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What do Leo, Cate, Mark and Other Oscar Nominees do to Embody Their Characters

I always tell actors that when you go into auditions it is your chance to use your creative imagination to create the inner life, the physicality, and the many different emotions of those characters. It is also up to you to continue to create the character, their nuances and find the uniqueness of your performance throughout the filming of the project.

In The Oscars Special Double Issue of Entertainment Weekly – Jan29/Feb5th, 2016 issue, I was interested in what these Oscars nominees for Best Actor, Actress, Supporting Actress and Supporting Actor, had to say about preparation and how they embodied the characters they played.

Leonardo DiCaprio when he was preparing for The Revenant said, “that he was most interested in the challenge of portraying a character who barely speaks. He wanted to convey the characters complex emotions with very little dialogue.”



The director Tom Hooper said about Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl, “that the primary concern for Eddie was always the characters emotional journey, much more than the physical and that’s the incredible work you can see in his performance.”

Michael Fassbender in Steve Jobs needed to capture Steve jobs’ spirit and find the human soul behind the Mac daddy. Fassbender read and re-read and re-reread Aaron Sorkin’s script to make sure when it came time to perform the complex pages of the fast-paced dialogue, that he wouldn’t be the one holding production up. “I’d hate to go home having had a bad day because I didn’t prepare properly.”

Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl says that by researching the part it gave her an education in both trans rights and love. She read a book called My Husband’s a Woman Now and spoke to the woman who wrote the book. Alicia says, “and it was a revelation to see that, with anyone who you’re close to, it is very much the two people who go through this change together. That’s something I really listened to and was very moved by.”

Christian Bale in The Big Short invites you inside while simultaneously maintaining a distance, a coolness that is essential to the character. Bale, wore the clothes of the real life person he was portraying in the movie, emulated his breathing and mimicked his office routines.”

Mark Ruffalo in Spotlight nailed both the character’s nuances and his character traits without turning the performance into a caricature. Josh Singer who was co-screenwriter on the movie said, “He’s really got him down in a way that is subtle and wonderful.”

Cate Blanchett in Carol says, “In the novel Carol was so enigmatic and remote and unknowable, as most objects of desire are, but the interesting challenge for me was to still make Carol all of those elusive things while also depicting the quiet, private hell that she’s living in.” Todd Haynes the director, “Praises her commitment to embodying characters so deeply that she almost becomes mistaken for them.”



The next time you are preparing for an audition or a role, remember to definitely do as much research into your character as possible. Determine what makes that character tick, what is the heart and soul of this person and use your creative imagination to embody the role. Because you never know when you might be recognized for your outstanding work in a film, television show or a stage production.

Lisa London Appears on LA Reels Podcast
Acting, Ambition and Success

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