9 Secrets Actors Use to Make Their Roles Unforgettable
It’s easy to watch talented actors and completely believe in them. Their performances in both comedies and thrillers are equally great. Though it may seem natural on-screen, it’s not easily achieved on the set.
Bright Side decided to find out how actors prepare for their parts and how they shoot love scenes so passionately.
1. Adjusting to another reality
It’s crucial for an actor to be able to switch from one emotional state to another. Some Hollywood actors use Lee Strasberg’s method — the coffee cup exercise — to accurately represent a character’s reality. For example, when you’re in a subway, try to remember your morning coffee precisely: its warmth, color, taste, smell. Thus you can experience the feelings you had in the morning while being in another place. Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansson, and Al Pacino have mastered this technique.
2. Menthol crystals for crying on command
When an actor immerses himself into a character, he can easily perform any emotion: happiness, anger, or grief. It doesn’t always go as smoothly with tears. Some actors try to recall their own failures before filming a scene; others don’t blink for some time or use menthol crystals for the eyeballs to shed a tear.
3. Mastering facial expressions
To deliver any kind of emotion easily, the face’s muscles must be relaxed. Before filming a scene, actors usually warm up their facial muscles to get into a relaxed state. The same rule applies to voice training.
4. Meditation for a calm mind
To bring a character to life, an actor has to be relaxed and calm. One of the best methods is meditation. Benedict Cumberbatch revealed that he uses meditation to get his mind focused and to calm himself.
5. Emotional memory technique
Actors often reflect on their own emotional moments to bring feelings forth. Konstantin Stanislavski’s technique teaches us how to do this. The essential part of this method is to bring up emotional memories and use them to make people "believe" that a character’s feelings are real. To prepare emotionally for The Pianist, Adrien Brody sold his apartment, broke up with his girlfriend, and stayed alone for some time.
6. Identify with a character’s lifestyle
Some roles can be perfectly performed only if you identify yourself with the character’s way of life. Jared Leto tried really hard to understand Joker from Suicide Squad. He gave Margot Robbie a live rat, spent time with psychopaths, and scared the crew on set. Leto says he took a really deep dive into the role.
7. Kissing techniques
Actors may not want to kiss each other at all, but they might have to. The camera can be placed at a certain angle to create the illusion of kissing. Placing a palm on a partner’s cheek adds more emotion to the scene. Hands can cover the lips that stay closed at the moment. No magic, just techniques.
8. Movies as inspiration
9. Comfort goes first
Comfort for everyone goes first, mainly because actors might film the same scene dozens of times. Every actor and actress has their own demands referring to food, apartments, and schedules. Tom Cruise demands a thong for stunt scenes. He says they provide necessary "comfort and flexibility" to perform action scenes.