In a new feature with Lady Gunn magazine, Johanna Mason actress Jena Malone talks about her evolving acting career, Catching Fire auditions and lots more. The feature also includes a brand new photoshoot of Jena, photographed by Shelby Duncan. Check out the outtakes in the gallery here. Excerpts from the interview can be read below:
Every actor has different methods for this, and it can vary from project to project, but do you usually have a blueprint for the character going in or do you draw from and act in the moment?
JENA MALONE: Blueprint- I’ve never heard anyone talk about it like that. Yeah, I’ve been working for so long, since I was ten years old, so I feel like it’s changed a lot. But the crude strokes are definitely blueprint oriented. You read a script that you love and a character jumps out at you, and you’re never sure why it jumps out at you, but you spend a good amount of time on it. This is where my method comes in. But I don’t use a lot of that on set. A lot of the method is about the research. I try to build an entire house, complete with things I don’t even think I’ll need. The color of the plumbing underneath the sink. The name of the teacher that [the character] had a crush on when she was in fourth grade. So I really visualize this whole house and what I’ve learned is that the more details, the better. I was doing this when I was younger but I didn’t know what it was, I’ve learned what my process is the older that I get because I’m able to be more self-reflective.
Congrats on THE HUNGER GAMES, by the way.
Thank you! Can’t comment on it yet, but I’m allowed to say how excited I am to be working on it. It’s a fucking dream! My little sister recommended I read it like two years ago and now she is dying.
I can imagine! Can you talk about LONELY HUNTER?
Yes a little bit. It’s going to be intense and it’s coming right up after THE HUNGER GAMES. Literally I couldn’t be an architect of anything greater. The fact that I get to be even the slightest of a puppeteer in that. I mean, I’m like on my knees thanking God’s green heavens everyday. Literally I call Deborah [Kampmeier, the writer/director] asking, “Why did you pick me? I can’t do this!” But [author Carson McCullers’] life was really immense.
In an old interview you said that you got the place outside of LA to be in an environment that encouraged your creativity. To be around something that actually aids your creativity rather than all the distractions and elements of this town that sort of squash your creativity.
Totally, but I also feel like that is a very naive point of view. It’s an important point of view because I was young and it was the only point of view I understood. Where as I feel like the older you get, you don’t need to go on vacation, you can close your eyes and you’re there, through the power of your mind and through your own ability to understand the world around you instead of having these expectations of what should be, you just know what is. I left LA because I didn’t want to become the women I saw around me. So I moved to Tahoe to basically allow myself to become myself without the influence of all the other shit around me because I could already kind of feel the people’s influence on me. Then I got to a point where I just got fucking bored up there. I loved it and it allowed me to create my own voice and my own self and my own woman but then I got to a point where I wanted to collaborate. I wanted to creatively have other people around me that are doing what I do and are excited to share!
Well, THE HUNGER GAMES, c’mon, that’s a pretty big coup.
That’s the funny thing, the only reason I got this is because I blew them out of the water in the audition. It wasn’t because I played the game right and wore the sexy skirt, it was because I went in there and really auditioned and they actually had a casting director that wanted to cast real actors. That is not always the case.
Especially in such a large franchise.
Right, I often see a lot of the younger actors who are like, “What should I do?” Honestly, it’s hard either way. It’s hard to be yourself and it’s hard not to be yourself. Both have a means of making you feel insecure and not sturdy in your job. It’s such a delicate thing. You’ve got to play the game a little bit. Even that’s a stylistic choice, even that’s a persona. It’s all a guise, a dream within a dream, so what’s really the truth of it? It’s far deeper inside, not on the outside. I think that’s what I am learning now. How to appreciate the material aspects that basically form that language of Hollywood without depreciating my internal aspects.
Read the full interview, which includes a lot of insightful answers from Jena about her creativity, passion and more, here.