Sissy Spacek on the Quality of Roles for Women and Her Career: “I’m not a trained actor. I’m sure I have much to learn still”

Actress Sissy Spacek has released her own memoir entitled My Extraordinary Ordinary Life and in the book, she delves deep into her family and her life in acting.  “One’s life does inform everything you do and how you do it. My childhood upbringing and my family are the foundation of who I am. It does inform my work,” The Help star recently told Reuters during an interview.

Growing up in Quitman, Texas, the 62 year old credits her brief involvement in a formal class that ignited her passion for acting. “I did a little studying with the (Lee) Strasberg Institute, though I never made it beyond exercise class,” she said. “I had never acted before I took classes there. It evidently planted a seed that grew. The things I learned had to do with using your own life to inform your work. That’s what I did. Every choice that I made had to do with that simple lesson.  I learned about sense memory. I used that sense memory by weaving my own life into my work. I’m not a trained actor. I’m sure I have much to learn still. I’ve kind of flown by the seat of my pants.”

Spacek also touched on the quality of roles for women in the field now and her compassion towards those Hollywood actresses that deal with the intense pressures of the industry and its demands.  “That’s hard for me to judge because in the 1970s I was a young actress, so there were many more roles available. Film is a youth-oriented business. There are not many roles for older actors. I certainly don’t take it personally.”  Adding, “It’s a tricky thing to build a career. I feel for young actresses. The industry just kind of gobbles them up and it doesn’t give them much breathing room. Sometimes you see a wonderful performance and then they disappear. We as a society are kind of like piranha. We gobble things up.”

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