Interviewer subpage 07

William H. Macy
Actor, Writer, Director
“What can an actor do to ensure a good performance on the stage?”

“The whole issue of being “good” is a fool’s end. You can’t be good. It’s the kiss of death. You’re sure to screw up your performance if you go into a play thinking, ‘My agent’s out there, so I’m going to be particularly good tonight’ or ‘Tonight is opening night and the New York Times will be out there. I’m going to be especially good tonight.’ To be good is not attainable. What is attainable is to be truthful and just do your job.”
“What’s the toughest thing about being an actor?”

“When you strip away the supposed glamour and hype, you’re faced with the almost overwhelming task of performing the mechanical parts of acting. It’s not inconsequential, and few people are really good at remembering the lines. People say, ‘Oh that’s the easy part.’ It’s not the easy part. It’s a burden. It’s a trial. It’s the worst part of it. The cold hard fact is that nobody knows the lines well enough at the beginning of a film or a play. Then, there are the physical requirements—the blocking, where you stand or move in a scene. I don’t care how long you’ve been acting, one has to constantly be reminding oneself to speak up, hit your blocking, wait for the cues, be still when someone else is delivering their lines, etc. And on a film, you not only have to do all the above, but you have to stay in the light, or look for the shadow on her face, stay within the camera frame and much more. Acting is extremely technically demanding.”