Do What You Need To Do

For the actor…

Speaking of repetition, you can’t rely on the director or other actors or rehearsal process to allow you much time to “find it.” (If you’re fortunate to have a long rehearsal process and patient director, thank your lucky stars, as it’s not the norm.) And if it’s a film, forget about it. Time is money and money is time. You’re expected to show up on set pretty much fully formed.

But you need to get your reps in somehow. You gotta figure out the character, especially if it’s a complex one, and this part of the process is largely a solo endeavor. You gotta do what you gotta do. This is where a little ingenuity and creativity and a producing mindset can serve you.

Josh Brolin tells a great story about preparing for his role as Eddie Mannix in Hail Caesar by the Coen Brothers…

I’m lucky to have a good voice and I’m good at mimicry, so with Eddie Mannix, he was a different kind of role and doing his voice wasn’t easy. It was New Jersey and Abbott and Costello. I actually rented a theater in LA and treated the script like a play. Even before we began working with the Coens, the other actors and I would rehearse, and I have to say, this part of the process I enjoy more than anything. It’s like building a house. Planning to build your house is amazing, and living in the house after it’s built is amazing, but building the house is a pain in the ass. Acting is a lot of work and a lot of trial and error; it can be an embarrassing thing, things can not be working, but you keep going, and you find the magic in that not working and the reaction to it. It’s like painting a picture—sometimes an accident is the best part. But acting is truly a profession of humiliation.

No one cares or needs to see how you got there. All that matters is you got there. Whatever you need to do, do it.

P.S. – You can read the rest of the Josh Brolin interview Here.

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