Her name is Ivana Chubbuck and she shot to fame in Hollywood when Halle Berry, the first African-American woman to win the Oscar Best Actress Award, thanked the acting coach in her memorable and moving acceptance speech.
For her role in 2002’s Monster’s Ball as a poor Southern woman who falls for a widowed prison-guard after the execution of her husband [Wikepedia], Berry said, “I want to thank Ivana Chubbuck; I could have never figured out who the heck this lady was without you.”
While most Filipinos may not have recognized Chubbuck’s name then—and now—Star Magic artist training head Rahyan Carlos worships the woman’s work, and trained with her for two extensive months in Los Angeles in 2013. (Star Magic is ABS-CBN’s talent management arm).
“I just came across her book The Power of an Actor in National Bookstore some years back and it practically became my bible as an acting coach,” he related at a press conference introducing the Hollywood bigwig to the Philippine press on Thursday. “I emailed her and asked if I could study with her, and when I finally found the time, took off for Los Angeles for a life-changing experience.”
As the two became good friends, Carlos worked hard at inviting Chubbuck to visit the Philippines and conduct an acting workshop for Star Magic’s top talents, resulting to the feisty lady’s arrival in Manila this week.
“I love just love this man,” Chubbuck exclaimed. “He came to LA and everybody fell in love with him. He is smart, intuitive and he has the artistic spirit. I just came from Russia working with actors over there, and January to February is usually my busiest months, but I couldn’t say no to Rahyan.”
And so since yesterday, Chubbuck has been in a closed-door master teaching class with Star Magic’s Piolo Pascual, Gerald Anderson, Jake Cuenca, Akiko Solon, Dimples Romana, Koreen Medina, Arron Villaflor, Ynna Asistio, Arjo Atayde, Xian Lim, Sam Milby; and non-Star Magic artists Liza Dino, Carla Martinez, Issa Litton, Nico Policarpio, Christian Bables, Roj Gealon and Suzette Ranillo.
For the intensive two-day workshop, Chubbuck gave an overview of the kind of coaching she does, which begins by “breaking down the script, and working with the actor to reveal true emotions via substitution from their lives.”
“The workshop is a closed door because I need to give the actors a safe place where they can dig deep into their experiences and use their pain as fuel in their craft,” she elaborated.
Chubbuck has used the same technique with the likes of Berry, Jim Carrey, Charlize Theron (who also won an Oscar after being coached by Chubbuck for Monster in 2003), Beyonce, Jessica Biel, Eva Mendez and Brad Pitt, among others.
Asked what her world famous students have in common as actors, Chubbuck replied, “The best work ethic anyone can ever have.”
“To show you what I mean, I worked with Brad Pitt for a three-liner part and he just wanted to work on it and work on it and work on it,” she recalled. “At that time, he had no money and was working three jobs just to pay for acting class. What I mean to say is that it’s not enough just to be pretty; you have to work very hard.”
Chubbuck was herself an actress many years back. But as she and her co-actors helped each other out in different projects, discovered that she was more effective as an acting coach.
“I noticed everyone coming to me for help so I thought, why don’t I charge them for money!” she laughed. Turning more serious she quickly added, “I believe in God, and I believe God gives everyone a gift, and I’m using what He’s given me.”
Said to train “60 percent of Academy Award winners” in the recent years, Carlos said that Chubbuck’s visit is an important milestone in Star Magic’s history as a mere few sessions of her technique immediately elevates an actor’s skills.
Can a Filipino actor hope to win an Oscar someday?
To this, Chubbuck, who is rooting for her student Jared Leto to win on Sunday night’s Oscars, replied, “As I always say in my classes, anything is possible if you really work hard for it.”
Star Magic Workshop offers an intensive acting workshop called “Chubbuck Tech–nique” under Rahyan Carlos. This is open to the public—both amateurs and pro–fessionals. There will be three categories namely Introductory Class, Advanced Class and the Master Class. Registration starts on March 22 and 23 for limited slots only.
For inquiries, 415-2272 local 5142 or 5243, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.