THR Actress Roundtable 2013

Oprah: You need to learn to give yourself over to the character. Let the character take control. And if she wants to cry, she’ll cry. And if she doesn’t, not even Steven Spielberg can make her.

Lupita Nyong’o: My teacher at Yale, Ron Van Lieu, once said, “It feels like it’s all about you, but it’s not about you at all. It’s about the person you’re playing.” And that always helps me get out there and do the thing I’ve been hired to do. I am fighting for what my character wants, and if I’m pursuing that, then I’m good.

Emma Thompson: Ang Lee, on Sense and Sensibility, said, “Don’t look so old.” That was scary.

Amy Adams: I mean, it’s what sells, right? It’s a business and so as much as it’s an artform to all of us sitting here and we put our artistic selves into it. It is a business and at some point you seek the women out in the world and say, ‘Come support us. Come support other women. Be enthusiastic to see smart women of all ages and all races portraying life.’ And that’s what – that’s when it will make a difference. When we as women, I think, can support each other and really celebrate each other.

Julia Roberts: Yeah, but those women are like, “Well, I would love to do that. But I have to make dinner, and then make lunch for tomorrow.”

Lupita Nyong’o: I definitely believe that as an actor, you know, you have all these technical things you do to get into character and then the last ingredient is the magic. It’s something you can’t manufacture, you just have to let go and have a faith that it will come.

Oprah: It’s like years ago when Quincy Jones was orchestrating the We are the World concert and all the singers in the room he said, “You have to leave room for God to walk in the door.” And I think every actor has to do that in some form.

Octavia Spencer: You have to have that undying belief in yourself.

Oprah: There is a limit to the amount of darkness I want to bring into my own personal space… I don’t want to bring the darkness into myself in a way that’s evil darkness.

Lupita: [Writer] Khalil Gibran says, “The deeper sorrow carves itself into your being, the more joy you can contain.”

Julia: [when asked what roles she didn’t get that she would have wanted] I’m good. I don’t want to be greedy. I appreciate great acting so much that it’s a joy to sit back and watch someone else do all the heavy lifting.

[Emma talks about receiving projects and Oprah mentions expectations and the need to be alone with your thoughts and yourself.]
Emma Thompson: Oh, I just try and stop showing off for 10 bloody minutes. Because you can’t keep on giving out all that energy. You know, you have to go away and recharge.

Oprah: Thank you for saying that because I love spending so much time alone; sometimes my best friend Gayle says, “What are you doing?” I say, “I’m just alone with my thoughts.” I have to retreat because you’re giving out so much energy all the time.

This article has been edited for The complete story appeared in The Hollywood Reporter Nov.2013.

November 1, 2013 | Interview | this post contains affiliate links