Parker Posey on Her Improv Skills: “I still don’t think I’m actually good at it”

Actress Parkey Posey

“Every time I do something, I worry it’s my last job… I think that’s normal though.” – Parker Posey

Character actress Parker Posey has worked with a number of acclaimed directors over her past twenty years in film, though she’ll likely always be mostly associated with Christopher Guest. Posey has appeared in Guest’s Waiting for Guffman (1997), Best in Show (2000), A Mighty Wind (2003), For Your Consideration (2006), and now the Netflix original Mascots (2016). Mascots follows a competition involving mascots and the eccentric people in the costumes. In a conversation with The Guardian, Parker talks about creating a backstory for an improv character and why, despite all her experience, she still doesn’t think she’s good at improvisation.

Posey says that in an improvised movie like Guest’s films she has to develop her character’s backstory even if she never uses it. She explains, “I have to, to have it make sense. There’s so much preparation that goes into it because you have to improvise. So Susan [Yeagley] and I, who plays my sister, we started talking over the phone immediately and became fast friends. That’s the beauty of that: getting close to people. We got to create a family. It was everything to me.”

In fact, Posey laments the fact that most other movies don’t require casts to build camaraderie. She says, “I do press and stuff, and often think about movies and what’s happened to them. There are so few movies that still cast on chemistry. Now it’s often like: this person’s movies make this amount of money, and this person’s movie makes that amount of money, so let’s put them together. Actors are not able to play – they won’t be supportive, they’ll be competitive.”

Despite starring in so many of Guest’s improvised movies and similar projects, Parker confesses that she doesn’t rate her improv skills highly. She reveals, “I still don’t think I’m actually good at it. It’s like a fucking miracle when I finish a scene. On the first day we got through it, I was just so relieved. Every time I do something, I worry it’s my last job… I think that’s normal though.”

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