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February 22, 1996 - Image 19

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-02-22

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The Michigan Daily - Wu4. , e. - Thursday, February 22, 1996- 78

Actors like Al Pacino a dying breed

''

55-year-old Oscar winner's career spans 30 years

By Kelly Xintaris
For the Daily
Like Robert De Niro and Dustin
Hoffman, Al Pacino is as enigmatic
in real life as he is riveting on the
screen. Interviewers have called him
the male Greta Garbo - a man
whose elusive nature defies his ce-
lebrity status. He practically bares
his soul on film, though, a talent
that more than makes up for his
public mystique.
With three new movies in the past
year, Pacino continues to cement
his position as a mega-star. In "Two
Bits," which was screened at a Chi-
cago festival in October, he plays
an elderly man who imparts the les-
sons of life to his young grandson.
The highly-praised "Heat" show-
cased the one-two punch of De Niro
as criminal and Pacino as cop. "City
Hall," Pacino's latest film, features
him as a Greek-American mayor,
wrestling with New York politics.
Among the wide range of roles
Pacino has taken, his best have un-
doubtedly been as a Mafioso/crimi-
nal. His performances as Michael
Corleone in the timeless "Godfa-
ther" trilogy blazed with an inten-
sity that sparked his career. Pacino
elevated the portrayal of paranoia
to an art form that could rival De
Niro's work in "Taxi Driver." In
classics like 1975's "Dog Day Af-
ternoon," he played a loony bank
robber whose plans to finance his
lover's sex change go awry.
As a student of the Method school
of acting, Pacino took these charac-
ters to such an extreme that he liter-
ally became them. During the film-
ing of 1983's "Scarface," Pacino

Eiven now, it seems
that no one couldt,-
take on that
persona - pull off1
the accent..
better thanf

Pacino.

1

y

y:,

Al Pacino stars as Ut. Col. Frank Slade in 1992's "Scent of a Woman."

actually spoke with a thick Cuban
accent and remained volatile even
after the day's shoot. Such psycho-
logically exhausting efforts have
definitely paid off. If there is any
Pacino persona that has etched it-
self into memory, it is that of Tony
Montana, the drug lord in
"Scarface."
Even now, it seems that no one
could take on that persona - pull
off the accent, make snorting a
mountain of coke believable, lash
out at Michelle Pfeiffer - better
than Pacino. The line "Say hallo to
mah lil' friend" has become so fa-
miliar that Jim Carrey even uses it
in "Ace Ventura 2," when he threat-
ens the bad guys with a skunk in-
stead of a machine gun.
During Pacino's 30-year career,
some runts have balanced out his
impressive litter of work, including
the 1985 period epic "Revolution"

and the embarrassing "Frankie and
Johnny." He got back into the swing
with a surprising romantic lead
alongside Ellen Barkin in 1989's
"Sea of Love," and 1990's semi-
entertaining "Dick Tracy."
By the time 1993 rolled around,
Pacino had a long-overdue Oscar.
on the shelf for his passionate per-
formance as Frank Slade in "Scent
of a Woman." When "Carlito's
Way" followed that same year, it
was clear that Pacino was in his
element playing a deeply conflicted

gangster.
So what's next for the tireless ac-
tor? Twentieth Century Fox will re-
lease "Looking for Richard," an ex-
ploration of Shakespeare and his play
"Richard III," in the spring. Pacino
has poured tons of money into the
film, which has been his pet project
for the past four years. Apparently,
when Pacino gets involved in some-
thing, he means business.
Pacino is a 55-year-old bachelor
whose only commitment is to his
work. As an incredibly serious actor,
he couldn't lighten up if he tried. But
he probably wouldn't have it any other
way, and neither would we.

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