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Zendaya, Glenn Close, Kate Winslet and Carey Mulligan were recently asked about misconceptions people have regarding acting during a Hollywood Reporter Roundtable. While there are many acting myths, here are four responses these exceptionally talented women gave on the spot. 

 

It’s an Easy Job

Winslet highlighted the demanding and unglamorous workload associated with being a performer. Indeed, she feels “almost agitated” by the misperception that acting is an “easy job.”

The Ammonite star insists, “I feel I have to explain just how hard the job truly is. And it is a massive misconception … They don’t understand the three a.m. wake-ups, and hair and makeup in the middle of the night and then shoot at twelve, sometimes longer—much longer hours a day particularly if you’re doing a low-budget film. I think people underestimate how hard not just the actual working day is, but also the preparation part … I don’t think people understand preparation can take up to four, five, sometimes even six months.” 

On top of it, the intensity of the work often puts a strain on an actor’s relationships and family ties. “Emotionally, I know that I’m gone, I’m just not there. I’m just not Mommy. I’m not Ned’s wife. Suddenly, I’m this other being, she explains.”

 

To Make Something Great, People Have Permission to Behave Badly

Based on Carey Mulligan’s experience on set over the years, she offers another misperception about the craft.

“Oftentimes, there’s sort of the idea of someone being a creative genius or that [someone is] so inspired that there’s sort of a required level of darkness or unpleasantness that goes along with it that you need to sort of put up with,” she says. 

The tendency to associate genius with brooding, rude, irrational, self-centered, ballistic, or even abusive behavior can happen in any work environment. However, the current Golden Globe nominee speculates the entertainment industry has more than its fair share of participants who adhere to this belief. Mulligan, on the other hand, believes productions are most fruitful and enjoyable when the cast and crew maintain positive attitudes. “Some of the most incredible people I’ve worked with have also been the most delightful,” she insists.

 

It’s All About Creativity

Zendaya recalls what drew her to acting in the first place. “Often you get into it just because you love it. You just want to be creative, and you just want to do the fun stuff,” the 24-year-old actress says. “But it is also a business. There are contracts involved and a lot of things that don’t necessarily contribute to the creativity or to this idea of the freedom that you think you’ll have.” 

Therefore, the Malcolm & Marie star encourages new actors to ask a lot of questions and check-in with advisors along the way. If you’re not fully paying attention, she warns, “It’s easy to get stuck in a bad situation.” 

On the other hand, if you’re like Samuel L. Jackson, you might be able to add a clause to your contract that gives you the option to golf during movie shoots.

 

You Don’t Need Training

People seem to understand that not everyone can be an Olympic champion like Simone Biles or Michael Phelps. Becoming a champion or an accomplished musician or a world-class surgeon does not happen overnight. But some people believe anyone can become an actor. However, Glenn Close begs to differ. 

The Hillbilly Elegy actress acknowledges certain people have become quality actors without formal training. However, she believes this is the rare exception, arguing, “I think that can happen in movies, but I don’t think that it can happen in theater.” 

With 46 years of professional acting experience, Close can attest to the amount of dedication quality acting requires. 

“For longevity, it is a craft. I take great pride—there’s something new to learn every day. But it is something that really does count when you task yourself with looking into the eyes of another person and telling a story that will have emotional impact—that is craft. So I don’t think everybody can do it.” 

Certainly not everyone can be a seven-time Oscar nominee or win three Emmys, Tonys, and three Golden Globe awards like Close. 

 

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