12 A-Listers Offer Their Best Acting Advice to Take Into 2023

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Photo Source: Simon Emmett/Trunkarchive.com/Zoe Mcconnell/GL Askew II/Stephanie Diani

If you’re an aspiring actor, 2023 could be the year that starts you on the path to stardom. To help light the way, we’ve compiled advice from some of the entertainment world’s best and brightest. Let the insights of these 12 actors who have made an indelible impact on the industry guide you through all 12 months of the coming year.

Javier Bardem: Respect the craft—and your elders. 
“[My mother] said, ‘If you want to do this, the only thing that I will tell you is you have to really be respectful to the craft and to everybody who works in this craft, because it is sacred. It has given us a way of life, a way of being. It’s not only a job; it’s something that you have to be very respectful [of]—for what it represents and for what it can become for others.’ ” 

Jon Bernthal: Be ready for your 15 minutes of fame.
“You will get your shot, but don’t waste years of your life banging down doors trying to get in that room. Worry about what you’re going to do when you get in there. Have five monologues in your pocket ready to throw down. And be able to walk the walk; don’t just talk about it.” 

Jessie Buckley: Don’t be afraid to take risks.
“If you stop falling down and picking yourself back up, then I don’t think you’re really taking risks. You have to be willing to put your heart out there. You’ve got to jump off the cliff.”

Jessie Buckley

Colman Domingo: Do your homework, but be open to change.
“I used to get so annoyed at actors who I could see over in a corner running a scene. It seemed like they were running the scene the way they were going to play it. What kind of fun is that? Is that fun to you? I don’t think it’s fun at all. I think what’s interesting is that I know what I know. 80% of it is: I know what I know; I did my homework. And then the other 20% is: I have no idea what Zendaya is going to do, and I have no idea how [‘Euphoria’ creator] Sam [Levinson] wants to stage it. I just have to experience all of that, and then all of that will make it honest and make it real.” 

Brett Goldstein: Flex your creative muscles whenever possible.
“If you are just an actor and you don’t create, you don’t write, you don’t do anything else, you’re literally waiting for a magical hand to come and go, ‘It’s you.’ Aside from creative fulfillment, from a practical point of view, I think you should all make things. Plus, then you’re not sitting around waiting for the fucking phone to ring all day.” 

Hugh Jackman: Ground your performances in reality. 
“It doesn’t matter if it’s ‘Wolverine’ or a film or a show or a musical. I have to feel that everything is based in truth, in groundedness. Even if it’s big, or even if we’re somehow sort of semi-winking at the audience, it has to feel real to me, or I just can’t get through it.” 

Joey King: The people who challenge you are the ones who help you grow the most.
“Don’t surround yourself with the ‘yes, yes, yes’ men. The most important thing for producing, acting—anything—is to surround yourself with people who aren’t afraid to tell you the truth. Have crazy ideas, and don’t be afraid to say them. But don’t be a dick about it.” 

Joey King

Sanaa Lathan: Activate your imagination. 
“When I was in drama school, my teacher always said to keep reading. All that acting is sourced from your imagination. The more vivid an imagination you have, [the more it] brings reality to the story that you’re telling, and the more the audience will be brought in.” 

Patti LuPone: Honor your unique talent.
“Don’t go after roles, because you will be disappointed. The roles that come in are the ones you’re supposed to play. My profession is a profession of subjection and rejection. I had cried too many tears over roles lost, and I went, ‘This is not a way to live my life.’ I know what my talent is. No one’s going to prevent me from being onstage. No one’s going to prevent me from doing what I was born to do.

You have to know why you’re doing it. The reason you are onstage—it has to be that you’re honoring your talent. You have to acknowledge you have it; you have to protect it. If you know yourself, you can be confident. It’s not arrogance to know yourself. Arrogance is fear. It has to be: ‘This is what I need in order to give you everything I have to the best of my abilities.’ But you have to know what that is.” 

Jonathan Majors: The more you prepare, the better you’ll be when the cameras start rolling. 
“I call that moment [between ‘action’ and ‘cut’] ‘the fall.’ You’ve worked so hard—or in some cases, you haven’t—but you’ve worked. You’ve prepared, in a way, to build a ladder. Your dialect, your costume, even the lights and set decoration—all of that is part of the ladder that’s being built. How high that ladder is depends on how deep your preparation is—spiritually, emotionally, physically, and socially. So when they say ‘action,’ you just step off the ladder. If you have a deep preparation, your ladder tends to be higher, and you can just essentially free-fall. Whatever happens, happens. Because as you’re falling, you’re passing all your homework.” 

Amanda Seyfried: Take things one day at a time.
“I’ve noticed that a lot of younger actors, and the younger generation just behind me, think they have to build this world around themselves in order to perform; and it’s just not the case. All you need is you and some preparation—understanding of your character in the script, respect for the director, respect for yourself and your actors. If I were that age, it would make me think that I was doing something wrong; but I realized I’m doing what’s right for me. I still have a lot to learn, and I’m having a good time doing it. I’m not stressing out. You don’t have to. You don’t have to build up the world around you in order to be good. You’re good! You’re already here.” 

Amanda Seyfried

Sebastian Stan: Allow your lived experience to inform your craft.
“Bring the day with you…. You’re on the subway; you’re running late. You’re trying to get to the audition, and then someone bumps into you and spills your coffee. You’re pissed off. But then you get to the audition, and you’re trying to make a good impression? You might as well just own the day and go in with it. At least then, you’re starting from an honest place.”