Four years ago, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky was an unknown relative outside his homeland, even if he was already a national treasure within it.
n 2015, he is the famous star of Sluga Narodu (Servant of the people), a hit comedy in his hometown, plays an anti-corruption teacher who ‘accidentally’ becomes president.
The role, in which Zelensky’s character was marked by determination and courage, turned out to be an interesting foreshadowing. “People believed in Zelenskyy’s character on the show and couldn’t separate them,” said his former host and co-star Aleksey Kiryushchenko The Economist.
By 2018, the year he announced his intention to run for president, Zelensky regularly hosted comedy shows with the comedy group he founded, Kvartal 95. His acting CV also boasts the role. Paddington Bear’s Ukrainian dub in Paddington movies, not to mention the national version of Dancing with the stars.
Now, Zelensky sees himself as an international hero, the face and conscience of a country besieged by Russian President Putin. His cryptic speeches, with quips like, “I need ammo, not a ride,” are frequently viral on social media and his past as an artist has gone viral. The performer has certainly positioned him well in this regard. His charisma, no doubt honed after years on stage and screen, turned out to be a major asset in this fight.
He’s not the first to make the leap from box office to box office first. Arnold Schwarzenegger has long played the hero and power type in cinema, and the American voting public took a giant leap in fantasy when he ran for public office.
A prominent Republican and married to the Kennedy political dynasty, Schwarzenegger was appointed to the President’s Council on Fitness & Sports in 1990 and became a Red Cross Ambassador in 1993. 2003 Schwarzenegger became Governor of California and later ‘Governor’, focusing his powers on climate change (although when he left office in 2011, the approval rating of he is 23pc low).
Ronald Reagan, the 40th president of the United States, had a rather prolific acting career (and before that as a sports commentator). After two unsuccessful presidential runs in 1968 and 1976, Regan was finally elected president in 1980, defeating incumbent Jimmy Carter. He was re-elected in a landslide in 1984 and left office in 1989.
Video of the day
Elsewhere, Clint Eastwood’s film career has been wildly successful, but underneath it all is a fervent interest in politics. In 1986, he was nominated for the nonpartisan Mayor of Carmel (he ran for office after the local planning board blocked an attempt to renovate a local office building).
Soon after taking office as mayor, Eastwood fired the planning board that had rejected his application and served only a two-year term.
Shirley Temple was the world’s most famous dimple in the 1930s, but as her movie star power waned (she made her last film at age 21), Temple, then Shirley Temple -Black, was appointed UN Ambassador by Richard Nixon. in 1969. She later became the United States Ambassador to Ghana (1974-76) and Czechoslovakia (1989-1992).
Among the more successful British actors transitioning into politics is the two-time Oscar winner Glenda Jackson, who took a break from her acting career to enter politics in 1992.
The Labor MP served as grassroots transport minister in Tony Blair’s government. In 2015, Jackson declined the general election and returned to acting, winning a Tony Award for her performance in the Broadway version of Three Tall Women.
Closer to home, independent politician Mannix Flynn prides himself on his artistic/creative roots. As a novelist, poet and screenwriter, he has also worked extensively as an actor, appearing in films such as Cal, Excalibur and When the sky falls.
He found that Irish political life and creativity were closely linked.
“Our art has always been connected to the real politics of the country,” he said. “I was not surprised to see that the leader of the struggle in Ukraine was an artist, and handled everything in a very clear and modern way, and in a very powerful way. [Zelensky] knows how to stay in front of the camera when giving a speech, while it makes no sense when Putin is here.
Flynn adds: “What’s interesting about artists is that they have a unique ability to deal with the work at hand and that helps them fully connect with the political business. “Moreover, they read their scripts and get ready. Born actors understand that if you’re on stage, anything can happen. Most politicians don’t read the script and instead rely on their own ideology.”
But what exactly in the actor’s skill set bodes well for public office and more broadly the court of public opinion?
There are many transferable skills that allow actors to move seamlessly into public office – the ability to command crowds, deliver meaningful speeches – and innate magnetism, which is rarely an issue. topic for the actors, certainly helped attract votes.
And if the voting public already knows your personal brand, whether it’s playing baddies in blockbuster movies or slamming Broadway boards, that certainly gives it an advantage. a political candidate versus a relative unknown.
“When it comes to politics, I think actors have a physical and vocal toolbox to build credibility and the ability to command the room,” said actress Maria Tecce, who also works as the is a voice coach and public speaking said.
“Actor Glenda Jackson is a case in point. She often plays roles synonymous with power, charisma, and ability. So, despite initial skepticism, she succeeded and entered politics with a established brand that already had a certain vision and confidence. Most politicians would kill for that image and power. “
Zelensky, Tecce notes, deploys performance tools that help him connect with his audience.
“That’s what makes him successful because when it comes to politics, it’s the guy who shows honesty and authenticity that gets the vote,” she said. “People trust what is familiar to them and what they can connect with.
“I have coached several politicians over the years and they all underestimated the power of mastering their vocal and physical delivery skills to captivate audiences.”
“There are some who would say that the common ground between actors and politicians is that they both live a life of lies and pressure. It’s really the opposite.
“Actors are good at their craft because their acting is based on facts and people. A politician like Zelensky has an arsenal of skills that enable him to deliver his message with confidence and credibility based on his skills. on true man. That union is irresistible for an audience.”
Terry Prone, founder of the Media Clinic, agrees that there is an element of efficiency to a politician’s job and that trained actors have an edge.
“When I work with politicians and other people who have to speak, I am fascinated by many of them thinking that the rehearsal is somehow distorting what they are doing,” she said. “As if it would be more authentic to go out there half-prepared. Good actors practice to the point of exhaustion and then rehearse a few more times because they know any audience will eat you alive if you make them distrust you.”
Prone joined the Abbey Theater at the age of 16 while still in school. She recalls watching plays from lightboxes and watching the likes of Niall Tóibín and Frank Grimes play two versions of Brendan Behan.
“Every night, they teach me what it means to belong in Dublin,” she says. “They’re not faking it, they’re experiencing it while we, the audience, watch.”
Prone added: “When a politician gives a great speech, some idiots always say, ‘Oh, but that’s just acting like he’s in the theater’. Just action? That’s to underestimate what good actors do. They take the stage and make 600 or 1,000 people understand something in a whole new way. They make them laugh or cry. They don’t do it through falsehood. They do it through truth.
Prone said: “Even brilliant actors like Reagan have enormous skill assets to use when they become politicians. “They know how to ‘feel’ the audience, how to warm up the Monday audience and prevent the Saturday audience from going hysterical.
“Their minds are filled with great lines and, if trained well, they can prevent the audience from dying in their tracks by giving the impression that something incredible is about to happen right in front of them. their faces.”
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/acting-the-leader-how-volodymyr-zelenskys-onscreen-background-gave-him-the-skills-to-master-his-greatest-role-yet-41428628.html Playing the leader: How Volodymyr Zelensky’s on-screen background gave him the skills to fulfill his greatest role yet