Gina Wilhelm Actress – Actresses Have to Study, Too
A number of movies this year take place in other times and places. How do today’s actresses give convincing performances? Study.
Viola Davis has been nominated for a Golden Globe and is getting a lot of Oscar buzz for her performance in “Doubt,” but originally she had a very different take on her scene.
At first, she approached the scene as a confrontation, the way a woman in 2008 might.
However, writer-director John Patrick Shanley reminded her that the interaction was taking place in 1964, and there had to be a “certain politeness” to it.
She studied Catholicism (her character converts to get her son into a Catholic school), read several books on the time, and watched a lot of film from the civil rights movement.
She took a lot of inspiration from the mother of Emmett Till, who gave a restrained and polite speech after her son’s killers were acquitted.
For “The Secret Life of Bees,” which also takes place in 1964, Queen Latifah’s performance was aided by care packages the director sent the cast.
The care packages had books, movies, and songs of the era.
Elizabeth Banks, who plays Laura Bush in “W,” read several books, but also watched the Charlie Rose’s interviews with the First Lady.
She said there was such rapport between the two, it was a window into the First Lady’s personality.
In addition to actual study, a lot of actresses in period pieces have been aided by their costuming.
Ms. Davis said the way her costume hid her-and the way the overcoat hid the rest of the costume-gave her real insight into her character’s motivation.
Studying: It’s not just for kids!