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Richard Kiel, Learning to Act, and the Contextual Self

Saturday October 15, 2016

Richard Kiel, the actor who played Jaws in the James Bond films, gave a great example of the contextual self in this Late Night interview: (Around the 7m mark)

It’s pretty funny to me: Kiel had a problem; working as a bouncer, he had to deal with drunk people. Some of those drunks took it as a challenge to pose a threat to his authority-through-sheer-size. As an act of self-preservation (and probably also for the sheer fun of it), Kiel essentially learned to laugh like the village idiot and shake the drunk around in acknowledgement. He amplified his presence and potential as a physical threat in order to dissuade.

This is definitely a stark example of the way people modify their behavior in various contexts in order to get the result they need or want.

  • Can you think of contexts in which you have done the same?
  • Have you taught yourself to act, in a sense?
  • Are there any contexts in which more acting on your part may be called for?
    • Remember that sometimes acting can enable an an unhealthy form of avoidance. Where is that line, for you?

With all that said, I enjoyed watching Mr. Kiel’s on Youtube after seeing him again recently in Moonraker.

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