Gillian Jacobs on Not “Repeating Herself” and Finding a “Character’s Internal Logic”

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“Your goal is to come up with the character’s internal logic. So even if you don’t agree with what they’re doing, you have to justify in your own head why they’re doing it, so that it makes sense to an audience.” – Gillian Jacobs

Actress Gillian Jacobs was virtually unknown when she was cast in the key role of Britta Perry on the fan-favorite comedy series Community. Since then she’s continued to appear on television and has starred in several films, including Don’t Think Twice, and has branched out into directing. As she told NME, it’s all out of a hunger to keep working — something that almost every actor can relate to.

Jacobs remarks that although she isn’t currently hurting for work even during COVID, she still has the mentality of a freelancer. She explains, “As soon as you get a job, you’re thinking: ‘What’s the next job?’ And you know, when I first started out there’d be long gaps of time in between jobs and no guarantee that there ever would be a next job. So I think I have this constant need to keep working which probably isn’t entirely healthy.”

In addition to the many likable characters that Jacobs has portrayed, she admits that it’s “fun challenge” to portray a character that isn’t so likeable. She details, “Your goal is to come up with the character’s internal logic. So even if you don’t agree with what they’re doing, you have to justify in your own head why they’re doing it, so that it makes sense to an audience.”

Another goal of hers is to avoid playing iterations of Britta Perry, her Community character, in all of her projects. She says, “I guess I’m always looking for a role that feels like something I haven’t exactly done before. I have different things I gravitate to in each project, but the overall feeling is not wanting to repeat myself.”

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