When actor Stephen Lang got the call to play Babe Ruth in the 1991 TV movie for NBC, he was in the Berk­shires on a 10-​​day fast. Per­plexed as to how he would play the iconic New York Yan­kees slugger, Lang headed off into the woods to clear his head, and hap­pened to stumble upon the knob of a base­ball bat buried along his trail. Lang felt the Babe was sending him a mes­sage: “It all starts with the swing.”

That was the pebble in the pond, and the char­acter then rip­pled out,” Lang said during an informal dis­cus­sion with mem­bers of the North­eastern Uni­ver­sity com­mu­nity on Monday morning in Dodge Hall.

The dis­cus­sion about Lang’s life, career and inspi­ra­tions kicked off the accom­plished actor’s three-​​day visit to North­eastern, spon­sored by the Human­i­ties Center’s Artists and Prac­ti­tioners in Res­i­dence Pro­gram. Ter­rence Masson, director of the Cre­ative Indus­tries pro­gram at North­eastern, hosted the discussion.

Lang, 58, vividly reflected on his dis­tin­guished career on stage, in film and on tele­vi­sion, which began at age 17 when he audi­tioned for “Oth­ello” at the Hedgerow The­ater in Penn­syl­vania while attending Swarth­more Col­lege. He recalled meeting Dustin Hoffman while audi­tioning at Manhattan’s Booth The­atre for the role of Happy Loman in “Death of a Salesman” in 1983. “For a young actor, to be in the same room with Dustin at that time,” he said, “was really just incredible.”

While making the 1991 film “The Hard Way,” Lang described being acci­den­tally knocked out cold by Michael J. Fox during filming. Fox was swinging a 2x4 at Lang for a scene, but lost his footing and cracked Lang upside the head.

Describing the dif­fer­ence between acting for stage and film, Lang said the stage per­for­mance is con­stantly changing and evolving from show to show, while for film, the onus is on an actor to become defin­i­tive. So he felt “the stakes got mag­ni­fied” while making the movie “Death of a Salesman” com­pared to acting it on stage.

Lang also starred as Colonel Miles Quar­itch in the 2009 epic film, “Avatar,” which was screened at North­eastern last night, fol­lowed by a ques­tion and answer session.

Tonight, Lang will give a talk exam­ining the process of cre­ating “Beyond Glory,” his solo play about the Medal of Honor. The event is sched­uled from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in 90 Snell Library. On Wednesday, Lang will par­tic­i­pate in the panel dis­cus­sion, “Acting in a Vir­tual World,” from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in 320 Shillman. Both are open to the public.

Cre­ated in 2009, the Artist and Prac­ti­tioners in Res­i­dence Pro­gram brings inno­v­a­tive, cre­ative indi­vid­uals to campus to create inter­dis­ci­pli­nary dia­logues that engage and ener­gize the North­eastern community.