Yesterday I saw an interesting interview with Jessie Eisenberg, who played Mark Zuckerberg in the movie The Social Network. He was talking about a different movie he acted in. He said that during the time period he was playing this part he noticed that as he went about his days and evenings off the set he found himself being so happy, much more than usual. At first he could not figure out why. Then he thought about it and came to the conclusion it was because of the character he was playing this time. Jessie said that this guy was extremely happy. He then said “I need to look for more roles where I play happy characters.”
It reminded me of the time I saw Maurice Benard on the Oprah Winfrey show. He plays Sonny Corinthos a mob boss on General Hospital, my favorite character on the show. He has played this part every day for many years. Maurice expressed to Oprah that he had to be careful, because he would sometimes start to believe he was Sonny. He said just like his character, Sonny, he struggles with metal health issues, particularly if he is not taking his medicine. He told a story about how once threatened to have someone killed, thinking he was the mob boss he plays on General Hospital.
Often actors will say that the characters get in their heads. My question is what character is getting in your head? How are you acting? Or rather who are you telling yourself and the world that you are by the way you play your role? Do you take time to remember that you are playing a role right now? Do you realize that every day you reinforce who you are by your playing? Do you realize that you have a choice in your role you are to play? Have you gone over what your movie is about? Are you staying in contact with the great director? If not maybe it is time to do so. Play thy role well.