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February 15, 2023 @ 8:00 pm

Act Naturally: A Virtual Evening with David Thomson & Mark Feeney


February 15, 2023
8:00 pm

Books & Books presents…


in conversation with Mark Feeney


Act Naturally: The Magic in Great Performances

(Knopf, $30)

Wednesday, February 15th, 8 PM ET | LIVE via Crowdcast


About the Book:

From the celebrated film critic and author of The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, a fascinating look at some of the cinema’s finest actors and how they approach their craft

“Open to any page and you’ll become enthralled by the…tales of forgotten film lore, childhood memories, sexy gossip.”—Philip Kaufman, director

Meryl Streep, Marlon Brando, Anthony Hopkins, Carey Mulligan. When we watch these remarkable actors in a performance, we see only Sophie, Stanley Kowalski, Hannibal Lecter, or Cassie from Promising Young Woman. How are they able to transform our world in this way? How and why do they do what they do?

In Acting Naturally, David Thomson sheds light on the actors who have shaped the film industry. He shrewdly analyzes these stars—among them, James Dean, Nicole Kidman, Denzel Washington, Louise Brooks, Riz Ahmed, Sir Laurence Olivier, Viola Davis, and Jean Seberg—revealing how a sly smile, an extra-long pause, even a small gesture of the hand can draw in an audience. And he takes us behind the scenes to examine casting and all the other moments leading up to “Action!”

Through intimate anecdote, humor, and the insight born of a lifetime watching and analyzing film, Thomson explores the real reasons why we go to the movies and looks at how they influence our lives. This book is not only necessary reading for an insider’s view of the industry but also a surprising investigation of the relationship between acting and living.


About the Author:

DAVID THOMSON is the author of more than twenty-five books, including How to Watch a MovieThe Whole Equation, and biographies of Orson Welles and David O. Selznick.

About the Moderator:

As writer, reviewer, and editor, Mark Feeney covers photography, film, and the arts. With the Globe since 1979, he was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in feature writing in 1994 and won a Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 2008. He is the author of a book, “Nixon at the Movies: A Book About Belief.”