×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Coaches on Euro role

Thesps across the pond hope to act more American

HOLLYWOOD — When it comes to acting lessons, the path between Europe and the U.S. has traditionally been one-way only.

It was European masters like Stanislavski, after all, who inspired many of America’s modern acting gurus and icons like Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler and Marlon Brando.

But the educational inspiration is now starting to flow the other way.

More and more acting coaches from the U.S. are spending time in cities from Paris to Rome to Moscow to London teaching aspiring European film actors to act more, well, American.

Bernard Hiller, who has been an acting coach in L.A. since 1990, led his first one-week seminar in Paris three years ago and now teaches regularly across the Continent, generating about 50% of his income there.

“They want to learn how to act like Pacino and De Niro,” he says of his European students.

Larry Moss, Bob McAndrew and Jack Waltzer are just some of the other prominent acting coaches from L.A. and New York who have found a big demand in Europe for their style of coaching.

Amy Werba, who trained with Lee Strasberg and now directs her own acting studio in Paris, says European students want to emulate the more naturalistic style of acting taught in America not only to increase their skills but to boost the international appeal of their films.

“They tend to be performing for the audience and don’t know as much how to be vulnerable,” she observes. “But with the growing number of international co-productions, they need a style that translates. In the global market, it’s the American style that has proven successful.”

Several of the coaches also find they are the first instructors to work with their students on career motivation.

“I’ve noticed a suffocation of hope about going as far as they’re able to,” observes Moss, who is teaching his first class in Paris. “Part of my job seems to be helping them gain the confidence to move into the international world of acting.”

The very concept of professional coaching for a role is, in fact, new to many European students, who are typically more used to one stint of state-sponsored training at university than paying for private lessons throughout their careers.

“Coaching is a newer thing there,” says McAndrew. “But because oftentimes American actors do films in Europe and have a coach, it’s starting to catch on.”

The phenomenon is still new enough that there’s not yet a direct impact on the films being made, but American coaches are working with some rising young European actors. Hiller, for instance, recently accompanied his student Cesare Cremonini to Cannes, where his film “Il Cuore Altrove” was in competition.

More than 50 years after groups like the Actors Studio and the Group Theater first brought Stanislavski’s style into prominence Stateside, it seems the students have become the teachers.

More Film

  • Bradley Cooper speaks at the 30th

    Producers Guild Shifts 2020 Awards Show to Hollywood Palladium

    The Producers Guild of America will hold its 31st Annual Producers Guild Awards at the Hollywood Palladium, shifting the site from the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The PGA had already announced that the show would take place on Jan. 18. The organization, which represents more than 8,000 producers, announced Thursday that it has launched a new [...]

  • Adam Driver appears in The Report

    Amazon’s ‘The Report’ Gets U.K. Theatrical Release Ahead of Streaming Launch

    Amazon Studio’s “The Report” will be released theatrically in the U.K. three weeks before it lands on the Prime Video streaming service. The Scott Z. Burns film tells the story of Daniel J. Jones, a U.S. Senate staffer who worked to reveal that truth about an “enhanced interrogation” program run by the CIA in the [...]

  • Elton John performing at Earls Court,

    Elton John Has a Message for Struggling LGBTQ Youth: 'Be Proud of Who You Are'

    Elton John isn’t at a loss for words when asked if he has a message for young LGBTQ people who are struggling with their sexuality or gender identity. In an exclusive interview with Variety at last month’s Cannes Film Festival, just hours before the world premiere of his long-in-the-works biopic “Rocketman,” John spoke candidly about the [...]

  • Salma Hayek Owen Wilson Bliss

    Salma Hayek, Owen Wilson to Star in Amazon's Sci-Fi Drama 'Bliss'

    Salma Hayek and Owen Wilson have signed on to star in Amazon’s science-fiction drama “Bliss,” with Mike Cahill directing from his own script. Wilson portrays a recently divorced man whose life is falling apart when he meets Hayek’s character, a woman who lives on the streets and is convinced that the polluted, broken world around [...]

  • Donald Glover Beyonce

    Beyoncé and Donald Glover Harmonize in 'Can You Feel the Love Tonight' Ad Preview

    Anyone who’s longed to hear Beyoncé and Donald Glover harmonizing got just enough to further whet the appetite in a first snippet of their version of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” that’s included in a new commercial for Disney’s upcoming “Lion King” remake. The TV spot lasts just 30 seconds, hardly time at all [...]

  • Pride Allies

    The Hollywood Allies Who Helped Protect, Advance the LGBTQ Community This Year

    Strong and proud as it is, the LGBTQ community’s fight for equality needs allies — from loving and accepting families to galvanized colleagues and corporations to the movie star you’ve never met calling for boycotts of a homophobic nation-state. Several of those queer supporters in Hollywood and music used the megaphones of social media, public [...]

  • 'Easy A' Spinoff in the Works

    'Easy A' Spinoff in the Works From Original Screenwriter (EXCLUSIVE)

    Nearly a decade after the success of “Easy A,” a spinoff of the coming-of-age comedy is in the works. Sources tell Variety that Screen Gems has appointed Bert Royal, who penned the first script, to write and direct the upcoming movie. Insiders stress that the film is still in early development, as Royal is still [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content