The more you do your homework, the more you're free to be intuitive. But you've got to put the work in.
I've always thought of acting as more of an exercise in empathy, which is not to be confused with sympathy. You're trying to get inside a certain emotional reality or motivational reality and try to figure out what that's about so you can represent it.
What has always been most interesting about acting to me personally is that it affords you the chance to shift gears, both in terms of the experiences you get to have through doing it, but also the different kinds of things you get to represent.
There's a lot of romanticisation of the intuitive actor and method acting and all kinds of notions about getting inside a character and coming out from there.
When I was about 16 or 17, I had a teacher who took a group of us to the National Theater in Washington, D.C., and I saw Ian McKellen do his one-man show - I think it was called Acting Shakespeare - and it completely bombed me; it put the zap on my brain in a big way.
I always felt that acting was an escape, like having the secret key to every door and permission to go into any realm and soak it up. I enjoy that free pass.
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