Great Job, Internet!: A dizzying supercut of actors acting like they’re actors acting

Like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel, Phil Whitehead‘s eight-minute video essay “Actors Playing Actors Acting” showcases those special moments in film and television when thespians are called upon to portray other thespians and must, in turn, act as though they are acting. If to act is to present an abstraction of life, then to play the role of an actor is to present an abstraction of that abstraction. It’s a heady assignment, certainly, but one that stars like Michael Keaton, Jim Carrey, Gloria Swanson, Naomi Watts, Robert Downey Jr., and numerous others have handled with aplomb. Whitehead was inspired to create this montage after reading Nick James’ article about Birdman, a movie all about actors acting, in the January 2015 issue of Sight & Sound. “When you think of how complicated the registers at play here are,” James wrote at the time …

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