Judi Dench: Understand Your Character

Judi Dench: Understand Your Character

Academy Award-winning actress, Dame Judi Dench, has spent decades playing a variety of roles that highlight the diversity of her impeccable acting abilities. She has won awards in a number of genres in film and television, as well as theatrical performance. In an enlightening interview, the British beauty has much insight for emerging actors that is sure to help improve their performances. She mainly focuses on the importance of understanding the character you will play.

The Dame explains that it is important to spend time thinking critically about the character. You learn about the character through his or her lines, so Judi advises questioning why the character behaves and reacts the way he/she does throughout the storyline. It is about understanding who this person is and their position in the tale.

Perhaps some of the most valuable advice Dench says she has received throughout her career came from legendary actor, Peter Hall.

“Don’t think you have to come in and play the whole of the character in one scene,” she reiterates.

Rather, the actress encourages performers to only play an aspect of the character at first. Then, as the story builds, more of the character is revealed and by the end, you ideally end up with a full understanding of the whole of the character. It is more of an evolutionary process, with the character being fully revealed over time, as opposed to overwhelming the audience with all of the character’s information at once.

Dench adds that Peter Hall enlightened her with another bit of advice that she has found the key to her survival and success in the entertainment industry: “Don’t believe everything that everyone says about you.”


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