“I never like the feeling of remembering a scene, because that means that I wasn’t present. If you’re hearing yourself talk, you’re not listening.” – Julia Garner
Actress Julia Garner has gone two-for-two in the Emmy’s for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Ruth Langmore on Ozark, impressing many viewers with her portrayal of her popular character. Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Garner reflected on a failed audition early in her career that led her to more meaningful work as an actress and explains why she aims to forget how she performed in each take of a scene she does.
Garner recalls an audition for a Nickelodeon program when she was a teenager that appeared to have gone poorly. She remembers, “The casting director stopped me in the middle. She was like, ‘Honey, you’re great, but you shouldn’t be here.’ I’ve never been stopped in the middle. I was like, ‘Excuse me?'”
In all actuality, the remark wasn’t meant to be offensive — it was supposed to be positive reinforcement. Garner continues, “[The casting director] is like, ‘You should do independent films.’ I was too natural maybe in terms of acting. I was just too weird-looking. When you think about teen actors, you think of them having this gorgeous, luscious hair and being so pretty that you’re like, ‘You would never be the shy girl in high school.’ I was definitely not [the luscious hair girl]. My style, it’s still the same. It’s been the same since I was 6 years old, which is a black turtleneck.”
The advice paid off — Garner appeared in films like Martha Marcy May Marlene, We Are What We Are, Grandma, and The Assistant while appearing in TV series like The Americans and Waco before being cast in Ozark. All that prestige work has given Garner the ability to lose herself in her performances, which is something that she strives for in each role. She shares, “I never like the feeling of remembering a scene, because that means that I wasn’t present. If you’re hearing yourself talk, you’re not listening. It’s the same thing when you’re acting. If I remember what I did on a take, I ask to do it again.”