Whether you know her as Princess Giselle from Enchanted, Sydney Prosser from American Hustle, or one of her many other roles, you know Amy Adams can do no wrong. The five-time Academy Award nominated actress stopped by SFTV for the fourth season of The Hollywood Masters.
Adams sat down with Stephen Galloway, executive features editor at The Hollywood Reporter, to talk about everything from the diverse range of films she’s taken on in her career to advice she has for today’s media-influenced women.
The Acting Bug
Amy Adams has always been naturally drawn to performing. Her humble beginnings as a child were filled with “natural curiosity,” which initially influenced her take the stage as a dancer. After realizing her passion for dance and being on stage, she transitioned into musical theater and plays, eventually landing her first role in a film called Drop Dead Gorgeous. Since then, Adams has been recognized for her ability to adapt to a wide range of characters. She’s starred in critically-acclaimed films ranging from Junebug to The Master to American Hustle and more. “I’ve always wanted to scare myself in the roles that I choose,” she expressed.
Influenced by Legends
Throughout the span of her career, Adams has had the opportunity to work with and learn from a number of well-known, admirable actors and directors. While playing a nun in Doubt alongside the esteemed Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman, she had the opportunity to learn more about acting and herself. In regards to Meryl Streep, she admired how she “would talk about her daughters in such a way that I knew that it was important for me to take time with my daughter when I had one and, I just think she’s a great example, the way she handles herself.”
She has also worked with some of Hollywood’s biggest directors, including David O. Russell and Paul Thomas Anderson. While each director she has worked with has had different styles, she recalls how each experience has shaped her into the actress she is today.
Bringing Characters to Life
Running lines isn’t enough for Amy Adams—for years, her acting coach has encouraged her to create a background that traces back to the age of three for each character she plays. This allows her to really invest in each character and channel their inner emotions. “Sometimes I don’t even read the scenes, but I just like to get to the heart of who the character is, before I walk on to set,” she said.
Hollywood’s Impact on Women
In response to a student’s question centered around the influence of the film industry on women’s careers and self-images, Adams shared several pieces of advice that she aims to live by herself. When trying to pave a career in the film industry, Adams believes it is essential to remain patient and strong. “Move forward with strength. Don’t allow yourself to feel victimized. If you do, speak up. Work hard. And don’t get discouraged,” she said.
On how she responds to pressures imposed on women by the film industry and the media, Adams simply said, “You just have to accept your flaws.” Since having her daughter, she has been even more aware of the impossible ideals set forth by society for women to be perfect. After recognizing that these kinds of standards are not imposed upon men, Adams emphasized how important it is for women not to listen to these comparisons. “Don’t compare yourself to what men are getting or not getting, or what that girl’s getting or what she looks like, just run your own race. Put your blinders on, you’re not racing against anybody but yourself.”
The Hollywood Masters interview series examines the careers of Oscar-winning filmmakers, major artists and successful executives, with The Hollywood Reporter’s Stephen Galloway and is presented by LMU School of Film and Television.