Internationally acclaimed photographer and artist Howard Schatz has had his work featured in galleries, exhibits and museums around the world. He has also published over 17 books of his incredible work. In his book In Character: Actors Acting Schatz captures actors who are doing what they do best: acting. Schatz takes portraiture of actors into another realm altogether, by directing them in the development of specific characters.
In the photograph above, actress MICHAEL DOUGLAS was instructed as follows:
Left: You’re a man whose daughter has been missing for two months. You’ve been called in by the police to identify the body of a young murder victim. The sheet is pulled back … and the victim isn’t your daughter. Center: You’re a boy at a freakish carnival, watching a pierced performer munch live cockroaches. Right: You’re a 14-year-old girl who’s just opened her 18-year-old sister’s bedroom door to find her having sex with her boyfriend.
Left: You’re a broke, struggling screenwriter emerging from a pitch lunch at a Beverly Hills restaurant, just in time to see a landscaper’s pickup back into your borrowed Lamborghini. Center:You’re a stoned, purely mercenary substitute teacher telling your third-graders, “Anyone who makes any noise while I’m resting will be sent home to Mommy in several little boxes.” Right: You’re a nerdy 11-year-old video gamer surrounded by BlizzCon posters and fellow nerds, and you’re taking this particular session of World of Warcraft waaay too seriously.
Left: You’re a celebrity guest at a White House state dinner, forced out of desperation to finally confront the creepy “nobody” crasher who has been trying to catch your attention all evening. Center:You’re a Kansas homemaker on vacation in Vegas, enjoying the stage show of the hypnotist, who has successfully programmed his volunteer (your husband) to quack like a duck. Right: You’re in the fourth row of a high-school auditorium, watching as your 15-year-old daughter begins singing Annie Oakley’s “Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly”—and freezes halfway through.
Left: You’re a geek flirting with a cheerleader, unaware that you don’t stand a chance. Center: You’re departing the nursing home where your wife resides; it is your first visit in which she didn’t recognize you. Right: You’re a college basketball coach, on the cusp of an N.C.A.A. tournament berth, screaming at the referee, knowing that if you’re ejected, your boys will turn it up a notch.
Left: You’re a child swallowing a spoonful of medicine that your mom promised would taste good, and now she’s telling you that if it didn’t taste awful it wouldn’t work. Center: You’re at a social dinner with your work colleagues and their spouses, desperately trying to signal your partner to stop talking so freely about your shared sex life. Right: You’re a bunny-level skier who has decided to try a black-diamond slope, and now, with no idea how to stop, you’re headed straight for a tree.
Left: You’re an ingénue actress, new to Hollywood. Your agent has just called to say you’ve been chosen for a role in a big movie … as George Clooney’s love interest. Center: You’re a construction worker having lunch with your buddies on the street in front of the job, calling out to a sexy woman passing by, “Hey, hon, wanna see what’s in my lunchbox?” Right: You’re a mid-level drug dealer with a big payment due to a Mob boss, getting the news from one of your street runners that he lost the big coke stash in, “like, a weird gust of wind.”
Left: You’re a father teaching his daughter to ride a bike, watching as she takes a header on her first solo try. Center: You’re the cat that ate the canary. Right: You’re a man in denial, figuring that if you don’t listen to your girlfriend’s breakup speech she’ll stick with you.
Left: You’re a finalist on America’s Next Top Model who is hearing Tyra tell the other girl she’s out—and you’re prepping to give your nemesis a ‘sincere’ hug. Center: You’re a stand-up comic performing at a Toronto showcase packed with S.N.L. and HBO scouts—and your “lesbian chickens” bit is utterly tanking. Right: You’re, like, 15, and he’s, like, 17, and even tho U have only ever said, like, “Hey” in the hallways, he’s just texted 2 ask U 2 B his D8 @ the prom!!! the prom!!!
Left: You’re the office toady, having a dutiful laugh over your boss’s latest racist joke—and all too aware that everyone else at work hates you. Center: You’re a Miss Universe finalist in the nanosecond between being named fifth runner-up and remembering to flash your best I’m-so-happy smile. Right: You’re the school doofus, blissfully unaware that your having just been named prom king is a cruel, Carrie-style stunt by your classmates.
Left: You are sneaking a peek, in the middle of the night, at your sweet new boyfriend’s computer … and discovering e-mails to and from his three current “other” girlfriends. Center: You are a Park Avenue matron, paying your husband a surprise visit at his office and discovering him on the couch in flagrante delicto with his secretary. Right: You are a disoriented homeless woman being arrested for loitering.
Left: You’re a factory foreman with $200 riding on the game, watching your team’s placekicker muff a 23-yarder with 0:01 remaining. Center: You’re a first-time skydiver, reacting to your instructor’s saying it’s your turn: “What? Can’t hear you! Sorry … what?” Right: You’re in the back row of sixth-grade health class, exulting with your pal in the fact that your female teacher just uttered the word “penis.”