Saturday, February 21, 2009

Richard Jenkins and the Oscars

We don't have cable here at Casa D'Ammassa, and have no plans to subscribe. We are DVD people and don't even have to worry about the switch to digital broadcasting.

Richard Jenkins is the real deal. He came to Rhode Island four decades ago as an apprentice actor at the Trinity Repertory Company, my hometown theatre. One of the great sorrows of American theatre is that Jenkins, honest to god, loves making movies more than he likes being on stage. It is a great personal solace that as a child I saw him in a few roles on stage, including his unforgettable turn as Eddie in Sam Shepard's Fool For Love. Jenkins commanded that stage like a tiger on a threadbare leash.

Jenkins not only has talent, he has the discipline and work ethic that could give acting a good name if he got the celebrity attention. He never moved to Los Angeles: he still lives in Cumberland, Rhode Island (near Providence Zen Center, as a matter of fact) with his wife Sharon, and sometimes turns up in the audience at Trinity. He came to see our production of Shaw's Saint Joan in 1999 and paid me a compliment -- I can name the date. I was high for days. He made a successful film career without leaving his community.

Richard Jenkins, who I still think of as a Trinity Rep company member, nominated for the Best Actor Oscar. How about that. He is up against Sean Penn and other glamorous people.

I'm not betting on him beating Sean Penn, but if he did, good for the Academy. Richard Jenkins is the kind of actor I wish more people knew about.


Pam said...

I've always enjoyed Jenkins' performances. I watche "Six Feet Under" until the ended. "Something About Mary" is one of the funniest movies I've ever seen. I can laugh just thinking about it.

I've not seen "The Visitor". In fact, I don't think I've seen any of the movies nominated this year. Some of them like "Slumdog Millionaire" hold zero interest for me. Others I will eventually see on DVD or On Demand.

Interesting the info on Jenkins you provided. I did not know all of this!

I'm a Jenkins fan.

Wonji Dharma said...

Thanks for this, now I'll have to go and watch this movie.

quid said...

I love Jenkins and missed "The Visitor". I'm psyched to see he is a real life hero of yours.

Penn was good as Milk, playing against type...but there's something sort of dishonest about him and his roles. He was nominated for "I Am Sam", too, but for me, it is like he studies the type of character, and then copies.

The real Oscar Actor this time, in my humble, was Frank Langella as the delighful Richard Milhouse. Having lived through the time and the real interview, I was completely drawn into him as Tricky Dick, humbled by time and crime to blurt out the real reason he was impeached. That he felt the President could do whatever he wanted. Remind us of someone?


Algernon said...

The kind of acting that studies and copies a character has a lot of ardent admirers. There are "outside-in" actors and "inside-out" actors, but the best actors transcend these opposites.