coaching is so moving to me. And that excerpt above makes me think of John Wayne, who always said, “I am not an actor. I am a reactor.”

More about Rio Bravo:

Martin went on to tell me that Rio Bravo director Howard Hawks had so correctly sensed the actor’s anxiety about this key emotional scene – to be played in a stable with John Wayne – that he saved it for the last one Dean did on th emovie. A little over a year after interviewing Martin, I first met Hawks, who confirmed to me that the scene had purposely been held for last. “And he did a hell of a good job of it,” Hawks said. “He really found out he could act in that thing and it was a great scene. He worked so hard … The ones who are good, work.”

This entry was posted in Actors and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Dean Martin: “Actin’ is reactin’, you know? Think what you’re thinkin’.”

  1. Dan says:

    Excellent execellent movie.

  2. red says:

    Dan – I saw it on your recommendation! It was when I first discovered Howard Hawks and was blithering about his whole male-female battle of the sexes thing and you told me i HAD to see Rio Bravo. If I never thanked you, then that is totally my bad. Thank you!!

Comments are closed.