Geraldine Page: I Went Deep

Kim Stanley and Geraldine Page in the Actors Studio Theater production of The Three Sisters, as it was filmed, in 1966.

Interview with Geraldine Page
Conducted by James Grissom
By Telephone

I wouldn't trust anyone who said they were great, or that they had touched greatness in their work. I just wouldn't; I just can't. It's like looking in the mirror and being enamored of your beauty, rather than acknowledging that you did the best you could and you look pretty good, considering. That was always how acting was for me. I did feel I deserved to be out and about auditioning and working, but I didn't walk around with an idea that I was formidable or brilliant. I think it would have destroyed me--stifled me.

There are all sorts of ways to do the work. I knew and truly believed that there was a deep core to the great parts, even the really good ones. A dense biography to these characters, pages and pages of material I need to plumb to play the role. A lot is provided by the playwright, but most of it is conjured up by the study of the actor; the imagination of the actor. I wanted to get to the very core of the character, the truth of the character.

I loved Kim [Stanley], and you keep bringing her up. She was marvelous, fascinating, but I felt her ways were different from mine. Kim wanted to get to the core of the mental architecture of her character, the mental materials. Kim performed a deep analysis on her characters, and you saw the expansion of the mental characteristics, but I never felt she had a big biography under her arm when she played a part. She was fascinating, but very much in the mind of the character: I don't know if she ever dug deeper into the heart or the gut or the crotch or the feet of her characters.

I didn't always do well, but I went deep.

©  2018  James Grissom


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