You never know what you do that could be totally out of left field, which actually might work and give something fresh to the whole scene, to the character, whatever. If you have that with a director who then knows how to shape it, either in the direction, in the moment, or in the editing, then that's good.
With 'Silver Linings,' I didn't feel - I was thinking of certain things, but I just said, 'Let me go with it.' You have to know what you're doing, where you're going with the scenes, and I put a lot of work into that. But when you're out there, at the same time you gotta be ready for anything.
I always go back to how people behave. If you watch how people actually behave in a situation, it's very simple and honest and contained. You don't need to use as much expression, as much feeling. Some characters will boil over, and that's another thing, but a lot of times I think you can just do very, very little.
My mother worked for a woman, Maria Ley-Piscator, who with her husband founded the Dramatic Workshop, which was connected to the New School. My mother did proofreading and typing and stuff or her, and as part of her payment, I was able to take acting classes there on Saturdays when I was 10.
If it's a very emotional scene, you're kind of relieved when you've done it, kind of spent. And there are times when you can be rattled, certain characters if they're hyper, that can carry over, the residue of that. But I try to leave it on the set.
I'll work with a director if I think I'm going to get into a comfortable situation, and if it's someone I respect and who respects me, even if they're not so well known. Movies are hard to make, and you have to work toward a common ethic and do your best.
When you make a drama, you spend all day beating a guy to death with a hammer, or what have you. Or, you have to take a bite out of somebody's face. On the other hand, with a comedy, you yell at Billy Crystal for an hour, and you go home.
I spent lunchtime in a grave during the filming of 'Bloody Mama.' When you're younger, you feel that's what you need to do to help you stay in character. When you get older, you become more confident and less intense about it - and you can achieve the same effect.