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Last Updated: Friday, 30 June 2006, 09:22 GMT 10:22 UK
Finding the actor's inner anger
By David Willis
Los Angeles

Journalist David Willis is taking six months off from the BBC to try to make it as an actor in Hollywood. In his latest diary entry, he consults the acting teacher to the stars.

Acting teacher Ivana Chubbuck
Ivana Chubbuck is one of Hollywood's hottest acting coaches
Ivana Chubbuck probably knows more about Hollywood heartthrob Brad Pitt than Angelina Jolie will ever know.

As his former acting coach, she saw a side of the Oceans Eleven star that millions of young women might not recognise.

He was, according to Ivana, "overweight and suffering from bad skin". She recommended derma abrasion and a good work-out.

Chubbuck is the acting coach Halle Berry paid tearful tribute to in a blubbering Oscars acceptance speech broadcast live around the world.

Her roster of clients reads like a Who's Who of Hollywood stars - Charlize Theron, Jim Carrey, Jon Voigt, Matthew Perry, Jake Gyllenhaal and Beyonce to name but a few.

Her book The Power of the Actor is required reading for almost 500 pupils who attend the array of classes she runs each week.

Most of those classes are now farmed out to other teachers so she can concentrate on the celebrity clients who pay handsomely for the privilege of sitting in the brown leather chair that forms the centrepiece of her book-lined study.

David Willis (centre) at an acting class script reading in LA
Will David Willis (centre) be the new Brad Pitt or Jim Carrey?
Two weeks ago, a less pampered posterior took its place on that chair.

The backside was my own. Ivana was perched opposite me on a chaise longue, her legs tucked neatly beneath her.

She is a small woman, almost cadaverous, but there is something about her - a presence - which is impossible to ignore.

"I can tell you have issues," she says in the unwavering tone of one who knows these things. "We need to get in touch with them."

I had come to her because several months into my new career, I was still more of a ham than Miss Piggy.

When I first started acting classes, I had joked that the last time I had an emotion was in 1967.

While keeping one's emotions in check might be seen as a bonus in other professions, as time went on it became increasingly obvious that for those paid to express them, it was little short of a disaster.

If you don't have anger or angst, you don't want to act
Ivana Chubbuck
In the best Freudian tradition, we started thrashing around in my childhood searching for a source of anger or angst.

We covered my life as an only child, the death of my parents and the fact that I have yet to marry. But by the end of it all there wasn't really a lot to go on.

Ivana concluded that if I could work out who or what had made me so repressed then I would get angry and my problems would be soon solved.

I emerged into the midday sunshine with her parting words ringing in my ears: "If you don't have anger or angst, you don't want to act."

At the end of her street, I turned right on Melrose Boulevard and headed towards Beverly Hills. As I did so a black Mercedes - changing lanes - pulled out in front and caused me to swerve and almost mount the pavement.

As we pulled alongside one another at the traffic lights, I was all ready to give the driver a withering stare, possibly accompanied by a choice phrase or two.

But I glanced over to see a wizened old man in the front seat mouthing the word "sorry".

Getting to Beverly Hills would be easy. Finding my inner anger could prove a longer journey.


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