Jean-Louis Rodrigue, a teacher at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, the Larry Moss and Howard Fine Acting Studios, and coach for numerous film and theater actors, is an expert in the Alexander Technique (he is a founder of the Alexander Training Institute of Los Angeles) and a "movement specialist." He recently worked with Chris Pine for his physically demanding role in Martin McDonagh's play The Lieutenant of Inishmore at LA's Mark Taper Forum, and helped Josh Brolin to prep for the title role as George Bush in W.. Rodrigue has made a study of the evolving role of masculinity in film. We talked at length about how our shifting culture is changing the way male characters are written and portrayed, and what it means to be an American Man in 2010.
The allure of a great actor, Rodrigue believes, comes down to the fact that "nothing is more attractive than clarity." It's particularly tough for a man to have clarity (in himself, what he wants, and where he is going) in this tenuous cultural, social, economic and political climate (which has been called "the end of men"). That clarity is essential for the wide-appeal movie stars that ambitious actors want to be. Below, Rodrigue discusses the state of American men on film:
PART 1: He introduces his work and discusses the evolving identity of men in society and on screen:
PART 2: The actors he has worked with, including Pine and Brolin; and the "expression of a man":
PART 3: The men on screen today; DiCaprio (Inception and Shutter Island), Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right), John C. Reilly (Cyrus), Robert Pattinson and vampire males (Twilight), Jon Hamm (Mad Men, The Town) and the old school leading men - Grant, Dean, et al:
PART 4: The lack of American actors who can channel traditional masculinity, and why foreign actors dominate masculine roles (Crowe, Clive Owen, etc); how Americans Pitt, Clooney and Damon differ; and how Newman and Dean shifted into a new masculinity:
PART 5: How action films and their stars have changed (Sam Worthington in Avatar, Angelina Jolie in Salt); the balancing of men and women; maintaining a balance of characters:
PART 6: On our changing culture, Josh Brolin, Taylor Kitsch, the femininity and worship of Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner and Zac Efron, and the biology of attraction: