Continuing their award season roundtables, The Hollywood Reporter has just released this week’s full video, focusing on the actresses. The conversation features award contenders, Lupita Nyong’o (“Us”), Jennifer Lopez (“Hustlers”), Scarlett Johansson (“Marriage Story” and “Jojo Rabbit”), Renee Zellweger (“Judy”), Laura Dern (“Marriage Story” and “Little Women”), and Awkwafina (“The Farewell”). As always, the conversation is wide-ranging, covering everything from Nyong’o’s transformation into two radically different characters in “Us” to Johansson’s preparation for her “Marriage Story” monologue with Dern.
Beginning the conversation, moderator Rebecca Ford asks when was the last time the actresses were intimidated by a role, with everyone mainly in agreement that they are always intimidated. Zellweger, perhaps, sums it up the best by stating:
“It happens every time you start. Your imposter syndrome sneaks in – this will be the time that everyone knows you’re a fraud and you’re going to get fired. It becomes less fear and probably more just a sense of responsibility as you get older, and I’ve been doing it a while. But it’s always part of the job, because if it doesn’t frighten you, then…”
For the multi-hyphenate Lopez, “Hustlers” “was the first time in a long time that I was actually terrified, really scared, to do that opening number, which I suggested, of course. It was my fault that I was there to begin with… Then when I was there and I had the dental floss on, I’m out there in a way I’ve ever been. It was scary, I was so terrified.”
Awkwafina felt a different type of pressure, in her first dramatic role in “The Farewell” stating, “I was really, really scared, because you think you know what people think about you, but you don’t know what you can do [about it]… But I think it was the character – I just really related to her.”
Dern, who worked with both Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig, partners in real life, noticed differences in their directing style, saying, “… they’re both exacting about the words because they really, I think as a playwright would, they really hear a rhythm to the language. With Noah it has its own specific nature… I think he hears a rhythm, Noah, that he is waiting for everyone to resonate with in a really beautiful way.”
Like Dern, Nyong’o has worked with a number of talented directors but, for her, choosing a filmmaker is “not a calculated thing. These are are all directors who have offered me the most interesting roles. And I’ve taken them. I haven’t really thought about the demographic of the director I’ve been working with… Right now it’s really dope and cool and on trend to work with women and underrepresented groups, but the moment of maturity in the industry is when it is just the norm, you know?”
Be sure to watch the entire conversation, as the actresses cover a number of topics, even beyond their respective roles this year. As we continue our collective march to the Academy Awards, next week covers the actors.