Bill in Dancer in the Dark

David Morse - Bait

'Conversations' with David Morse

By Susan

Just a few thoughts on the conversation... Morse was warm and funny relating his experiences as an actor. When asked if he stayed in character during a project, he recalled his time at St. Elsewhere where he would wonder off alone not staying in character as much as thinking about the character, not wanting to be distracted by small talk. He was told doing this made him seem a bit spooky to cast and crew.

He enjoyed the family feeling of St. E and had no idea when he took the part that it would last so long. He'd thought he'd do the six scripts originally handed to him, return to New York and hopefully get more theatre work. He didn't want to do television. But, he was glad he did.

Proof of Life was a physical challenge. Losing weight and then being asked to regain twenty five pounds in two weeks in order to shoot the beginning scenes of the film. The thin air in the mountains of Columbia along with mud slides made this a rough shoot.

He didn't want to do Dancer in the Dark because he could not relate to the character. He tole Von Trier that Bill was a weak and unlikable man and he couldn't identify enough with the character to play it. Von Trier told David, Bill was based on Von Trier himself. After this phone call , he was flipping around late night TV and Von Triers Breaking the Waves was on. He thought it was one of the most brilliant films he's ever seen and called Von Trier the next day to accept the part of Bill.

He beamed when asked if any of his children were interested in acting. He said they all are but the least likely of his children said he wants to be an actor. When David asked Benjamin why he wanted to be an actor, his son replied, because it's a family tradition. This drew laughs from the audience. David said his son has displayed a quiet talent in school plays. He has something special. We don't have to look beyond David himself to figure out where Benjamin got his quiet talent.

After listening for an hour and fifteen minutes, I came away with a better understanding of how hard it is to be a successful actor and how luck plays a bigger role than an agent does. Morse is unspoiled by his success as evident by his willingness to participate in an intimate conversation about his art, his life, past, present and future.



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Last modified Wednesday, November 5, 2003