James Lipton interviews some of today's most talented actors, directors and writers. In the audience are students and famous alumni of the Actors Studio's master of fine arts program. The interviewees talk about their childhood, how they got started in show business, their early career and behind-the-scenes trivia. The interview concludes with a standardized questionnaire that includes such questions as "What is your favorite word?" and "If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive?" After that, Lipton and the interviewee move to a classroom where the M.F.A. students can question the interviewee directly. Written by
Steven W. Siferd <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Although every single seat is filled at each of the Actors Studio seminars featuring a celebrity, James Lipton recalls the auditorium was filled beyond capacity when Johnny Depp and Harrison Ford were guests on the show. See more »
Hit or miss, with a good (if full of himself) interviewer
James Lipton would be really just a good Film and acting professor at the New School in New York City (it may be a different school now) if not for his show Inside the Actors Studio, where he brings on a different big name actor (and occasionally the infamous director, comedian, or even TV show cast or musician) and interviews them about the process. It ends then with his 'questions', which usually bring out hilarious responses, then leading to the students asking questions.
It's hard sometimes to watch the show to not think of Will Ferrel's dead-on imitation of Lipton from SNL; there is something to Lipton that is full-of-himself, that he's so honored to be interviewing these highly revered celebrities and actors about their craft. Sometimes this is a worthy place to be that he's in; interviews with Robert De Niro, Meryl Street, Martin Scorsese, Robin Williams, Tom Hanks, and Steven Spiebgerg are very worthwhile to hear from. But sometimes the questions asked by the students themselves end up having some more worth, as they're the ones who will want to know more for their lives than Lipton; also, some of the interviewees are either still on their way in their careers, or make you scratch you head thinking 'why is HE on the show'? But for the most part, it is a consistently interesting program past the overly serious and sad points, and for film buffs it is always of some fascination to hear their favorites speak about the craft and the process and the actors they work with. Sometimes it is a little too full of bull, but then that is countered with the funnier guests (people like George Carlin and the cast of the Simpsons have appeared).
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