Hollywood actor set to pass on expertise

thisisoxfordshire: Sam Douglas Sam Douglas

AN ACTOR who has appeared in films with Hollywood’s A-list is hoping to pass on his talent to would-be Oxford thespians.

Sam Douglas was born in Banbury but went on to feature in nearly 30 films, appearing alongside the likes of Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Vinnie Jones.

Born Douglas Waters in 1957, he lived in Middleton Cheney but moved to Iowa at the age of two when his sister married American serviceman Don Mills from RAF Heyford.

His family took an ocean liner across the Atlantic, arriving after a two-week voyage.

Mr Douglas attended Simpson College in Iowa but became an actor because, he admitted, he “wasn’t smart enough for college” and now he is launching a method acting course at the Old Fire Station in George Street.

Method acting is an acting technique which involves performers trying to recreate the feelings of the character they are trying to portray to make the performance more authentic. It can also involve adopting their habits or staying “in character” between performances. Well-known actors who use the method include Robert De Niro and Mickey Rourke. He said: “I used to run method acting workshops in London. “I wanted to direct a play but I couldn’t find any actors I wanted to work with.

“People associate method acting with heavy and intense performances but anyone can come and take part.

“Method acting is a way to live a part. It is the art of living on stage.”

Budding actors taking part in Mr Douglas’ course will start with a number of simple exercises where they won’t even have to speak, but will just be reacting to something.

Gradually they will build up their performance by adding words and then a script.

Over his career Mr Douglas has worked with directors such as Guy Ritchie, Luc Besson and Stanley Kubrick.

“I enjoyed working on Perfume because it was out of my comfort zone, and Snatch was fun because it made a big splash,” he said.

“Working with Stanley Kubrick I enjoyed. He took hours to get the shots ready and we did one take in a day.”

But 30 years ago he ended up moving back to Oxford, originally to Woodstock but then to North Oxford.

“I had had enough of America, of New York and Los Angeles,” he said, “I felt like a fish out of water.

“There is a lot of incompetence in LA from agents and casting people.

“They are afraid to commit and have to be told someone is good.

“In London it is a lot more civilised and I feel British – but I can also be a Yank if I want. It depends who’s casting.”

The 12-week course of four hours per week begins on Friday, October 5, though there is a free and open meeting on Wednesday, September 29, at 1pm.

For more information contact Mr Douglas on

methodactorsworkshop@gmail .com

or call 01865 423939.

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