After he read for that part, the casting director said, “‘No, you’re more of this banker character,’” Blackwood said. He was then handed the script and told to just do the scene on the spot.
When Gerard Butler, who plays Childers in the film, went on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” to promote the film, his scene with Blackwood was the one shown to audiences.
“As an actor, I know how hard cold reading is,” Blackwood said.
Spots are still available in this weekend’s three-hour workshop, in which Blackwood will show participants how to trust their instincts and personalize copy. Actors will receive scenes in class and have just a few minutes to look at them before doing cold readings.
The path to fame
Growing up in Michigan, Blackwood said he was a shy child who didn’t give much thought to performing. But he idolized comedic actors like Jerry Lewis, Cary Grant and Peter Sellers. He realized he wanted to entertain people after watching “A Shot in the Dark,” the 1964 Pink Panther movie with Sellers as Inspector Clouseau.
“This is what I want to do,” he said. “I want to make people laugh.”
He took his first acting class as a student at Oakland University and really caught the bug after hearing the applause following his first performance, in Tennessee Williams’ “Summer and Smoke.”
He also credits the book “Respect for Acting” by Uta Hagen, saying, “It changed my life.” After graduating from college in 1978, he drove to New York City “with about $200 in my pocket.”
There, he auditioned for and was accepted into a class at the Herbert Berghof Studio with Hagen, a famed actress who originated the role of Martha in the Broadway premiere of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” by Edward Albee.