Judi Dench: “In the theatre you can change things ever so slightly; it’s an organic thing. Whereas in film you only have that chance on the day, and you have no control over it at all”

judi-dench-skyfallJust a few weeks ahead of her 78th birthday, Dame Judi Dench shows no sign of retiring or even scaling back on her award-winning acting.  But despite that Dench doesn’t consider herself a proficient actress by any means, and she reveals some reasons why she still doesn’t consider herself a “good actor” to The Guardian.

Like some other actors, Dench doesn’t watch her films after she makes them, nor will she even watch a scene after a take.  She explains why, pointing out, “really good film actors, proper ones, who will always look at a take after it is done.  I find it too hard to cope with that idea that you can’t change it.”  In fact, she prefers the stage because she gets many “do-overs,” adding, “I love the way in the theatre that you can change it every night.”

She elaborates on why she doesn’t choose to watch her films by revealing “I think it is always appalling to see yourself on film. I think John Gielgud used to say that he would love to have had a performance of a play he had been in to put on his mantelpiece so he could live with it  and see exactly the ways he could have done  it better. Because there are always ways. In the theatre you can change things ever so slightly; it’s an organic thing. Whereas in film you only have that chance on the day, and you have no control over it at all.”

Surprisingly, the acclaimed Dench is even more loose about her roles than that.  She confesses that oftentimes she doesn’t even read a script before accepting a role, preferring that a director explain the part to her first.  She says, “Even before that, though, I have always had a director tell me the story. I want them to put it into words for me. And I am interested in what they choose to put in and leave out. That, after all, is what you are going to do for the audience. I like to have it presented to my mind’s eye.”

She also prepares in another way, which draws from her hobby of painting: “When I am with a script or in rehearsal I might doodle a character’s face or something. I nearly always do that. But what I do is listen to what everybody says about you and try to assimilate that.”

In fact, Dench’s artistic sensibilities draw her to the design aspects of a film production.  She reveals, “I wanted to be a set designer when I was young. And I still think I am as interested in a set and the costumes as anything else. I remember I was in Stratford once and only doing one play, so in my afternoons I went off and learned how to knot a wig as they would have done back then. That gave me a wonderful insight…”

1 Comment

  1. Diana Sue via Facebook

    October 15, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    IKR

Leave a Reply

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/sally-field-hello-my-name-is-doris.jpg
Sally Field On Improvisation, How She Chooses Her Roles and ‘Hello, My Name is Doris’
“There’s a dearth of roles for women. I turn down a lot of stuff because there’s just nothing in it for me to do.” – Sally Field   Actress Sally Field put in an appearance at SXSW last week to promote her new film, Hello My Name is Doris. Michael Showalter has directed the movie […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Will-Ferrell-Get-Hard.jpg
Will Ferrell on His Comedy Roots, ‘Get Hard’ and His Favorite Roles to Play
Ferrell was on hand to take part in a Q&A and spoke more about how working with Hart came about. When asked if he chooses his projects based on who he wants to work with, or the script itself, Ferrell explained that each project was different.
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/daniel-dae-kim.jpg
Hawaii Five-0’s Daniel Dae Kim Talks Directorial Debut: “The first day I had to yell action, it was kind of odd”
Hawaii Five-0‘s Daniel Dae Kim, who fans know best as Chin Ho Kelly, recently made his directorial debut on the CBS series. Kim shared his experience with The Hollywood Reporter, saying that his experience was “weird at first,” as he had to direct his co-stars. “The first day I had to yell action, it was […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Ellie-Kemper-Unbreakable-Kimmy-Schmidt.jpg
Ellie Kemper on ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’, Doomsday Cults and Tina Fey
When Ellie Kemper joined The Office in season 5, her character Erin Hannon wasn’t intended to be one of the show’s primary characters. However, Kemper won producers over with her portrayal of the cheerful, naive receptionist and Erin was heavily featured in the series’ final seasons. Her portrayal also impressed 30 Rock producers Tina Fey […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/lily-james-cinderella.jpg
Lily James on Auditioning for ‘Cinderella’ and the Hardest Scenes She Had to Shoot
"The good thing is wearing something like that sort of changes how you stand and it gives you a sense of grace that you can use to your advantage as an actor" - Lily James on wearing corsets