Babylon Nights Question #1 ~ The Actor's Responsibility

by Daniel Depp

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Babylon Nights Question #1 ~ The Actor's Responsibility

Unread postby Liz » Fri Jan 07, 2011 1:11 pm

Welcome to our discussion of Babylon Nights by Daniel Depp.

Along with DITHOT, my scorpion buddies and I are really excited for it to begin. :bounce:

We want to remind you of a couple of things before we begin, though….


• Please try to keep your answers to the question of the day so as not to discuss the entire book at once!

• Feel free to go back and contribute to any question at any time during the discussion.

• And the #1 ONBC RULE: THERE ARE NO WRONG ANSWERS--Only ideas and discussion.
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So without further ado, I bring you our first question:


Pg. 39:


“Maybe Mr. Spandau would like to apologize….”

“No,” said Spandau, “I don’t think he would. Mr. Spandau is trying to make a point. You spend your life trying to create a fantasy so real that people cross the line into a world you’ve created. Sadly, some of them never make it back again.”

“What are you saying? That every :censored: film we make, we have to worry about what one :censored: loon out of a million is going to do with it? I didn’t make this guy crazy. He’s crazy because he can’t tell the difference between make-believe and real life. I didn’t do this to him. He walked into the :censored: movie theater crazy. Mr. Spandau. It didn’t happen while he was there.”


Do you think that actors really create a fantasy? What responsibility do they have in causing a psycho to snap?
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #1 ~ The Actor's Responsibility

Unread postby shadowydog » Fri Jan 07, 2011 2:07 pm

I don't think so. Actors follow a script; so is it the writer's fault? Actors follow the vision of the director; is it the director's fault? The movie is not responsible for the state of somebody's mind. As was stated in the passage, the person came into the theater already disturbed. The disturbed person is the one who entered the fantasy and couldn't find their way back out. This sometimes leads to tragedy (think John Lennon); but the victim is the person being stalked; not the stalker.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #1 ~ The Actor's Responsibility

Unread postby nebraska » Fri Jan 07, 2011 2:07 pm

Some time ago I bought a copy of the book Johnny Depp Starts Here. I have never quite been able to force myself to read more than a few pages :hypnotic: but this is what I got out of what I read. There are many layers to a celebrity like Johnny. There is the Johnny Depp (aka John) who is the real person his family and intimate friends know, who is a real as the rest of us in daily life. Then there is Johnny Depp the celebrity, who puts on the pubic persona for publicity appearances, interviews, red carpet walks, etc. - and that persona is almost as much a character as the roles he plays in the movies. I suppose a lot of us do that as well when circumstances dictate it, put on our best behavior etc. And then there is Johnny Depp the actor who is the celebrity playing a character role for the movie camera.

We tend to feel we really know the celebrity based on this public persona, which may or may not be the same as the private person. I suppose creating that middle area, the public persona in its various hues, carries a certain responsibility with it because most of us take that seriously and many people imitate what they see. It is probably a responsibility to be well mannered and honest and as a good an example as possible when in that "public" mode.

But I think what is going to cause a psycho to snap is beyond the control of a celebrity - or most anyone else for that matter. If anything in the entertainment industry is responsible for psychos, I think it is the movie content and the violent visuals rather than individual actors.

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #1 ~ The Actor's Responsibility

Unread postby Liz » Fri Jan 07, 2011 2:47 pm

Great start to the discussion, ladies! :ok: I want to thank you both for starting us off. I see you both posted at exactly the same moment.


nebraska wrote:If anything in the entertainment industry is responsible for psychos, I think it is the movie content and the violent visuals rather than individual actors.

I would agree to some extent with this....that in some personalities, movies and TV shows can trigger something in an already sick individual or give him/her ideas. But it is the content, not the actor. And even then, I feel that not enough responsibility is put on the individual who perpetrates the crime. If the individual was already psychotic enough to commit violent acts, that person would not need movies to inspire him or her. And in my humble opinion, a movie or actor is not going to have any affect on a healthy individual.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #1 ~ The Actor's Responsibility

Unread postby Linda Lee » Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:21 pm

Do you think that actors really create a fantasy? What responsibility do they have in causing a psycho to snap?

I believe actors create a fantasy (the same could be said for authors), that is what most movies are. We as fans enter this world and suspend our realities whiile viewing the creation on the screen, whether it's the world of pirates, gangsters or a love story,
but when we walk out of the theater or turn off the dvd player it is back to reality and our everyday lives. Most of us seem to be able to handle this without a problem.


Although what Mr. Spandau is talking about is actor's who extend that fantasy into real life and lead us to believe that the fantasy can be reality. Even so, I don't feel actors are at fault if a psycho snaps, that person was already sick who knows what the cause and what actually pushes them over the edge.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #1 ~ The Actor's Responsibility

Unread postby shadowydog » Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:28 pm

Liz wrote:Great start to the discussion, ladies! :ok: I want to thank you both for starting us off. I see you both posted at exactly the same moment.


nebraska wrote:If anything in the entertainment industry is responsible for psychos, I think it is the movie content and the violent visuals rather than individual actors.

I would agree to some extent with this....that in some personalities, movies and TV shows can trigger something in an already sick individual or give him/her ideas. But it is the content, not the actor. And even then, I feel that not enough responsibility is put on the individual who perpetrates the crime. If the individual was already psychotic enough to commit violent acts, that person would not need movies to inspire him or her. And in my humble opinion, a movie or actor is not going to have any affect on a healthy individual.


So you feel the writers and the movies/shows directors, special effects people etc who create the illusion that sets off a psychotic person. What about today's games that suck young people into a world of violence and perhaps desensitize them to death and violence?
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #1 ~ The Actor's Responsibility

Unread postby gypsy3377 » Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:49 pm

What happened to personal responsibility? Why does everything have to be someone elses fault?

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #1 ~ The Actor's Responsibility

Unread postby ladylinn » Fri Jan 07, 2011 4:32 pm

I feel that the actor's responsibility in films is to bring the character he/she is portraying to life so the story can be told. That is his job and when they do it well the film is a success. When the film is completed or when the film is viewed it is time to move back to the real world. I guess that it has been proven that at times films or characters can influence people to act inappropately. It is the responsibility of these people to define reality and make-believe. I agree that this type of person was dealing with reality before seeing the film.

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #1 ~ The Actor's Responsibility

Unread postby Liz » Fri Jan 07, 2011 4:57 pm

gypsy3377 wrote:What happened to personal responsibility? Why does everything have to be someone elses fault?

Exactly.

Why should the bad behavior of a few affect the viewing pleasure of the rest of us?

This premise has always bothered me—when my life is inconvenienced by the acts of a few. To me it is similar to when the teacher punishes an entire classroom because 4 or 5 kids misbehaved……or the entire group on a team project gets dinged because 1 or 2 of the team didn’t pull their own weight.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #1 ~ The Actor's Responsibility

Unread postby Liz » Fri Jan 07, 2011 5:03 pm

shadowydog wrote:
Liz wrote:Great start to the discussion, ladies! :ok: I want to thank you both for starting us off. I see you both posted at exactly the same moment.


nebraska wrote:If anything in the entertainment industry is responsible for psychos, I think it is the movie content and the violent visuals rather than individual actors.

I would agree to some extent with this....that in some personalities, movies and TV shows can trigger something in an already sick individual or give him/her ideas. But it is the content, not the actor. And even then, I feel that not enough responsibility is put on the individual who perpetrates the crime. If the individual was already psychotic enough to commit violent acts, that person would not need movies to inspire him or her. And in my humble opinion, a movie or actor is not going to have any affect on a healthy individual.


So you feel the writers and the movies/shows directors, special effects people etc who create the illusion that sets off a psychotic person. What about today's games that suck young people into a world of violence and perhaps desensitize them to death and violence?

I would put it in the same category as the content of films or TV. However, I don't view it as a given that it desensitizes them to violence. I happen to know 3 young men who are avid gamers, and they are anything but violent or desensitized to viewing it. Again, I think it is about the individual and that individual's particular personality, sensitivity or mental health.

ladylinn, I agree with your definition of an actor's responsibility.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #1 ~ The Actor's Responsibility

Unread postby Liz » Fri Jan 07, 2011 5:08 pm

Linda Lee wrote:
Although what Mr. Spandau is talking about is actor's who extend that fantasy into real life and lead us to believe that the fantasy can be reality.

Linda Lee, can you elaborate on this? I'm not sure I understand. :dunce: But I feel that it might be key to this discussion.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #1 ~ The Actor's Responsibility

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Jan 07, 2011 6:59 pm

Nice start, Noodlemantras! :cool: I've been out in the world of fantasy today at the movies. (I sawThe King's Speech. and I give it a hearty :thumbsup: :thumbsup: )

I agree that the actor is not responsible. Some prefer more publicity than others but a disturbed individual is going to lock on to something or someone that may or may not be famous, we tend to hear about the famous ones.

What responsibility does the culture of celebrity bring to the discussion? We glorify and magnify the importance of famous people, devote entire tv shows, magazines, etc to it (which of course brings in $$ and creates more $$). Not all countries and cultures put quite the same size magnifying glass to things and people.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #1 ~ The Actor's Responsibility

Unread postby Betty Sue » Fri Jan 07, 2011 7:38 pm

Do the actors create a fantasy? We hope they do. If they're talented, they do. That's what we're there for!!
What responsibility do they have in causing a psycho to snap? By definition a psycho is deranged, crazy, insane. It would be impossible to avoid all possibilities for pushing such an individual over the brink. Any improbable trigger might do it, so I don't see how an actor could be to blame.
Actors could take the responsibility not to make films that could influence some in the audience to be violent or promiscuous or lawbreakers, etc., but I don't think, sadly, there's too much they can do to avoid setting off a psycho.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #1 ~ The Actor's Responsibility

Unread postby Linda Lee » Fri Jan 07, 2011 7:46 pm

Liz wrote:
Linda Lee wrote:
Although what Mr. Spandau is talking about is actor's who extend that fantasy into real life and lead us to believe that the fantasy can be reality.

Linda Lee, can you elaborate on this? I'm not sure I understand. :dunce: But I feel that it might be key to this discussion.



"It doesn't end there, though, does it? How many people have you got who help you carry that fantasy right out the door?" - Spandau

He goes on to mention talk shows and press conferences and photo shoots that continue the fantasy of the actor's desirability, sex appeal, perfection. I took this to mean, it's the actors who want to call attention to themselves, those who have a love affair with publicity of all types including the paparazzi, notifying them when and where the actor will be so there is sure to be fuss. They always need to be in the limelight.

I know that film promotion and some degree of self promotion is part of an actor's job but as in anything there are degrees. I also agree with Nebraska's post concerning the creation of a public persona, I'm sure it's probably necessary for the actor to maintain their mental health.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #1 ~ The Actor's Responsibility

Unread postby moviemom » Fri Jan 07, 2011 8:07 pm

The actor is only portraying a role. Acting is fantasy, not reality. It's not the fault of the actor if someone goes off the deep end.

If Mr. Spandau means that there are actors that take the fantasy in to real life, there are several exampes of that in "real life". I can think of one off the top of my head. The original TV Lone Ranger, Clayton Moore, wore his costume and mask in public after the series ended until his death. He became his character...good thing he was a good guy.


I am awaiting my copy of this book, so look forward to discussing it further. (and I already have On Stranger Tides.)
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