Don Cheadle: “Do you want to be an actor or do you want to be a star or a celebrity?”

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  • Don Cheadle:
    “Do you want to be an actor or do you want to be a star or a celebrity?”

    (arranged by Carmichael Phillips)


    Do you want to be an actor or do you want to be a star or a celebrity?


    You probably know Don Cheadle from his starring role as Marty Kaan in the Showtime Comedy series, House of Lies, which ran from 2012-2016; a role that earned him a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Series, Musical or Comedy (2013).

  • Or, perhaps you know him from his Academy Award nominated performance in Hotel Rwanda (2004), where he portrayed a hotel manager in Rwanda who worked to save more than one thousand lives during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

    The highly-accomplished actor sat down for an interview with the Off-Camera Show, where he shared his advice to aspiring actors getting started in the business.

    “I think a lot of times people think that you have to have a job to work on acting. Which you don’t. You can work on plays. You can work on monologues. You can always work on script analysis. That’s all a part of the work.”

    “So, yes, in application, it takes a partner to be able to do the thing that you’re doing. But I know…people come up to me and say, ‘Hey, man, I want to be an actor. How can I be an actor?’”

  • “And I go, ‘Do you want to be an actor or do you want to be a star or a celebrity? Are you acting right now? Are you in anything? Are you in plays? Are you auditioning for plays? Do you read plays? Are you reading scripts?’”


    I think a lot of times people think that you have to have a job to work on acting. Which you don’t.


    “That’s all working. That’s all doing acting work. Now, yes, maybe you’re not on a TV show or someone hasn’t put you in a film. But, if you think that’s the only way acting happens, it’s probably going to be…one of two things are going to happen:

    (1) You’re never going to get that shot or, (2) You’re going to get that shot and then, very quickly, they’re going to see that you’re (not very deep) and that you have nothing to bring to the game.”

    Other noteworthy roles by Cheadle include performances in films like Ocean’s Eleven (2001), Crash (2005), Iron Man 2 (2010), Iron Man 3 (2013), Captain America: Civil War (2016) and Avengers: Endgame (2019).


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