I’d run across the following clip recently (and it looks like an excellent doc for filmmakers working today) and it triggered memories of discussions with (mostly new, but not always) talent over the years.
There comes a point in an actor’s journey when they realize what their job is in the whole grand scheme of the machine or they begin to question/explore what it could be (contradicting the whole “moment” concept to some extent). The reasons vary from not trusting the director to actors thinking they know more than they do or think they can do more than most humans without compromising their performances.
Side By Side Interview – David Fincher (2012)
So who is right? It depends on who can recognize the right performance required for the scene as it relates to the story and ultimately movie. Ideally, everyone in the production should be able to do this (be happy if everyone in the scene gets it), but that’s very rare and when it does, it’s usually over the top or cliche’. Be careful! Make choices that are justifiable on as many levels as possible and you’ll usually be on the right track.
If someone’s justification doesn’t exist or is based on external (non-movie related) reasoning, hopefully they’ll realize what they’re saying is not best for the production and you can move on.