HBO Max’s ‘The Last Movie Stars’ is a documentary series that is honestly much more than just the story of renowned actors, philanthropists, and golden couple Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. It is also a doorway for us to get a real glimpse into the complex, beautiful, taxing yet fulfilling art form of acting as well as the way the entire entertainment industry has evolved over the decades. The one thing that hasn’t changed, though, is the sheer passion of the performers who arguably make each production come to life, which is why most of them know Elia Kazan’s Actor’s Vow.
What is the Actor’s Vow by Elia Kazan?
Elia Kazan (1909-2003) was a film/theatre director, producer, screenwriter, and actor who played a crucial role in bringing both Broadway as well as Hollywood the high prestige it is known for today. That’s why he was referred to as not only “one of the most honored and influential directors” in history by the New York Times but also “everybody’s God” by director Ethan Hawke in this six-part original. “I mean, he was Paul Thomas Anderson, [Steven] Spielberg, and Quentin [Tarantino] rolled into one,” the ‘Before Sunrise’ star explained to highlight the filmmaker’s absolute importance.
However, the one aspect that stands out above all else is the fact his Actors Studio (a non-profit workshop he co-founded for fellow artists in 1947) introduced the technique of Method Acting. His work in this enterprise, along with the experience he garnered both in front of the cameras and behind, seemingly gave him a complete insight into what being an actor really means. It thus comes as no surprise he penned the Actor’s Vow, just for it to soon become a performer’s tenet. It says;
“I will take my rightful place on stage
and I will be myself.
I am not a cosmic orphan.
I have no reason to be timid.
I will respond as I feel;
I will have my throat open,
I will have my heart open,
I will be vulnerable.
I may have anything or everything
the world has to offer, but the thing
I need most and want most,
is to be myself.
I will admit rejection, admit pain,
admit frustration, admit even pettiness,
admit shame, admit outrage,
admit anything and everything
that happens to me.
The best and most human parts of
me are those I have inhabited
and hidden from the world.
I will work on it.
I will raise my voice.
I will be heard.”
Read More: Where is Joanne Woodward Now?