Actress Gillian Anderson has just discovered something extraordinary about the job she has been doing for the last 35 years: turns out that “acting” involves pretending to be someone you are not.
Anderson made this belated discovery while playing her latest role as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the epic Netflix series The Crown. As she is at pains to emphasise, Anderson does not remotely share the Conservative leader’s politics.
She tells Harper’s Bazaar that it was all she could do to stop herself complaining that the script — written by her boyfriend Peter Morgan — didn’t go in hard enough on Mrs Thatcher’s supposed political failings:
At times, she says she found herself questioning the portrayal – why wasn’t there more on the poll tax or Northern Ireland? But she was given no special treatment as the writer’s partner to shape her character. “For our own sanity, and actually for the benefit of the relationship, we had very clear boundaries,” she says. “I am not going to comment on the script, but you are not allowed to comment on the performance!”
But then Anderson had the most amazing insight. Pretending to be Margaret Thatcher doesn’t mean you actually are Margaret Thatcher or that you endorse any of her policies:
“I had to get to a point where it’s nothing to do with my opinions of her policies, of her actions,” says Anderson. “It is only about her as a human being and her motivation as a politician and as a mother.”
Well done, Gillian! The name for this mysterious process is ‘acting’.
‘Acting’ — pretending to be someone you are not — is a technique which has been known since at least the era of Aristophanes. When audiences saw men on stage wearing masks, some of them impersonating women, they weren’t fooled. They knew that feigning was part of the deal. That’s why actors were known as ‘hypocrites’. (Ancient Greek: hypokrites).
However in the last decade, due to a collective outbreak of woke amnesia from Hollywood to the BBC, the entire film and TV industry has forgotten what acting actually involves. Hence the new strictures on playing outside your life experience: gay men can only be played by gay men, lesbians only by lesbians, people of ethnicity only by people of the precise ethnicity, disabled people by disabled people, and so on.
Gillian Anderson had better keep quiet about this dangerous discovery she’s just made. If she’s not careful it could easily cost her her job.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 28, 2019
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