SHORT TAKES : Duvall Says Acting Is Being Real

From Times Staff and Wire Service Reports

Actor Robert Duvall has prepared himself for roles by hanging out with bums on the Bowery, riding horses with the Texas Rangers and tramping through a Louisiana swamp with an alligator hunter.

He's not sure if it was all worth it.

"You could do all the research in the world--sometimes it pays off, sometimes it doesn't," Duvall says in the March issue of Smart magazine. "Sometimes you don't have time. You got to be a human being up there. That's the most important thing."

Duvall, who won an Oscar for "Tender Mercies" and starred in "The Godfather" and "The Great Santini," says he's a stickler for detail in his characters and in films in general.

"When actors start acting bigger than life, bigger than the people they play, then they're in trouble," Duvall said. "For example, I can't even talk about 'Gone With the Wind.' You don't see people in the South like that. It's a joke."

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