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How do you think actors make themselves cry on film? [Archive] - DVD Talk Forum
 
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View Full Version : How do you think actors make themselves cry on film?


The Infidel
07-23-09, 11:33 PM
This is something I think about occasionally, mostly when watching a film or TV show where an actor/actress cries for the scene they're in. How do they do it? I'm sure some actors are actually able to make themselves really, truly cry at the drop of a hat, while others just act like they're crying and never shed a single tear (which is something I know bugs the heck out of TEK). But let's face it, "real" crying is still acting, meaning there's got to be some universal thing that most, if not all, of them do to bring on the tears. I have my own theory, but I'd like to hear what others think.


And yes...I'm bored.

TomOpus
07-23-09, 11:46 PM
Sounds more like a Movie Talk thread.

From what I've heard from actors/actresses, each person needs to find a place that pushes their emotions externally. I would imagine most would use the death of a loved one to bring one to that point.

The Infidel
07-23-09, 11:47 PM
Sounds more like a Movie Talk thread.
Well, I referred to film and TV both, but the question is more about methods to accomplish a physical task, so I thought it was general enough to go here.

Cardsfan111
07-23-09, 11:48 PM
[Bill Raftery]Onions![/Bill Raftery]

benh911
07-23-09, 11:57 PM
Yeah, I always figured they just thought of something really sad that happened in their lives.

Psi
07-23-09, 11:57 PM
They think about Bandoman.

Living Dead
07-24-09, 01:48 AM
When I was a theatre major in college (yeah, I know... waste of time) we were taught a process that they called Emotional Memory. It was a Stanislavski process from "The Actor Prepares"... a great book, btw. Basically, you just think of something terribly painful that happened to you, relive it as though it's happening that second, and it makes you cry. It's what a lot of method actors do. So if you see Christian Bale crying because the Joker killed his parents, he might really be thinking about his first goldfish that died when he was a kid and how sad it made him.

It doesn't have to just be tears either. You could be wanting to portray fear, so you recall a time when maybe you were in a car accident and thought you might die. Then you use those memories in the performance.

It works for lots of emotions.

kvrdave
07-24-09, 01:56 AM
I could do it. I'd think about Spock dying on the other side of the glass in STII. If that doesn't work, I'd imagine when Capt. Kirk finds out that the Klingon bastards killed his son. Either one would do it.

Living Dead
07-24-09, 02:00 AM
The only movie I can think of that ever made me cry was "Eye of God." I'd think about that movie. I felt like someone had run me over with their car by the end of it.

kvrdave
07-24-09, 02:02 AM
Perhaps I did a poor job explaining. There were Klingons, who were bastards, and they killed James T. Kirk's son. My lower jaw in trembling as I type that.

tronmaster
07-24-09, 02:44 AM
I think they go see her:

<object width="560" height="340"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/AZW9NYX6JZA&hl=en&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/AZW9NYX6JZA&hl=en&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="560" height="340"></embed></object>

Dr Mabuse
07-24-09, 08:16 AM
They think about the outrageous 17 hour days they have to work for millions and millions of dollars, and those annoying peons who constantly want to talk to them at work.

Waterworks.

Goat3001
07-24-09, 08:23 AM
What you see when an actor cries is his face. What you don't see is his hands in his pockets and him pinching his balls.

Matthew Ackerly
07-24-09, 09:03 AM
Sometimes they just use eyedrops that sting and make u tear up. that simple.

The Infidel
07-24-09, 09:11 AM
Here's my theory:

Watch an actor or actress in a scene where they cry. In just about every instance I've seen, they never blink. See how long you can keep your eyes open without blinking before your eyes start watering up. I keep hearing all these ideas over the years about spraying things in their eyes or dredging up bad memories and such, and I think it's just avoiding blinking until they well up, and then they act the rest of it.

I first noticed this when I watched Tom Cruise in Cocktail a long time ago, in the scene where he read Doug's suicide note. The entire time he sat there with the camera on him, he never blinked a single time, and by the time he got through the note the tears were there. I started watching other actors in other things, and it's the same with every one of them: no blinking.

rexinnih
07-24-09, 09:23 AM
They think about the outrageous 17 hour days they have to work for millions and millions of dollars, and those annoying peons who constantly want to talk to them at work.

Waterworks.

Tears me up also thinking about the pain they have to go through each and every day. Heroes one and all.

dom56
07-24-09, 09:45 AM
They just have to remember seeing Old Yeller.

Mabuse
07-24-09, 11:15 AM
Here's my theory:

Watch an actor or actress in a scene where they cry. In just about every instance I've seen, they never blink. See how long you can keep your eyes open without blinking before your eyes start watering up. I keep hearing all these ideas over the years about spraying things in their eyes or dredging up bad memories and such, and I think it's just avoiding blinking until they well up, and then they act the rest of it.

I first noticed this when I watched Tom Cruise in Cocktail a long time ago, in the scene where he read Doug's suicide note. The entire time he sat there with the camera on him, he never blinked a single time, and by the time he got through the note the tears were there. I started watching other actors in other things, and it's the same with every one of them: no blinking.
In general actors avoid blinking in any dramatic scene, even ones that don't involve crying. It's a strange trick, but not blinking somehow makes you look serious, engaged, intense, emotional, etc. You don't need Stanislovski or the method, if you don't blink you can fake your way through a scene quit well. Watch a couple films and look for the blinks. Tom Cruise is intense because he never blinks, Nicholas Cage is vulnerable because he blinks all the time, neither one of these guys is a "great" performer, they just know the tools of their trade.

Walter Murch has a whole editing theory about "cutting on the blinks" that basicly boils down to the idea that the human mind (or at least the actor's mind) instinctively knows where there is a beat in a scene, and that beat normally triggers a blink. By cutting on those blinks a scene will usually find a very compelling rythem. He claims this is how he edited The Conversation, he just looked for Gene Hackman's blinks, and they were constantly at moments where the shot had played itself out and a new angle or cut-away was neccessary.

naitram
07-24-09, 11:56 AM
pepper spray

Super X
07-24-09, 01:08 PM
What you see when an actor cries is his face. What you don't see is his hands in his pockets and him pinching his balls.

I vaguely remember an interview, I think it was with Kurt Russell (but I might be wrong), where the actor said thathe had a hole in his pocket and when needed to cry, he'd pull out a pube.

RocShemp
07-24-09, 02:07 PM
pepper spray

It worked for Ned Flanders.

Numanoid
07-24-09, 02:15 PM
Some people can do it, some people can't. The really bad ones have to use glycerine tears, which are obviously fake because of how slowly they travel down the cheek.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affective_memory

DRG
07-24-09, 03:30 PM
Imagine the director has been fired and replaced with Uwe Boll.

writer106
07-24-09, 03:39 PM
Wes Craven told Drew Barrymore stories of animal torture and how animals are killed for food to make her cry for the crying scenes in Scream. Maybe actors do similar things like they thinking about really sad things or events in their lives. I can't remember which actress it was but I remember reading an article were an actress said that for crying scenes she thought about her deceased grandmother.

Dean Kousoulas
07-25-09, 01:18 AM
Whenever I want to cry on cue I usually just think of my deceased father.

This acting stuff ain't so hard after all...

Navinabob
07-25-09, 02:50 AM
Look at Joey when he needed to get his appendix out.

The Edit King
07-25-09, 04:22 PM
All I have to do is think about...*sniff*...OtterVille being closed...*sniff*...for maintenance...*sniff-sniff*... http://bestsmileys.com/crying/6.gif

kstublen
07-25-09, 07:57 PM
I'm sure it differs for each actor. I imagine some of them think about deceased relatives or traumatic events in their lives. I'm sure others use more artificial means. I also think that some of them get very emotionally involved in a character or scene, that they are genuinely upset at what is going on. I mean, if a movie can make someone cry, I don't see why it might also make one of the actors cry as well.