Charlie Chaplin in The Circus
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Interview with Charlie Chaplin – copying actions from real life

(originally published April 1, 1916, by Frank Wiltermood in MOVING PICTURE WORLD)

…In an hour’s talk I had with Charlie Chaplin some time ago I asked him many questions about his art, and he said that most all his actions in a comedy are copied from real life, from people whom he has met in his travels, ranging all the way from a purse-proud millionaire to a tip-seeking barber.

“My leaden-foot walk,” he stated, “typifies the sore feet of an almost penniless upstart trying to pose as an aristocratic swell, while my attempted smug complacency under the most adverse rebuffs characterizes concurrently that usual human trait that is seen everywhere, in a stranded race track tout or bootblack, to try to appear clever and superior to moneyless surroundings. I am constantly studying people I meet, to note their personal idiosyncrasies, and whenever I see any antics that impress me as being comic I mark the eccentricities in my mind and practice them at the studio so as to bring laughs to theater-goers, hence the greater part of my acting is borrowed from real human characters.”


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