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In addition to his work in film, Pacino has had an extensive career on stage and is a two-time Tony Award winner, in 1969 and 1977, for his performances in Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie? and The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel respectively.
A lifelong fan of Shakespeare, Pacino directed and starred in Looking for Richard (1996), a documentary film about the play Richard III, a role which Pacino had earlier portrayed on-stage in 1977.
Pacino explains that he has always wanted to do Shakespeare, because of his love of language. He used to do soliloquies from Hamlet and Macbeth alone in his room and chose to perform Shakespeare scenes for acting classes. He is inspired by the language and feels that as an actor, “language serves you,” as opposed to the other way around. He believes that today people are lazy and do not open their mouths to speak, so this is an opportunity to really use language. Although this is his first professional Shakespeare production, he talks about performing the first half hour of Richard III at the Actor’s Studio three or four years prior. In this production, he did not use a director, which he claims is the “best way to do it,” casting a sheepish look at director David Wheeler.
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