Orson Welles on the Art of Acting: ‘There is a Villain in Each of Us’

An actor, said Orson Welles, creates a truthful performance by looking into his or her own character and selectively taking things away. “There is a villain in each of us, a murderer in each of us, a fascist in each of us, a saint in each of us, and the actor is the man or woman who can eliminate from himself those things which will interfere with that truth.” The comments are from a public talk Welles gave late in his life, and are preserved in this scene from the 1995 documentary by Vassili Silovic and Oja Kodar, Orson Welles: The One-Man Band.

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  • actors says:

    Schools and instructors spend a great deal of time focusing on performing. This is what brings students into classes and workshops and soon it becomes addictive. Being able to perform and receive accolades is the drug of choice, one that is widely exploited by the teaching community. It’s what keeps students enrolled and brings them back for another fix again and again.

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