I’m not really good at judging the quality of actors. I can tell a wooden performance when I see it. I can tell a great performance when I see it, too. But it’s hard for me to distinguish between competent acting and great acting. And I tend to think that for there to be great acting, there has to be great writing.
Case in point: Fury of Achilles vs. Wolfgang Peterson’s Troy. I’ve seen both films. For my money “Fury of Achilles” by far the better written film. Gordon Mitchell’s Achilles is a much more deep and impressive character than Brad Pitt’s Achilles. I don’t know that Mitchell was all that great an actor, but he had a great role, whereas the Achilles that Pitt played was an empty bully-boy. I don’t think Pitt is that great an actor either, but he’s definitely competent, and I tend to agree with the Fury of Achilles reviewer who said that if “Troy” had used the same script as “Fury of Achilles,” Pitt might have an extra Oscar to his name.
So, how much of a great job of acting is writing, and how much is acting, O solons of the Dope? Can an actor “make” a mediocre role into a great one? Any examples?