Jason Schwartzman on Not Being Afraid to Fail as an Actor and Dustin Hoffman’s Acting Advice

Jason Schwartzman Acting Advice

During a recent Reddit AMA chat with Jason Schwartzman to promote his new film Listen Up Philip, Schwartzman was asked about his experience working on I <3 Huckabees. He went on to recall his pride about working with director David O. Russell, but also advice he received from Dustin Hoffman on set.

“Every day on that movie was an incredible experience and a dream come true, every day! It was HARD, in the best way possible, because David O. Russell asks of everyone to bring everything they have to work each day, and when you get there, you are not just trying to execute the scene the way it’s written, but to do it as written and then try to go beyond it, and that means questioning everything and leaving no stone unturned, and it felt, every day we were onset, so vibrant and intense and like we were really making something.

One of the first things Dustin Hoffman ever said to me was after work on the first day, David had asked me to change some lines around, and so I went and did these new lines, and I think I surprised Dustin with them? I don’t think I had told him – not because it was an acting game, but that’s who it worked out with the timing – and afterwards I went to his trailer and I said ‘Mr Hoffman, thank you so much for bearing with me and letting me try out a few things.’ And he said ‘Are you kidding me?!? A take is the one place in life you can fail.’ And I think it was pretty liberating to hear that, and that kind of approach, of being able to mess around and I don’t say ‘mess around’ like go out and do whatever you want, but the idea you can fail was really powerful to hear.”

Schwartzman than added a bit of advice he heard from fellow Wes Anderson favorite, Bill Murray. “And Bill Murray said in an interview I read: You gotta be ready to die out there. And I think that means that you can’t be afraid of failing. You just have to go out there and try.”

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