Is acting hazardous? On the risks of immersing oneself in a role

This article by Samuel Kampa originally appeared in Aeon

Actors forget their identities like stoners forget the quadratic formula. The information isn’t gone – just temporarily offline. … Even the most serious roles can be enacted with childlike joy; it is play, after all. Ledger himself said that portraying the Joker was ‘the most fun I’ve ever had, or probably ever will have, playing a character’. In our eagerness to honour the ‘serious actor’, let us not forget that Ledger, like all truly serious actors, played his part with joy, and graciously invited us to watch.

(Photo: Warner Pictures/DC Comics)

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