The odds against an unknown, untrained actor landing not one but several roles in major movies are astronomical. But Irwin Gould beat those odds and has proudly written about it in his new memoir, The Book of Irwin Gould.
Born and raised St Croix, Gould struck out on his own at a young age driven by ambition and deep faith, moving first to New York, then to South Florida where his looks and accent caught casting agents’ attention. While his movie roles were small (at times little more than extras), he nonetheless appeared in popular films, including Bad Boys II, Transporter II, and Miami Vice, as well as television series and commercials.
“Half the battle is consistency. How badly do you want your dream?” he asks, noting that had he given up after a string of rejections in New York, he would have missed his chance in Florida, where he at last got his first break. “Do not despise the day of small beginnings.”
This is the kind of tale aspiring actors will cling to. But while Gould’s intentions in sharing his story are worthy, the execution falls disappointingly short. There’s great potential here to weave his own story with practical advice to others with similar dreams. But his telling lacks the depth and detail needed to create a memorable work.
The author does a solid job of delivering his journey’s chronology, from model casting calls to chance meetings with stars and directors, but without more backstory and emotional sharing, it just feels like a recitation of his resume. Did he struggle with self-doubt? Although he touches on the rejection briefly, a deeper exploration would have enriched his story. What was happening in his life between gigs? He mentions his children but doesn’t discuss his personal relationships, which would have rounded out his narrative.
For those wavering about pursuing their acting dreams, Gould’s story will land, but it’s unlikely to resonate with wider audiences.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.