Art, Writing & Big Magic, inner-work

‘Quit trying to hide who you are. You’re the only thing you have.’

Check out this gem from an interview with actor Richard Jenkins that I heard on yesterday’s Fresh Air (find the episode here):

(Fresh Air Guest Host DAVIES): Coming back to when you were talking about how there came a point when you were bored. Can you take us back to that time? Do you remember when you felt bored – a role – what it felt like?

(Actor RICHARD JENKINS): I don’t remember the specific role, but I remember being outside of myself looking at me doing what I was doing. That’s the feeling I got. And I thought, you know, what am I doing? What’s the point of this profession to me? I mean, is this what it means to me just to do this thing night after night without feeling life?

And I went back to an old acting coach I had. Harold Guskin was his name. He wasn’t an old man. He was just a coach I had worked with for a year. And I went back to what he taught me. And I just said, OK. Let’s try this. And he basically said quit trying to hide who you are. You’re the only thing you have. And I just refused to believe that it was enough, that it was interesting enough, that I had anything to offer.

But the thing you come to – that I came to – is that whether you think that or not, that’s all you got. So you have to rely on that. Every experience has to come through a filter, through your experience. You know, you get angry. It’s – you’re getting angry, what makes you angry. So I was trying to copy others or be something else or be a character. It takes a long time to trust yourself enough to think that I have something to offer. And it’s – we still – I still don’t believe it. I still think I don’t. But, you know, you know that the only chance you have is to just kind of live your life and exist on the screen.


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2 thoughts on “‘Quit trying to hide who you are. You’re the only thing you have.’”

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