Over the weekend, a friend shared a link to a video interview done by The Hollywood Reporter which caught my attention. The interview was with six established dramatic actresses (pictured above, left to right): Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife, ER), Emmy Rossum (Shameless, The Day After Tomorrow), Mireille Enos (The Killing, Big Love), Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer), Claire Danes (Homeland, Romeo + Juliet), and January Jones (Mad Men).
Seeing these six strong dramatic actresses in one room conversing on various aspects of the industry and their process was a delight to witness.
I encourage you to grab a coffee or tea, relax and watch the whole interview below, but here are some highlights from that interview:
Question: How do you approach learning your lines now, compared to when you started, with perhaps a different approach?
Claire: When I started doing Homeland, it had been, God knows how long, since I last did an episodic show. I was 15 when I did My So-Called Life. It’s just so dense, I mean, the volume of material that you have to commit to memory is profound and little overwhelming. [laughs] I did have to develop a strategy and I realize I just have to become familiar and intimate with the script as soon as it lands in my lap. It’s a layering process. Whereas with film, obviously you chart the trajectory of the character out and you get a sense of what it is you’re doing but, you don’t actually have to learn the material until kinda the night before. And that’s just not realistic with episodic. It’s a constant process.
Julianna: I have an answer for all of you. It’s called Rehearsal 2; it’s on the iPad. I shoot 23 episodes a year and it’s all legal dialogue. It’s inhuman what they want you to do. I can’t work a 14-hour day, and try to learn everything in two-hours before I fall asleep and get up and start again. Rita Wilson was a Guest Star on our show and she she saw me; I was sweating bullets all the time. And she said, “honey, Rehearsal 2,” and it’s changed my life.
Q: What is the biggest personal sacrifice you’ve made for your career?
Mireille: We’re all so lucky, but you can never plan your life. Family vacations – there’s always something that comes up at the last minute. You’re juggling. My sister will say, “We’re all getting together. Will you be there?” I’ll say, ask me two days before because you just never know.
Q: Who has been most helpful or formative in shaping your career?
Kyra: For me, it’s my husband. He was the one who supported me doing The Closer. That was a huge commitment on the life-changing for both of us. And we read each other’s scripts and give our two cents. I’m so grateful that we have that. I trust my agents to a certain extent but I also feel like that can be a little tricky. You got to have your own instincts about it and who to really talk to about it.
Emmy: I don’t feel like I have an exterior person. I try to meditate on it. Got with your guy. If there’s ever a part of me that’s gnawing at me that says “oh, I don’t know that this feels right” or “I don’t know if this is going to work.” There has to be that part of you that goes, “Can I do this? Can I pull this off? Ooh, that’s an exciting challenge.”
January: I think my family. They’ve always said “just in case, you can always come back home and live at home.” It was sweet but it was almost like a threat. Like, I will make this work! [laughs] But they are very supportive and always 100% behind me no matter what it is even if it has been a crap piece of work. I’m very instinctual about my process and about when I first read something and I how I feel. If I get excited or nervous it’s usually a good sign. If I need a second opinion I usually go to my sister.