Alfred Molina on Characters with Contradictions and ‘Disappearing’ into a Role

Alfred Molina stars in Red at the Mark Taper Forum through September 9, a role that he originated in London and again later in a Tony Award-winning production on Broadway.  Like the previous productions Molina stars as Mark Rothko, the eccentric real-life artist who was commissioned to paint works for New York’s Four Seasons restaurant and felt conflicted about taking such a commercial job. 

Molina spoke to Southern California Public Radio about his portrayal of Rothko and what “disappearing into a role” really means to him.

Molina found himself intrigued with Mark Rothko before deciding to play him.  He points out, “Like so many interesting characters that one gets to play, he’s full of contradictions. All the most interesting characters are, in the same way all the most interesting people in life are often paradoxical and seemingly contradictory … Theatrically, in terms of playing characters, that’s where the really interesting grit is. It’s in those areas where things get confused, things get conflicted and contradictory, that’s where the most interesting part of character is in many ways because you have to resolve that for the audience and make all those contradictions equally valid. If the audience is agreeing with you one second and disagreeing with you the next, totally with you one moment and totally against you the next, then you’re halfway to doing your job because that means — hopefully — they’re going through the same sort of conflict that the character is.”

Since Molina inhabits the roles so effectively, the interviewer asks him  if it is cliche to talk about actors “disappearing into their parts.”  But Molina disagrees and explains, “I don’t think it’s so much a cliche as it is something character actors really aim for. There’s a great joy and satisfaction in being able to in some way, disappear … If you can lose yourself in it somehow — and it’s not about being real, it’s about being authentic — if you can be authentic enough so the audience to relax … that’s part of the craft we all take pride in is being able to somehow submerge ourselves to a certain degree.

Leave a Reply

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/walton-goggins.jpg
Walton Goggins on Making It in Hollywood and His First Job as an Actor
"I actually got my first job after being here for one week — a role opposite Billy Crystal in Mr. Saturday Night." - Walton Goggins
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Winona-Ryder-Stranger-Things.jpg
Winona Ryder on ‘Stranger Things’ and Aging in Hollywood
"I went from weirdo teenager to pixie waif to them not knowing what the hell to do with me." - Winona Ryder
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Ali-Ewoldt-Phantom-of-the-Opera.jpg
Ali Ewoldt on Her ‘Phantom of the Opera’ Broadway Milestone: “It feels much bigger than me getting to play a dream part”
"I want to make sure that I am doing the best job that I can every night when I’m telling the story." - Ali Ewoldt
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Karen-Fukuhara-Suicide-Squad.jpg
Karen Fukuhara on her ‘Suicide Squad’ Audition
"I hit one of the lights, and I remember hearing the casting director and David gasp." - Karen Fukuhara
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/jeff-bridges-hell-or-high-water.jpg
Jeff Bridges on Creating a Character, ‘Hell or High Water’ and Playing The Dude
"I use elements of myself—I see my parallels with a character—and find similar things in my own personality." - Jeff Bridges on Creating a Character