No two actors — like snowflakes — are ever the same. There are even some very big differences with the Olsen twins. One area where actors really differ is in how much information they need — or want — about their character. You would think acting would be the process of getting hired, being handed a script and then acting out the scene. That’s the process for some. Others need history.
There are actors who will create an entire history for their character even if the role is small. It’s a way of making that part feel like it has some depth. There are some actors who want to know the future of their character. That one’s a little harder — especially with TV shows — because the creative team behind the program often hasn’t thought or written that far into the future.
Although I find it hard to believe, the creators of “Lost” said they knew where that show would end and even told a few actors. It still seems like they were making it up as the show went along.
Actors in the AMC series “Walking Dead” face a different challenge. The TV series is based on the popular comic book of the same name. That would suggest all the actors have to do is read the comics and they’ll know what’s going to happen. The problem is, the TV show writers are twisting and turning the comic book plots so no one’s history is etched in ink and paper.
It also helps in interviews when the actors don’t know what’s happening with their characters. It means pesky journalists won’t be able to find out spoilers. Michael Rooker, who plays Merle on “The Walking Dead,” told me not to worry about asking questions about upcoming episodes in the current season.
“Don’t worry about it. I don’t know where my character is going anyway,” Rooker says. “When we are shooting an episode, we only get the script for the next episode about half way through the one we are shooting. We are finding out stuff as we go along. We’re sort of going at it in an interesting way and it’s intriguing.”
It’s intriguing for him and annoying for others.