Lights! Camera! English!
We all hear about foreign actors making it big in Hollywood. But many acknowledge that they were shaking in their boots the first time they were waiting for the director to shout: 'Action!'
Spanish actress Penelope Cruz, star of Zoolander-2 and Vanilla Sky, is a respected actress with a Hollywood career. But she hardly spoke any English when she was cast in her first role in an English language movie in 1998. In a candid interview with the US broadcaster CBS, Penelope admitted: "I would lock myself in the bathroom and cry because I didn't understand what was going on on the set, because I didn't understand everything that the director was saying or what the other actors were saying."
Closer to home we have the example of Ziyi Zhang. She gained international acclaim in Memoirs of a Geisha and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and received many nominations for awards. What's helped her to learn English? Well, she says she listened to Eminem songs. And as she learned the language, she realised "how rude" the lyrics were.
But when it comes to acting in English, nobody has a more colourful story than Austrian Arnold Schwarzenegger. He had to be dubbed at the beginning of his career because nobody could make out what he was saying. In his next film, he played a deaf mute.
The bodybuilder turned actor claims his accent has softened, but he keeps it thick on purpose. "It's become such a big part of me that people really enjoy it," says Arnie. He's aware of the irony when he tells us: "The very things that they said would make it impossible for me to be successful in acting were the things that became my assets."
Yes - the complicated name, the thick accent, the big body - nothing stopped him from doing the things he liked. So don't despair when you struggle with English. They've all been there and they've prevailed. Are you ready for your close up in life?
to make it big (= to achieve great success)
to shake in their boots
to be dubbed
Are you ready for your close up in life?