The short answer is YES! You absolutely can believe Taye Diggs and that’s the whole point of this episode! We ask the question “What makes an actor ‘believable’?” And, the actor we’re using for demonstration purposes in this episode is the terrific Taye Diggs who, it just so happens, Gil (Adler) has cast twice. The reason Gil’s cast Taye twice is because Gil loves how believable Taye is. If an audience doesn’t believe an actor, nothing the writers or directors do (or have done) will matter. So, regardless of anything else an actor brings to work each day, nothing is anywhere near as important as believability.
From a film or TV producer’s POV, we don’t want actors to act. The camera will see it and we’ll just have to cut it all out. There are differences between acting on the stage and acting for the camera. Does stage training make actors better at acting for the camera? Spoiler alert: we think so – and Taye’s the perfect example of what theatrical training brings to any actor’s A-game. That’s their “acting game” of course.
On the film side, Taye’s shown off his song and dance chops in both “Chicago” and “Rent”. Taye was repeating for the camera the role he’d originated on Broadway. Taye also got Stella back her groove and, as we said above, he’s worked twice for Gil. One of those times was in the horror movie “House On Haunted Hill”.
For a little while – back in the late 990’s and early 2000’s, Gil produced a series of horror films for Dark Castle Entertainment – a company Bob Zemeckis and Joel Silver created. Dark Castle focused on remaking the films of 1950’s horror maestro William Castle. In the 1940’s and 50’s Castle churned out a ton of pulp titles like “The Crime Doctor’s Warning”, “Johnny Stool Pigeon”, “Slaves Of Babylon” and “New Orleans Uncensored”.
Castle excelled at horror. But, he didn’t approach horror – or movie-making – in a conventional way. He loved using gimmicks to market his movies. Hell, Castle built the marketing gimmicks right into the movies themselves. Right into the movie theaters themselves.
Castle’s “The Tingler” is about a scientist who discovers that a parasite called a “tingler” lives inside human beings, feeding on their fear. A person can tell a tingler’s present because they can feel their spine tingling. To achieve that effect in reality, Castle installed vibrating devices in the movie theater seats showing his movie.
In his “House on Haunted Hill”, Castle equipped some theaters with a technology he called “Emergo“. Emergo was a plastic skeleton emerging from a hiding place and flying at the audience, scaring the crap out of them.
Goofy, yes. But, it worked. The audience loved it. They believed. And believing is everything.
We’ll talk about how “believing” happens. Along the way, Taye will also talk about working on Broadway, the joys of being “theatrical”, how much he loved his years at Syracuse University and how much Gil hated it by comparison (they’re both alums). We’ll talk a lot about acting. About what makes an actor “believable”.
Can we believe Taye Diggs?
We repeat our earlier answer (a little more emphatically) – not just YES, but “HELL, YES!!!” Want proof? Listen in!