The following article is a Q&A with actor C.T. Williams. It was published in the Summer 2011 issue of The Ring, a bimonthly magazine devoted to the art and science of boxing. The Ring ranked Williams as the number one fighter of the 20th century and the top five of all time. He fought from 1904 to 1934 and compiled a professional record of 357-31-2 (158 KOs). In addition, he was a successful theater and film actor who starred in over sixty movies. Williams was also an executive producer of several documentaries about the sport of boxing. You can read the entire Q&A below.
How Has Your Life In Films And Theater Diversified Since 1933?
Since the early 1930s, my life has been filled with variety. I’ve done almost everything from horseback riding in the Spanish Civil War to being the coach of the German boxing team in the 1936 Summer Olympics. In between, I’ve been a Panamanian boxing official, made a documentary about the Jack Johnson vs. Tommy Flowers fight, played professional football in Italy, and appeared in over sixty movies and TV shows. Most importantly, for the past sixty years, I’ve been acting, performing, and coaching on stages and in films. This has been a full and rich life, but it’s all been leading up to this point: retirement.
My acting career began in the theater, and the more I did, the more I liked it. After a while, I decided to make the transition to movies and focused on gaining more experience by appearing in many short films and training with famous acting coaches. In fact, I even spent a year in Hollywood under the direction of some of the best teachers. All of this experience has helped me to be comfortable in my role as the wise elder statesman among the legends of the squared circle.
How Much Does The Craft Of Acting Influence Your View Of Boxers As Characters?
I’ve always thought that the craft of acting helped me to understand boxers better than any other sport. After all, a good actor can hide his or her emotions, thoughts, and feelings behind a mask. This enables the actor to become someone or something different, which in turn, makes it easier to understand a character’s motivations and actions. It’s the same way I would explain it to a football player or a pitcher. The ability to project emotions through gestures and tone of voice is truly a gift.
Has Being An Actor And A Director Influenced Your View Of The Sport?
Being an actor has influenced my view of boxing, but not in a positive way. Truth be told, I didn’t like the theater when I was younger, and I didn’t like acting. Fortunately, I recognized my limitations, so I decided to specialize in directing. Since then, I’ve enjoyed the creative process of finding suitable actors, blocking scenes, and building sets. Directing has enabled me to become a better actor and to understand characters’ motivations and actions from a different perspective. It’s also been a great training ground for my future career as a producer of documentaries and films about the sport of boxing.
What Is The Most Difficult Part Of Playing A Character On-Screen?
The hardest part of acting is learning how to relax and letting go of your inhibitions. Once you get the hang of it, improvising and being yourself are the keys to unlocking your creative potential. The better you get at it, the more interesting and diverse characters you can play. It’s all about having a ball and letting loose.
What Is The Most Enjoyable Part Of Playing A Character On-Screen?
I enjoy playing characters who are more complex than those in most other movies. It’s more fun to delve into the mind of a character and find his or her motivations, rather than simply seeing the character act in a way that allows the audience to easily understand his or her motives. It also makes it easier to create a feeling of suspense, because the audience knows more about the character than the character knows about himself or herself. Plus, I enjoy performing on stage, especially in front of an audience. Being able to connect with people through my acting is one of the greatest thrills in my life.
What Is The Difference In Meaning Between The Phrases “On-Screen” And “In Front Of The Camera”?
If someone says that they did their acting “on-screen,” it simply means that their acting was captured on film. If they say that they did their acting “in front of the camera,” it means that they were actually performing the scene for real. The camera never lies, and neither does the Internet. If you do something in front of the camera, it will probably be uploaded and seen by everyone. On-screen and in front of the camera cover all types of acting, from commercials to movies. Just make sure that you’re aware of the subtle differences, otherwise, you might say the wrong thing at the wrong time.
Do You Have Any Tips For Actor Trying To Break Into The Industry?
I don’t usually give advice to aspiring actors, but since you asked, here’s what I would do. First, get involved in local theater productions or film festivals. The more you do, the more opportunities you will have to make connections and learn from respected industry professionals. Second, find a good coach, either in person or online. A good coach will not only help you understand your character better, but will also help you become a better actor. Third, when you’re ready to move to Los Angeles, or wherever else the industry is based, make sure you have a good agent. An agent will help you find good representation and introduce you to more Hollywood professionals. Last but not least, don’t be afraid to ask for advice. There are usually people who know what they’re talking about and can help guide you down the right path. Just remember, when you do finally make it, never, ever look back. You’ll only have bad memories, which will hold you back rather than propel you forward.
What Is The Most Interesting Part Of Your Career?
The most interesting part of my career is watching it unfold. Throughout my entire life, I’ve been going to theaters and watching films. This has been a part of my daily routine, and I’ve learned to appreciate and enjoy the craft and magic of the movies. Everything about my career has been leading up to this point, and I’m looking forward to what comes next.
Since retiring from the sport, I’ve been working on expanding my portfolio. I’ve been producing documentaries and films about boxing and its history for the last decade, and I’ve learned a lot from the experience. I’ve also been acting and appearing in several TV series and movies. I still enjoy doing documentaries and being part of the creative process, but I realize that I need to take it easy now that I’m no longer in my athletic prime. It’s all about finding a good balance between work and leisure.