Laurie Metcalf on Acting: “I love it as much now as I did when I started, and I feel so lucky to be able to do it”

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Actress Laurie Metcalf

I think that I experience things much more intensely when I’m acting. I get into the work and feel things very deeply, more so than I do in my own life.” – Laurie Metcalf

On the surface, it seems like Laurie Metcalf is undergoing something of a career resurgence — not only will she be appearing in the upcoming revival of Roseanne, but she starred in Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird and the acclaimed Broadway play A Doll’s House, Part 2. But Metcalf has been working steadily in theater and television, no doubt because of her reputation as a hard-working and versatile actress. Speaking with Slant, Metcalf talks about what she loves most about theater acting versus acting for film and television — and why she runs her lines before every performance.

Metcalf believes that acting enables her to feel emotions and experiences on a deeper level when portraying them. She says, “I think that I experience things much more intensely when I’m acting. I get into the work and feel things very deeply, more so than I do in my own life.

Curiously, though Metcalf is best known for appearing on Roseanne, she admits that she prefers acting without a camera. She explains, “It just makes it harder to block things out. It’s funny that I feel that way, since I’ve done so much work in movies and on television, but the camera just tenses me up. I wish I didn’t feel that way. I want to work on that, so I can get more comfortable with it.

Nonetheless, Metcalf doesn’t want to give the impression that she’s not satisfied with working in film and television. She says, “I love what I do so much, and I feel so lucky to be able to do it—whether it’s film or TV or the stage. A lot of my friends in theater have burned out on it over the years, gotten tired of all the hard work, but I love it as much now as I did when I started, and I feel so lucky to be able to do it.

And never call Metcalf anything other than a total professional. In fact, she reveals that when doing a play she runs all of her lines before every performance. She says, “I hate doing it, but I feel good when it’s done. It’s like exercising… it really does help. It’s a great vocal warm-up. Especially for a play as [verbose]as A Doll’s House Part Two, it was really important to run my lines because I needed to be able to talk so fast.”

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About Author

In college, overachiever Christopher McKittrick double-majored in Film and English because he loves to read, write, and watch movies. Since then Chris – who was born and raised on Long Island, New York and currently lives in Queens – has become a published author of fiction and non-fiction, a contributor to entertainment websites, and has spoken about literature, film, and comic books at various conferences across the country when he’s not getting into trouble in New York City (apparently it’s illegal to sleep on street corners...) For more information about Chris, visit his website here!

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