Tag Archives: Actor

Dustin Hoffman Breaks Into Tears Discussing Society’s Pressures on Women

Screen Shot 2013-07-09 at 10.22.16 AMThe notion of ‘beauty’ in our culture tends to be more limiting and shame-inducing than cathartic. What should be a soul-expanding experience of aesthetic pleasure gets confined to a manufactured pill box, forced down our throats by television, magazines, advertisements, the porn industry – you name it. We all suffer from this together as a society, but women, most of all, bear the brunt of the abuse.

In preparing to make the 1982 film Tootsie, Dustin Hoffman was determined to look as much like a woman as possible. If the audience had to suspend disbelief to follow the story, Hoffman explains in an interview with AFI, then it wasn’t going to work. It wasn’t until he looked at himself in the mirror, fully costumed as a female, that he realized the reality women live with every day. If Hoffman saw his female self at a party, he confesses, he wouldn’t give her the time of day. The realization brings him to tears. Take a look:

This might seem overly tidy. “Hey, Dustin Hoffman, try being a real woman for even a day and you’ll experience some truly gnarly things. And before you whine about not making an attractive woman, let’s think about what beauty really is.”

But his emotional response is more nuanced than that. Hoffman bemoans the socialized notions of beauty that kept him from approaching women who might have otherwise added to his life with wit, intellect, and grace. How many women, he wonders, did he miss the opportunity of knowing, just out of prejudice?

The question we would add to that is: Why do we as a society continue to let anything but our own hearts dictate what we find beautiful?

What do you think? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

Thursday Morning Melody: Tickle Me Pink

“Pray for the people inside your head, for they won’t be there when you’re dead.”

These fairly morbid lyrics come from the contrastingly upbeat, playful song “Tickle Me Pink” by UK indie folk group Johnny Flynn & the Sussex Wit. Fronted by poet/songwriter Flynn, the group produces thoughtful, catchy music that folk-lovers are particularly bound to fall for. Flynn is not only a powerful musician, but he also has a flourishing acting career and recently became a father!

This song is off of the group’s first album, A Larum, from 2008 and will without a doubt get you grooving!

Tickle me pink, I’m rosy as a flushed red apple skin
Except I’ve never been as sweet
I’ve rolled around the orchard and found myself too awkward
And tickle me green, I’m too naivePray for the people inside your head
For they won’t be there when you’re dead
Muffled out and pushed back down
Pushed back through the leafy ground

Time is too early, my hair isn’t curly
I wish I was home and tucked away
When nothing goes right and the future’s dark as night
What you need is a sunny, sunny day

Pray for the people inside your head
For they won’t be there when you’re dead
Muffled out and pushed back down
Pushed back through the leafy ground

Don’t know where I can find myself a brand new pair of ears
Don’t know where I can buy a heart
The one I’ve got is shoddy, I need a brand new body
And then I can have a brand new start

Pray for the people inside your head
For they won’t be there when you’re dead
Muffled out and pushed back down
Pushed back through the leafy ground

Monsters in the valley and shootings in the alley
And people fall flat at every turn
There is no straight and narrow, offload your wheelbarrow
And pick up your sticks and twigs to burn

Pray for the people inside your head
For they won’t be there when you’re dead
Muffled out and pushed back down
Pushed back through the leafy ground

Pray for the people inside your head
For they won’t be there when you’re dead
When you’re dead, when you’re dead
When you’re dead, when you’re dead
When you’re dead, when you’re dead
When you’re dead, when you’re dead, when you’re

* * *

This post is part of  our Thursday Morning Melody series. Every Thursday we feature the music video and lyrics to a song that touches us deeply. If there’s a melody you wish to share with the Intent community, please share it with us in the comments below! Click here to listen to past Thursday Morning Melodies.

Urban Yogis: Russell Brand Dishes on Sex, Drugs, and Yoga

In the latest installment of “Urban Yogis” on The Chopra Well, Ashtanga instructor Eddie Stern interviews Russell Brand on yoga, addiction, and personal growth. Brand describes his journey from drug addiction, which began for him at an early age, to discovering the power of yoga. He describes the addiction as a “spiritual problem,” something he turned to as a way of looking for solutions to the existential dilemmas of existence. Now freed from his addiction, Brand strives to “see God in everything” and live moment to moment on a spiritual path. Check out part 1 of the interview:

Are you surprised to see this side of Russell Brand? What’s your favorite Brand movie or moment? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 of Russell Brand’s interview!

Driving your own personal growth means reaching beyond your current capacity


Sebastian Siegel - Photo © John GanunIt’s another sunny day in Los Angeles, and as I sat to chat with actor, Sebastian Siegel, I can see, in that earnest stare, just how impassioned he is; about life, his career, the people he has met and finding his way. Our chat lasts for over two hours, and although the City of Beverly Hills chose to ticket me for parking in a broken meter, I remained auspicious in that sometimes life opportunities will knock, albeit softly; few people are fortunate to find a sage of wisdom, and if you’re really good at impersonating the Governor of California, people will stop what they’re doing and turn around to look. Here is an excerpt of what we spoke about:

Stefan Pinto: Events and situations, in and of themselves do not determine our future, it is our reaction and actions that ultimately shape our lives. As a child, it seems you didn’t “fit in” however you replaced that emotional void with exercise, in essence bettering yourself. Today’s youth–even young adults–seem inclined to fill voids with material possessions or worse, sacrificing their self-image for those of celebrities. What advice would you give to today’s generation for building up their self esteem and embracing their uniqueness.

Sebastian Siegel: For me making mistakes was paramount, it still is.  I’m the king of mistakes. I think in identifying your own individuality you have to feel out what fits and what doesn’t. Driving your own personal growth means reaching beyond your current capacity – but in that, you might find something greater than yourself that you aspire to.  I think this is the essence of growth, and so for me it’s where I found, and still find a lot of esteem;  reaching beyond myself to grow into more than I am. Of course pushing the envelope means that you’ll go too far sometimes, and you’ve got to be comfortable with that, with making mistakes, if you really want to live, really want to grow, really want to explore what it is to be you.

Sebastian Siegel plays Nick Blanchett in Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys. Nick is an investor who looses his wife, job, kids, and ends up on the street. But hope is reclaimed by investing with his only friend, Alice (Alfre Woodard), and maneuvering stocks in Charlotte’s (Kathy Bates) company.  He has played TV roles in CSI Miami, Family Guy and recently as Erik, in 2 episodes of Season 5 on Lost. His recent Huffington Post article, “The Overhuman,” talks about life happiness, who we are and what drives us.

Read the entire interview on PintoFactory, a blog on how to follow yourself.

Oscar Predictions ’09

I’m excited about the Oscars this year.  I look forward to the show every year, it’s kind of a holiday at my house – starting at about 3:00 with all the red carpet shows.  We eat dinner in front of the TV and I stay up for every minute no matter how long it takes.

You might not know this about me, but I’ve actually been to the Academy Awards  – twice!  It was in the 80’s, when I was a Page at ABC.  I didn’t get to wear any designer gown, I was in my Page uniform, consisting of a polyester long grey skirt and a navy blue blazer with the ABC emblem over the chest.  Regardless of my outfit, I loved the experience – I got to meet Jack Lemmon, Gregory Peck, and Meryl Streep.  And I got to be on TV, standing right in front of the big Oscar at the bottom of the steps, saying “watch your step” to the winners as they ran up to claim their award.  I vowed that one day I would be back, walking the red carpet instead of supervising it. 

I had that chance more than a decade later when I bid on a pair of tickets at a charity auction.  My friend Curt and I got all dressed up, boarded the limo-bus with the other attendees, and drank champagne on the way.  We even walked down the red carpet – until we got to the ticket-taker who declared our tickets to be bogus.  Oh, well, back on the bus – and we watched the show on the bus TVs on the ride home.

I think the ceremony itself is kind of dictated by the movies that are nominated.  Last year we had There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men.  Both heavy, dark, depressing and violent.  This year we have an interesting mix.  The nominated films include Slumdog Millionaire, Milk, Frost/Nixon, The Reader, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.  I’ve seen them all, and I loved them all, each for different reasons. 

Milk is a thoughtful portrait of a remarkable man.  Frost/Nixon is smart and compelling.  The Reader is intense, and thought-provoking.  The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is magical and expertly executed.  And the film I think will win, and deserves to win, is the one that has the biggest heart, Slumdog Millionaire.  It was by far my favorite film of the year.  The other two films I loved, but which were left out, were Gran Torino and Australia.  I think Australia will win for Catherine Martin’s fabulous costumes.

Here are my other predictions:
Actor: Sean Penn in Milk.  He totally becomes this character, there is no trace of Sean Penn to be seen.  He makes you forget you’re watching a movie.
Actress: Kate Winslet in The Reader.  This has to be the toughest role to come along in a long time – Kate Winslet manages to walk take this very complicated, confused and tough woman and make her vulnerable.
Supporting Actor:  Heath Ledger.  I thought so right after I saw him as the Joke in Batman Returns – and I never wavered.  This is a mesmerizing performance.
Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz in Vicky Christina Barcelona.  This is another time I had that instinct right after the movie.  She is just on fire in her performance, I don’t think anyone else could have played the part.
Director: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire.  It was his choices that made this such an amazing film.  Gotta give it to him.
Animated Film: Wall-E – by a mile.

I’m looking forward to seeing a new host, Hugh Jackman!  Hugh is such a showman – he’s done a great job hosting the Tony’s.  He is the whole package, charming, talented, handsome – and an A list actor.

The countdown has begun… you know where I’ll be on Sunday!


What side of the stage are you- there or here?

Are you on the stage performing or are you among the millions watching? It could be anything- a play, a movie, a game…

Imagine everyone on your side, if you are among the millions and no one on the stage to amuse you. Imagine everyone on the stage where you perform solo and no one on the other side applauding at your performance.

Imagine you are the actor, the focus of everyone’s attention- what is your state of mind- any fear or insecurity about your performance….what is your deepest desire- applause- what after two or three minutes of it or many more hours of fan session. Why were you there? What did you gain? A water fall so beautiful is up there for us to look at and wonder at its beauty. The act that someone performs solo is for others to watch- a performer gains love- there are other better methods of gaining money or fame that delude some longer than others from thinking why they were really there to begin with.

What changes when you are on the other side? Between the stage and where the seating for the audience begin- there is a whole world of diversity, ideas, relativities, likes and dislikes. People judging everything they wanted to, talking, responding, making fun of and setting up high standards for the performer to hear a moment of applause. Why are you there among the millions- the answers are best known to you only. All others have no clue. Was someone entertaining you? Was it worth your time and resources? Why were you there?

The answer is elusive mostly under many layers- is that -you were there to see that act, to enjoy it, to gain happiness from it and be among people, may be get inspired by how the player plays or even make social contacts of different kinds as per your requirement at that given point of time.

Who is better or more important- the one on that side performing solo or the millions on the other side watching, judging, enjoying & cursing, who are at actually statistically better worth.

Now imagine a performer without any audience or hell lots of only audience without a performer.

Now think about that question of  "worth" again. We all complete each other, no matter we realize it or not. Between the stage and the seats in the auditorium lies our whole world of preferences, ideas, notions, judgements, good, bad, moments and what not. The life is nothing but about choices and no choice is wrong if you think about it by being even for a moment on the other side.


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