Sally Field On Improvisation, How She Chooses Her Roles and ‘Hello, My Name is Doris’

Sally Field 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 as well as co writing the script with Laura Terruso, and the film tells the story of an insular woman in her sixties (Field) who falls for her much younger co-worker, played by Max Greenfield.

Field is well versed in the touching comedy genre, having played roles in previous great such as Smokey and the Bandit and Mrs Doubtfire, and she says that both the character and Showalter’s way of working attracted her to the role.

“It’s such a unique character. She’s just the strangest person,” she says of Doris, adding that she likes that the film is less about her characters age and more about the situation she is in.

Showalter is synonymous with improvisation, but that didn’t deter Field, who had prior experience of working in that way.

“I love improv,” she says.  “I come from the Actors Studio, which is a lot about finding your character through improv. So it’s a great way to work. I found it difficult to work in a circumstance when you’re not allowed to improv, when it comes in much more rigid.”

Field’s character in the film suffers the loss of her mother, as well as dealing with her attractions to her co-worker and trying to fit in, something Field feels anyone can identify with and she says she used her own insecurities as inspiration for the role.

“I think all human beings, and certainly me, always feel left out, always feel that you’re slightly on the outside of things,” she explains.  “A lot of people fake it better than others. But you call on that part of yourself that just feels like, they’re all doing something and I don’t know how to get in.”

Field’s career has now spanned over 50 years, and the actress admits that she no longer worries about commercial successes and more about what’s in it for her as a performer.

“A career over 50 years is a whole lot of things,” she reflects. “It’s a lot of ups and a lot of downs and a lot of sideways. And you just keep going. And looking for a piece that’s worth putting yourself into, like this was for me. Whether it ever comes out, I don’t even care.

“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. But if you’re lucky, something like this comes along and you say, sure, I’ll leap off the cliff.”

Via NY Times

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