Al Pacino: Watching Lamar Jackson is an ‘inspiration to actors’
Al Pacino is without question one of the finest film actors of his generation or any other. The Academy Award winner — and eight-time nominee — is known for a meticulous and passionate approach to his craft, a devotion that has elevated myriad performances, both on the screen and stage.
And if an actor ever desired to seek out inspiration for an upcoming role, Pacino claims they could accomplish just that by … watching Lamar Jackson play football?
While the actor’s thoughts about the standout Baltimore Ravens quarterback come seemingly out of nowhere, Pacino did of course portray veteran head coach Tony D’Amato in the 1999 pro football drama from Oliver Stone, “Any Given Sunday.”
Pacino recently recalled taking part in the “Any Given Sunday” production for an oral history on the film by Jake Kring-Schreifels of The Ringer. This is what elicited Pacino’s high praise of Jackson.
“I watch this guy Lamar Jackson. There are occasionally these players that are inspiring because you can see the game that they play is a game, and you can actually sense the joy they have in what they do,” Pacino said. “That’s inspiring. Watching Lamar Jackson is an inspiration to actors. Finding that pocket, finding, where is that joy that gets under you and brings you out? The freedom to let go of the conscious, and get it to the unconscious and fly like he does?”
Pacino then likened Jackson to Willie Beamen, the Miami Sharks’ third-string quarterback, who is portrayed by Jamie Foxx in the film.
“With Willie Beamen, he was put in the background,” Pacino said. “Lamar was waiting behind Flacco, and I don’t see how he got overlooked. What Lamar’s doing was always there. You can clearly see it. Then you watch how he throws with such accuracy. He seems so comfortable throwing a football, like he’s been doing it all his life.”
Pacino’s remarks about Jackson and how the quarterback’s approach to the position can be equated to an actor taking on a role are certainly enlightening. The case can be made that Jackson, in the midst of an MVP-caliber campaign, is like an artist on the gridiron. Pacino’s praise further reinforces that argument.