Saturday, May 16, 2009
Christian Bale wasn't the first to do it....
Edmund Kean rose to great popularity as an actor at the beginning of the 19th century, where his imperfect but impassioned performances fit into the new, Romantic sensibility. He and John Phillip Kemble, who represented the more classical school of acting and was famous not only for his talent but for the lengthy pauses he took between each word, shared a sort of cordial enemity that delighted newspapers.
Though Kemble was reserved and dignified, and probably treated Kean with a chilly gravity, Kean had a fierce temper. One evening, he played Othello with such passion, an admirer told him, "I really thoguht that you would have choked Iago, Mr. Kean! You seemed so tremendously in earnest."
Kean turned to his admirer in amazement and said, "In earnest! I should think so! Hang the fellow, he was trying to keep me out of focus."