Actors are interesting, aren’t they? They get up in morning and look forward to going to work on stage at the theatre or on location or a sound stage. And when they get there all they have to do is pretend to be someone else, say a few lines and then go out to five-star restaurants to eat the best foods, attend glamorous parties in Beverly Hills and Hollywood and then drive their Maserati or Ferrari home to their custom built 16 bedroom house on the beach in Malibu. Gee, that sounds like a lot of fun.
It sure does sound like fun and if it were true then everyone would become an actor. There are probably some people out there who really think that’s what actors experience. When we asked an established actor what her world was really like we found it to be a little different than the fantasy in the above paragraph. Michelle Nordlander, the Swedish actress who lives and works in Los Angeles, grounded us with the truth about acting. She also gave us some tips on how to get into character, which is the real reason and the real payoff as to why people get into acting.
She has always been fascinated with stories ever since her dad started reading to her when she was a little girl in Sweden. She would consciously empathize with the characters in the stories and allow herself to love what they loved and hate what they hated. She says that she learned a great deal about herself by doing that and she felt it was a very humbling and humanizing process. That was her first foray into the actor’s mindset, which she has carried with her across continents, oceans and time.
Preparing for a role is one of the most important part of acting she tells us. She doesn’t learn her lines right away but she does do a lot of research on the character and the character’s historic era. She gets to know who she is playing by reading books that give her clues to who the character is and what she thinks about. She also listens to the music of that time period and the place where the character lived. Then the daydreaming begins and after that, she learns the lines and becomes the character.
She said that believe it or not, she doesn’t own an expensive Italian sports car and she eats modestly. When she goes home at night it’s not to Malibu but to a pleasant and much smaller house than the one mentioned above. Although she makes a living from acting her real joy comes from the work itself.