Boardwalk Empire’s Kelly Macdonald: “I don’t generally get to play the stronger characters…. but I’ve been enjoying getting my teeth into something else”

There is no show on television that I follow as closely as Boardwalk Empire, and a big reason for that is incredibly talented actors and actresses featured on the show.  One of the series’ strongest lead characters is Margaret Thompson, played by Kelly Macdonald, whose recent career has even lead her to being cast as the lead character in Pixar’s last film, Brave

In a conversation with NPR, Macdonald talks about what she enjoys about her Boardwalk Empire role, what she learned from her first major audition, and how she feels about being an “untrained” actress.

Macdonald explains that she relishes her role on Boardwalk Empire because it’s not the type of role she is usually offered.  She says, “I don’t generally get to play the stronger characters.  I get very lovely parts, but they’re quite quiet and thoughtful and watchful — and that’s all well and good, but I’ve been enjoying getting my teeth into something else.”

Macdonald’s first major role was in Danny Boyle‘s Trainspotting, which she landed after an open casting call.  But practicing the part with her mother was difficult before the audition.  She explains,  “So my mom was reading the Renton part and being really annoying because she was really superacting. And I had to keep stopping and saying, ‘Just read it. Just read the words.’ And weirdly, I got the same direction from Danny Boyle. At my screen test, for some reason … I decided … this was it. I was going to do superacting — kind of like my mom. And as soon as I started doing it, it was all wrong. And Danny stopped me and said, ‘You know, John Hodge has written a very good script, and the words are all there, and you don’t have to put gaps in. Just read it. Just say the words.’ And that’s advice that I’ve kept with me.”

However, despite her success she admits that at some points she felt like she was never properly trained as an actress.  She says, “I definitely did feel like at some point I should go to drama school to be in the same league as the people that I was working with. It took me a few years to get over that and to realize that I wasn’t ever going to go to drama school — that I was doing quite well without it. And I think the way that I work, there’s no technique. I’m just — it’s very intuitive, and it happens when I’m on the set and I’m with another actor. And it’s very much a back and forth. It’s listening and reacting, basically, and that’s what I do. So I don’t know how helpful drama school would be to that. I’ve heard stories of learning techniques and writing your character’s histories. And I’m not that hard-working.”

Leave a Reply

Latest Videos

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/alex-sharp-curious-incident-of-the-dog.jpg
Alex Sharp Talks About His Broadway Debut in ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ (video)
Alex Sharp went from working in a call-center and renovating houses to going to Julliard. And now, he’s starring in one of the most talked about shows of the season, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Check out this great, inspiring video!
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Its-only-a-play.jpg
Watch a Scene From Terrance McNally’s, ‘It’s Only a Play’, Featuring Nathan Lane and Micah Stock
Here’s a quick scene from Terrance McNally‘s It’s Only a Play, currently on Broadway at the Schoenfeld Theater. In this scene, Nathan Lane and Micah Stock meet for the first time. The show, about the opening night of a new play, also stars Matthew Broderick, Stockard Channing, F. Murray Abraham, Rupert Grint and Megan Mullally.
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/birdman-director-alejandro-g-ina.jpg
‘Birdman’ Director Alejandro G. Iñárritu Narrates a Scene from the Film Featuring Michael Keaton and Edward Norton
Director Alejandro G. Iñárritu narrates a scene from Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance that features stars Michael Keaton and Edward Norton. The film is wonderful and if it’s playing in your town, definitely check it out!
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/the-cast-of-mad-men-on-the-final.jpg
The Cast of ‘Mad Men’ on the Final Season and More
Though the AMC television series Mad Men might not carry the same cultural weight that it did a few years ago (splitting your final season over two years might do that to you), the second half of the show’s final season is expected to be full of powerful performances from its ensemble cast. With the […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/behind-the-scenes-of-a-sex-scene.jpg
Behind the Scenes of a Sex Scene with Patrick Wilson, Brooklyn Decker and Director Joe Carnahan
Director Joe Carnahan is giving viewers an inside look at what it is like to film a big screen Hollywood sex scene, as confirmed by Gawker. Carnahan released a brief video clip taken from the set of his latest film Stretch starring supermodel and actress Brooklyn Decker and Patrick Wilson. The video showcases the two […]