Melissa Leo on Her Post-Oscar Life and How She’s “Not a Fan” of Improvisation

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What’s changed since Melissa Leo won her Best Supporting Actress Oscar for The Fighter? “The biggest change has been within myself,” she said. “Within my self-perception.  And grounding in a group that is both illustrious…it’s like, ‘By God, I’m there!’”

After working on Treme and a film called Why Stop Now, Leo has seen a difference in her acting style.  “Everything you see will have a Melissa Leo role to it,” she told Moviefone.  “A lot of supporting work, which is what I’ve always done, which is what I won an award for.  It’s good, there’s sort of a self-confidence in it.  I guess up until a couple of years ago I kept on like I was gonna be an actor one day.  And I am, as they say, I am an actor.  I will work, I certainly hope, as long as I like to.”

Leo also accepted a guest role on the comedy series, Louie.  The 52-year-old noted, “I’ve always been interested in doing everything that the art has to explore and the few cases on which I’m asked to do something with humor in it, there’s nothing like sitting in a theater and hearing something that you intended to be funny being laughed at by a crowd.”

Although Leo enjoys comedic roles, she’s not one for improvisation.  “I’m not a big fan of it,” she admitted.  “I’ll jump in there, and the better people that you’re riffing with, the better it can be.  I probably have too much self-consciousness to improv.  When you’re allowed to repeat it on angles is really the way you use it on film.  I’m an actor who likes to know what they’re doing.  That’s not always the case, there’s sometimes this kind of devil-may-care and following a direction, a style of acting that’s to be admired.  That’s just how I work, I was trained in a way that the preparation is everything.  The name of the book on which my whole teaching was based is called ‘An Actor Prepares.’”

Why Stop Now will be released August 17.

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