There are two performances by actors that stick in my mind as transcending acting. In both performances I had not see the actors before which helped bring a sense of heightened reality to the roles they played. And both come down to a single scene that burned into my memory. One was Denzel Washington and his role in Glory when he was being whipped, and the other was Scott Glenn’s role in Urban Cowboy when he drinks from a bottle of tequilla and eats the worm.
Glenn had actually been kicking around Hollywood for 15 years by the time he played the tough ex-con in Urban Cowboy. But as he approached 40 he had given up on Hollywood and moved to Idaho with his wife and family. His agent talked him into auditioning for the role and the rest is history. From then on the former Marine was a Hollywood movie star.
What I remember when I watched his performance is that I thought, “This guy isn’t an actor, he’s a real bad ass.” Glenn has said he picks roles not for the story but whether or not the character interests him as something he wants to spend four months doing. But there is a Glenn quote I remembered reading years ago that I thought would be a fitting quote of the day.
I couldn’t find the original quote but did find one in the same vane where in speaking about his decision to move to Ketchum, Idaho back in 1978 Glenn said:
“My plan was to get a job as a bartender and apprentice myself out as a cross-country ski guide for hunting and fishing and do Shakespeare in the park in Boise during the summer until the kids were older.”
That’s a spirit I can appreciate.