Davis, Fonda reflect on character

Viola Davis and Jane Fonda have conversed about what methods they use to fully embody their character while simultaneously hitting technical marks.

Viola Davis and Jane Fonda have discussed how they delve into character.

The actresses have both been acknowledged in the past by the Academy Awards for their work, with Jane taking home two Oscars and Viola receiving a couple nominations.

And in a rare interview for Variety the pair conducted with one another, the Hollywood icons shared insight on their acting techniques.

“I look for a real person that I can model the character after,” Viola told Jane, who asked The Help star how she gets “inside the skins” of any given character. “Then I start from, ‘What is the character’s need? What drives them in life?’ As soon as I figure that out, which takes me weeks, I’ve basically found the character.”

Jane, who currently stars on Netflix series Grace and Frankie with Lily Tomlin, finds the practice of acting to be a constant learning process.

However the 77-year-old thespian thrives on the new challenges she faces on set.

“What is so interesting to me about movie acting and television acting — acting in front of a camera — is this combination of technical stuff like hitting your mark and where’s the light … and embodying a character. There are moments, and I can count mine on one hand during my 50-year career, when you hit the sweet spot. Where you’re doing all the technical things you need to do, and you’re embodying the character,” Jane explained to Viola. “But you know, I had never done episodic television before. I’d been a recurring guest star on The Newsroom, but doing it every day is very different. I didn’t realise you have a different director every episode. I didn’t realise you’re working sometimes 15 hours a day, and there’s not really rehearsal. It was much harder than I expected, and I just felt like I was in a learning mode. I think if we get a second season, I’m going to have more input. Because I think I understand the character better.”

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