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An Actor's Mind

Joe Mantegna is at the top of his game and aims to keep playing Hollywood's Major Leagues
Marshall Fine
From the Print Edition:
Joe Mantegna, July/August 2011

(continued from page 6)

“Now I know what Lee J. Cobb feels like,” Mantegna says with a laugh and a shrug. “It does give you pause. I’m that guy.  I’m a veteran of the original. It’s the evolution of things. Hey, I’m 63. It happens in the blink of an eye. That’s just the way it goes.

“There are those actors who have a plan: ‘I’m going to write this for myself and then I’ll do this,’ but I never did. I don’t chalk that up to a lack of ambition. But the same thing that scared me about acting also excited me: the unknown. No matter how successful I was, the whole thing could end tomorrow. While I was fearful, there was also excitement because there might be something out there, something that, two seconds ago, I didn’t know was going to happen, and now it’s changed my life for the next six months—or 10 years.

“I tell young people that, to use a baseball analogy, all I aspired to do was to play in the Major Leagues, to work at the highest level with the best possible people. And I’ve been able to do that. I made it to the Majors. What I aspire to do now is continue in the Major Leagues. What I aspire to do is the unknown.”

Contributing editor Marshall Fine writes about film and entertainment at his website,

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