When I was a kid, I thought being an actor I get to play people so different from me and my life. As I started acting and training, I realized I was wrong. About a year ago, I got cast as a mother in an independent film. First, she is 20 years older than I am, makeup took care of that. That wasn’t the real issue for me. The mother was abused woman and allowed her daughter be sexually abused by her husband. Now, that is so not me. Or any of the women I know in my life.
So I was trying to find what I call the hook of the character: Something that links me and her together. So I went back to the dialogue again and again. In one scene, the daughter is trying to talk to the mother and the mother kept shutting her down. Pretending like everything is okay, smiling when she wanted to scream. The mother reminded me of a relative of mine to the tee. Bingo! That became the hook. That’s How connected I to the mother. When it came time to film, I was able to do it. Because I had a real person I could draw on for inspiration to make the mother I embodied alive for me. It was emotionally draining experience but I felt good after it was done filming.
It cemented for me that everything I experience from childhood to now fuel my acting. I understood how my relative remained aloof but inside she had a lot churning inside that she wouldn’t let others aware of. Made me wonder of all the stories and feeling she locked away inside in fear. I am reminded that I have to use it all the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful in life to make characters and ourselves alive.