Elia Kazan on Passion

Marlon Brando and Elia Kazan on the set of A Streetcar Named Desire (1951).

Interview with Elia Kazan
Conducted by James Grissom
New York City

Passion is a great foundation from which to work, and I always want to work with someone who is passionate about what they do or what they want to do. Passion is not to be confused with desire or enthusiasm: Passion is a fervent need to do what one has longed to do. Passion is about discovering things, and when it is at its best, it is stripped of vanity, so that the artist possessing it will arrive and allow you to take them on any journey, as long as it leads to truth and power and beauty. A lot of people have talent, and talent is, ironically, a cheap commodity: it needs additives. The greatest additive is passion. Add some curiosity, and some terrific work may be at hand. But I don't think passion is something you can cultivate, like feigning interest in something that might benefit you: I think passion is a gift. A very rare gift. You can fix a lot of things, but you can't do shit with someone who lacks passion.

© 2014 James Grissom


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