Photo Credit: Denis Makarenko /

The dictionary states “joy” is “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.” But what exactly is joy from an actor’s perspective? Here are a few quotes from a variety of actors who give us a glimpse as to how this highly sought emotion comes into play in their lives and careers.

“The joy of acting for me is to be able to experience emotions in a safe environment. You can’t scream and cry in the street because everybody will look. If you do it on a movie set, you get applauded.” —”The Social Network” actor, Jesse Eisenberg

“If you’re not having a good time, find something else that gives you some joy in life.” —”Laverne & Shirley” actress and director, Penny Marshall

“Whatever it is that I feel, I express it! I am free with my joy, my laughter, my pleasure, my pain, and I am blessed that as an actress I can access those feelings within myself and not be ashamed to show whatever is appropriate for the character.” —”The Manchurian Candidate” actress, Kimberly Elise

“Things never go the way you expect them to. That’s both the joy and frustration in life. I’m finding as I get older that I don’t mind, though. It’s the surprises that tickle me the most, the things you don’t see coming.” —”A Serious Man” actor, Michael Stuhlbarg

Meryl Streep says that developing the capacity for empathy has given her the ability to “feel the exquisite living pleasure of transmitting [a character’s] feelings to an audience. It’s an actor’s singular joy.”

“Musical theater is great; you get painted up, you get to play princesses and witches, and you sing. The joy alone of that can really carry a lot.” —”Into the Woods” actor, Chris Pine

“My mother is a big believer in being responsible for your own happiness. She always talked about finding joy in small moments and insisted that we stop and take in the beauty of an ordinary day. When I stop the car to make my kids really see a sunset, I hear my mother’s voice and smile.” —”Alias” actress, Jennifer Garner

“When you hear the word ‘disabled,’ people immediately think about people who can’t walk or talk or do everything that people take for granted. Now, I take nothing for granted. But I find the real disability is people who can’t find joy in life and are bitter.” —”Tootsie” actress, Teri Garr

“My motto is: Enjoy your life.” —”As Good as It Gets” actor Jack Nicholson

“I’m no expert. I have no psychic powers, and I sure don’t possess any secret wisdom. I’m just Janet. I have strengths, weaknesses, fears, happiness, sadness. I experience joy and I experience pain. I’m highly emotional. I’m very vulnerable.” —”Poetic Justice” singer and actress, Janet Jackson

“Make sure that you always follow your heart and your gut, and let yourself be who you want to be, and who you know you are. And don’t let anyone steal your joy.” —Broadway actor and voice of Kristoff in “Frozen,” Jonathan Groff

“I think the thing to do is enjoy the ride while you’re on it.” —”Pirates of the Caribbean” actor, Johnny Depp

“If I can bring happiness to people all around the world, then I will try my best to do so.” —”Spider-Man: Homecoming” actor, Tom Holland

“The joy we get as actors is out of transforming ourselves into something that’s not necessarily anything true to ourselves. And it’s a power — not being yourself, and being in the role; it’s just like another prop.” —”Walk the Line” actress, Reese Witherspoon

“If I’m bringing joy to people and entertaining people as an actor, then I should be grateful for that and act accordingly, you know?” —”Grey’s Anatomy” actress, Ellen Pompeo

How would you describe the joy that acting has brought to your life?