April 23, 1996

Yesterday's auditions made me think about my interaction with actors over the years. I'm starting to think that the sort of character I tend to write isn't the sort of character that most actors like to play. The main character in Honeymoon, Mimi, has several layers of personality between her emotions and the world, and almost all of her feelings are intercepted, or mediated, by her head. To me this is the most natural kind of character in the world to write, maybe because I relate on a personal level, maybe because I'm fascinated with the battle of superego and id. At the risk of making foolish generalizations, it's my impression that actors put years of effort into uncovering their raw emotions, getting rid of those layers of mediating personality so that they can exist more naturally on stage or in front of a camera. And I think that this is why my characters often perplex them. On my first film, the actors were openly disappointed with the way I was directing them, and told me repeatedly that the performances were coming out flat, without soul or inflection. As far as I was concerned, I was just after the tone of everyday interaction, where people are always hiding their inner selves from you. I don't know exactly how to deal with this problem. One thing I should make sure to do is to discuss these ideas with actors before the shoot, to avoid eventual misunderstandings.

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