Robin Wright: “Go Wrong and You Find Right”

April 19, 2015

Robin Wright has battled her share of fears and insecurities over the years. She devoted much of her youth to studying modern jazz which later lead to her dancing in a Doritos commercial. From there, her talent agent encouraged her to audition for many popular movies like Sixteen Candles and Less Than Zero even though Robin didn’t have any acting training. And it seemed like things were going well when she was invited to callbacks several times. But however close she was to landing roles, over and over again the parts went to other actresses. In retrospect, Wright says her fears prevented her from fully investing in the characters; she didn’t take enough risks, opting instead to play it too safe.

As a result of the ongoing rejections, Robin decided to quit the business altogether and instead work on kitchen duty on a tour boat. But right before the boat was set to sail, she received news she’d been cast in the supporting role of Kelly Capwell in the soap opera Santa Barbara. Subsequently, Wright’s been embraced as Princess Buttercup in The Princess Bride, and Forest Gump’s love-of-his-life Jenny Curran. Presently Wright is garnering great respect for her acting abilities, and being called a major star, thanks to her portrayal of the calculating, formidable politician’s wife Claire Underwood in the web series House of Cards.

In this clip, Robin admits she wishes she’d done more training as an actress, but shares some helpful tips she learned from the one time she used an acting coach that has greatly informed her acting for twenty years: In any given sentence of dialogue or monologue, choosing to emphasize the word you love as well as the word you hate (as well as the reason why you love or hate those words) allows you to play around with your character’s feelings and expression until you land on the direction you want to take the material. “How many variations you could do with one sentence,” Wright marvels. Playing with the words so deliberately frees her up to sift through all the failed interpretations in the process of finding what ultimately works. In other words, “Go wrong, and you find right,” she asserts.