It's extremely difficult to be an actor, for many reasons: It's mostly unrewarding financially. It takes a lot of hard work before an actor even gets a part. A career is apt to be short-lived. The field is incredibly competitive. Cream does not always rise to the top. And yet actors young and old line up by the thousands wanting to do it. What fuels this desire? What is it that drives actors to withstand the frustration of not getting parts, of getting bad parts in bad plays, of being mistreated by directors, misundertood by audiences, misinterpreted by critics?
With a nod to the "Paris Review"'s Writers at Work model, "Actors at Work "looks at the way some of our most respected stage and film actors today approach their calling. In a collection of interviews with a dozen artists, including Philip Seymour Hoffman, Patti LuPone, and Billy Crudup, the book explores not only the impetus to perform but also key topics about the process and profession, including the way actors approach a role, what techniques they use to deal with directors and other cast members, the ways in which they use their own personal lives in their work, and their influences, idols, and insecurities. The result is a book that actors will find indispensable and fans will find irresistible.