Some of Hollywood’s top talents talk about their experiences working with Paradox as a performance coach.
One of the most rewarding things about acting for me personally, is when you are able to completely transform into another being- mind and body. Paradox was able to get me to that state. When I first began working with him on this particular job, I was nervous and in my head. His suggestions and guidance freed me. He was able to get me out of my head and living in the moment. He brought out a physicality, I didn’t know I had. And most importantly to me, he brought out a confidence I didn’t know I had. Our work together allowed me to walk on to set more confident then ever and I am forever grateful for that.
BREC BASSINGER, Star of CW Network’s STARGIRL
The contribution of Paradox Pollack to my performance as Loki in Thor was, and remains, of incalculable value to me. As a performer and artist he approaches the work of building a character with a dizzying array of deeply practical and imaginative tools. On the face of it, a character like Loki could seem, or at least risks seeming, in part ridiculous: a comic book incarnation of a Norse god; a shape-shifting master of magic, living in an unknown and fantastical realm of the universe.
My work with Paradox absolutely grounded the character in a relatable and accessible humanity, without ever shying away from magical aspects of the world of Asgard and of Kenneth Branagh’s film. He works instinctively and intuitively, with an undiluted passion for performance on the exact opposite end of the scale to cynicism. He worked with me using movement; honing and specifying the action of fight choreography; he used his experience with whips in the circus to help develop a lethal and efficient methodology with Loki’s throwing knives.
Paradox’s work shuts off the intellect and awakens the imagination. You can’t build characters only in your head – they must, in part, come from your heart – and Paradox helps you access that, with practical tools. His credit on the film is more deserved than he knows.
Excerpt from LA Times interview with Chris Hemsworth
“We had to develop a style of movement that was singular, really, to this character .. .We had a movement guy come in … a guy named Paradox Pollack, and we worked together a lot.”
Pollack helped Hemsworth view Mjolnir as something more than a heavy possession or even a treasured totem.
“I met him on ‘Star Trek,’” Hemsworth said of Pollack. “He was teaching all the people who were playing aliens how to move around. How do you get that job? He’s a fascinating guy. He’s got a circus background and acrobatics and he was a real help. He came in on this and he had read every ‘Thor’ comic book and he had a lot to show me about the hands and postures and these poses that evoke the comic book character and then how, as an actor, you could do some of those things to put it on the screen. He had this idea too of this electricity, this energy, that’s surrounding Thor. There’s an aura of thunder and lighting and energy around him, and if you start with that, then there’s a way you can move that kind of fits with that. And it affects the relation to everybody else, the way he interacts; if this exists and it extends to out here then you wouldn’t stand that close to a 9-foot monster. It was all very helpful to me.”
I have worked in the film and television industry for 20 years now. I have at various times worked as a stunt performer, suit performer, and actor working in such films as Iron Man (Iron Man double), 300 (Spartan), Man of Steel (Tor-An), Fox’s Sleepy Hollow (Headless Horseman), Batman V. Superman, and Justice League (Batman double)
I’ve always realized how important body mechanics and movement is to performing and felt confident that I knew pretty much all I needed to create a great performance regardless of the character I was portraying. That is, until I met Paradox Pollack. To even say Paradox is a movement coordinator is highly understating his knowledge and abilities. He’s fantastic at looking at a character that one would think performing well could only be possible through animation and somehow bringing that character to eye-catching life with only human movement.
Working as one of the hero Frost Giants in Thor, it was my great fortune to work with and learn from Paradox. Besides the actors, I witnessed seasoned stunt performers respond to this man in a way that is fairly rare. There were no displays of egos when Paradox taught and rehearsed us. To watch his passion for his craft and listen to him break down the obviously well thought-out aspects of how to portray our characters, even the most skeptical stunt men bought into his teachings. And trust me, unless it’s information is coming right from the director, stunt men can be very skeptical of someone telling them how they should be performing.
I will always be grateful for the things I learned from Paradox about character portrayal. I’ve used them in projects a number of times since then, and I continue to use them to this day.
I first met Paradox Pollack while directing I Am Legend, where he was one of the stunt players and performance artists who portrayed the film’s creatures. On that show, we remixed familiar vampire and zombie lore to create a new kind of movie monster.
In 2018, I hired Paradox as the movement director for the first season of the AppleTV series See. He hired a team and coordinated research to design a training program for the entire cast (from leading roles to background extras) to embody a world where all humans had become blind, and nature has reclaimed civilization. Paradox has a special talent for taking ideas that seem esoteric, or bizarre on the page, and, with his expansive understanding of myth, ritual, tribal culture and traditions from around the world, communicating simple practices to create a shared vision to the acotrs and stunt performers.
Paradox’s work was instrumental in making the unique world of See feel grounded and familiar. He was able to create an atmosphere of respect and generosity with the cast and all of hte production department heads. As the head of the Movement Department, Paradox co-created the distinct cultural behavior for the tribes featured in the show. His work manifested as a rich tapestry of songs, games, navigation techniques and adaptive behaviors which made sight obsolete and yet honored the sensitive representation of the disabled in our world. He worked in close collaboration with our blind, low-vision cast members, including our blindness consultant. In his training program, Paradox and his team coached the actors and stunt team to convey the new senses which had evolved in a world without vision. The stunt players and fight choreographers were trained to think from a place of smell, touch, sound, and vibration and they included this awareness in every gesture of stealth and attack seen throughout the first season.
From my experience, I can confidently say that Paradox is an extremely skilled teacher and coach who can re-create and/or generate social behaviors from any given period in time. He strives to bring out the best in all of the performers he works with and I recommend him at the highest level.