Emmett James: Admit One

by Rachel Baker on May 19, 2008

Emmett James, Admit OneIt has been a long time since I’ve read a memoir. Most memoirs that I’ve read in the past are the life and times of various authors through history. Virginia Woolf, Dorothy Parker, Ernest Hemingway, Edna Ferber, Maya Angelou, to name a few. The two years I spent reading memoirs was spent studying the early 1920s and 30s. I was really looking at the way of life of the expatriates of that timespan. For some reason, I was fascinated with this era. Over time, though, the reading became dry and their lives were predictable.

But I regress.

Recently, I picked up ADMIT ONE by Emmett James. Admit One is the life and times of Emmett James. Emmett is a professional actor (won a prestigious ADA) who has appeared in Emmy, Golden Globe, SAG and Academy Award winning work, including Titantic. He is originally from Croydon, South London and studied acting at Strasberg Actors Studio in London.

Each chapter of Admit One starts off by referencing a movie from the year James is telling us about. The first chapter tells us the Jungle Book was his first introduction to movies at a movie theater. Though he feel asleep after the opening credits, after the massive sugar-dosing that we have all experienced as young children at a movie theater, he was amazed at the transformation his brother had after the movie:

I wanted to share this thing that could transform people, I wanted his movements, now quick and bold and sure and light. Everything about him flushed with gaiety and energy, and erupted in short Tourette’s-like bouts of rapturous Disney song.

And so began his dream of being an actor. Despite showing up to a Director’s hotel room in superhero tights, and having to wear fake breasts in a boxing ring, oh, and the soft porn lap dancing role, he finally made it. Emmett James is doing what he set out in 1967 to do.

Admit One is a quick, easy read that will have you laughing out loud with every turn of the page. James has a real knack for making his readers feel like they are sitting in a coffee shop listening to him tell his story. While I was reading, I could completely see the movie of his life formulating in my head. I laughed so hard I was crying. I remembered similar movie going experiences he was sharing. I nodded my head as I remembered moments in my life which could be compared to the movies he was relating to.

Not many of us would admit that the Karate Kid was one of our first “crush on a main character” movies. Well, other than the crush on Princess Leah or Han Solo that happened to a whole generation of pre-teens. They weren’t real though… Ralph Macchio and Elizabeth Shue… they were real!

This book is a fun read that will have all readers, whether they like memoirs or not, laughing out loud at the easy conversational way James lays out his life. This book will remind you of silly moments in your life that paralleled movies, but more importantly, this is a book that affirms the possibility of living out your dreams. He ended the final chapter with:

They say that middle age is a time where the clothes of life begin to fit people better. Luckily, I still had a full wardrobe full of costumes I was waiting to grow into with excited anticipation. Only time will tell.

I hope when the movie come out, he plays himself!

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