Academy Award Nominated Actress Juliette Lewis | The Backlot Podcast

Eric: Hi, I’m Eric Conner, senior instructor at New York Film Academy, and in this episode, we bring you an actress who was nominated for an Oscar before she was even old enough to vote, a performer who’s worked with a remarkable list of directors, including Kathryn Bigelow, Garry Marshall, Oliver Stone, and Martin Scorsese, just to name a few. A rare child star whose career never slowed down. Jumping from film to TV to being in a rock band. No matter the project, her presence always makes it more interesting. We are talking about Juliette Lewis. Miss Lewis credits one person for providing the example she needed to navigate the industry. Her dad. 

Juliette Lewis: There’s a lot of these unpleasant politics to getting a job and, you know, getting a good job, a good film and all that, so I’m doing that and I don’t have that much patience for it, but I still have enough of a love. What’s good is I have a past body of work that I can pretty much meet with any filmmaker and have a conversation. And so that’s really gratifying. How I started in film is my dad is a character actor. He is a character actor. He’s the guy that has done everything from a Laverne & Shirley episodes to Clint Eastwood Westerns to everything in between. And I first was introduced to the world of film by visiting him on movie sets. And I always had a really practical introduction to movies, not from the magazines and stuff like that, but knowing that it’s long hours, there’s colorful characters. You never have the same job twice. Like it’s variety. It was it was perfect industry for me. And yeah, my dad’s a big influence in that way. 

Eric: But having a father in the industry didn’t guarantee Juliette Lewis instant success. As a teenager, she went on several auditions before joining up with a beloved screen family, The Griswolds. 

Juliette Lewis: Yeah, I was 15 and I started getting into acting right in those years, 13, 14, 15. The irony is acting professionally kept me out of trouble and I know they like to always give it a bad rap and stuff. Now, getting famous, very young – if you have any kind of emotional troubles and stuff is not good. But for me, acting gave me a purpose and I could channel some of this energy and stuff like that. And so Christmas Vacation came along. Huge studio movie, Chevy Chase, really? But the kids are different? That doesn’t make sense. Yeah, well, the kids are just going to be different, so go up for that part. So it’s me and Johnny Galecki who I’ve run into recently. He’s on the Big Bang Theory and he’s so nice. We laughed because every year, because they play that it’s a seasonal movie, so they play it every year. But that was a great gig for me because I was a big studio movie and and, you know, going to be seen a lot. And I’m working with some of the best comedians and really good comedic material. And it was a good experience. 

Eric: Though she’s worked with, a wide array of performers and directors, Miss Lewis’s approach to performing is wholly her own, including how she captures the character’s dialect, which in the case of the thriller Kalifornia, she’s not entirely convinced that she pulled off. 

Clip: Early, we shouldn’t be doing this. Now you know, you ain’t even allowed to be leaving the state and these people are strangers, and what kind of people would stop at places where other people got murdered? What if these people are dangerous, Early? 

Juliette Lewis: I kind of have like the worst Southern accent, but somehow. No. Well, my whole young life. Is she Southern? I don’t know. Adele? What is she, Early. I forgot how she talked, it came from this little baby voice that I used to talk in, and that to me was the essence of the character. So as far as an accent, when I was young, younger, for some reason, people always thought I was from the South because maybe I have my own sort of drawl or whatever. Cause I’m living in my head half the time. I don’t know. But yeah, you usually work with a dialect coach and you get a region of what the accent was. I forgot if that was specified in the movie or not. Oh yeah. And then Brad was playing because he grew up in Missouri, so he was playing like people he’s seen like that was fun for him, playing like really backwoods kind of f**ked up guys. You know, you grow up there, I’m sure you find those people. But you know, recently I did a movie called Conviction. Tony Goldwyn directed and Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell, two of my faves, starred in it and that was a Boston dialect and was very particular. And so I worked with a a coach, somebody that specializes in accents. And it’s real fun because you sort of you just pick it up by ear and really practice the dialect. 

Eric: More so than finding the perfect accent, Miss Lewis wants to find the character’s voice within the voice. 

Juliette Lewis: Well, when I read a script, it’s usually the text is, you know, it gives you a lot. And then from there, you really have to develop intuition. Just let that voice speak to you. Like maybe she wears this kind of clothes or maybe she sort of slouches her shoulders or maybe, you know, maybe she’s very, you know, just fine is sort of behavior. And then the other thing, you know, so your text will inform you. And there’s usually a general character description in any script or play. And then I always look in my environment, see if you can see elements of that character or people, because I love seeing it. A perfect example of this was Cape Fear. On the page that’s just a teenager. She’s a teenager. She sort of talks back to her parents. She’s a little bit precocious and she’s interested in this drama teacher because he listens to her. So, OK, fine. But that could be any teenager in the whole world. But what does she feel like? What does she move like? What does she sound like? And of course, I’m bringing elements of myself. But I had gone to a park and there was this girl there and she had bangs and she was always like half smiling, like she had a secret and she was holding a new kitten. She had just got a kitten and her name was Colleen. And I said, ‘Hi, Colleen, what’s your kitten’s name?’ And she was like, ‘I don’t know. I just got it. You know, she’s everything was like in here.’ But that one thing was that character, a girl that always looks like she has a secret. So that was that one seed. Now, then you have scenes that require all kinds of emotion and things. But don’t be afraid to use aspects of yourself, too. I know I said earlier that I like to escape myself, but it’s really – you’re just sort of using we all come to the table. We’ve all felt pain, apathy, joy, elation, embarrassed, like we’ve all felt these things. So you sort of each character, you’re just blowing up different aspects of emotions you felt and then they become sort of different aspects of yourself anyway. 

Eric: Only a few years into her career, Juliette Lewis landed a part that most actors can only dream of, the daughter in Martin Scorsese’s remake of Cape Fear. In one of the film’s most memorable scenes, Miss Lewis went toe to toe with none less than Robert De Niro, resulting in both of them receiving well-deserved Oscar nominations. 

Clip: Well, why do you hate my father? 

I don’t hate him at all. Oh, no, I pray for him. I’m here to help him. I mean, we all make mistakes. Danielle. You and I have. At least we try to admit it, don’t we? 

Yeah. 

But your daddy, he don’t. Every man carries a circle of hell around his head like a halo. Your daddy too. Every man, every man has to go through hell to reach his paradise. You know what paradise is? 

No. 

Salvation. Because your daddy’s not happy. Your mommy’s not happy. And you know what? You’re not happy, are you? 

No, I’m not. 

Juliette Lewis: First of all, that scene is really rare because it’s nine minutes long and I didn’t know that, but that’s really rare in films today. And because every scene is usually like three minutes and we’re moving on to the next and we’re always telling a story. So that was very much like mini theater. And there’s many elements to that scene. My main thing is to be true to my character in the scene. And that character was going to visit a drama teacher who had called her up on the phone and gave her attention, which was really nice. This is validating. So the whole thing of that scene is that she’s feeling validated by him. So more and more feeling a bit more precocious, for lack of a better word, a bit more confident. And you as the audience is squirming because we know he bit a girl’s cheek out. I’d get so many questions when I was doing interviews because they were like, wow. And her burgeoning sexuality and all this s**t, and I was just like, I didn’t ever look at it that way. I just in that scene, somebody is talking nice to her and she’s trying to piece it together. She realizes, oh, he killed the mom’s dog and she’s going, oh, that’s not good. And then he makes her feel better and then, you know, they’re in this small space.

But it was so amazing. Again, it’s how your director lays the environment for you. And Marty Scorsese was so brilliant. He didn’t want us. He wanted to keep – there was this electricity happening between myself and De Niro. And there’s three different setups to it. There’s when I first walk in and see him, that’s one camera set up. Then we cut, we’re in tighter and he’s right there. And then when he offers her the joint, she goes closer. Now we’re close again. And then I, I retreat a little bit. And then he comes in for that kiss and the thumb. That scene was all scripted except for two moments that. It was scripted that he comes and kisses her. He’s never violent with her. And that’s what’s so upsetting for the audience is that it’s it’s seductive, but we know how dangerous he is. So what wasn’t scripted is the thumb part. And all Marty said was like, you know, Bob’s going to do something. This is my horrible Scorsese impression. He’s like ‘Bob’s going to do something. Just just just go with it. Just go just I mean, just do whatever you feel.’ And I was like, ‘OK, I don’t, no idea what that’s going to be,’ but but I know it’s in the context of the thing. And if you watch it, it’s just amazing because for her it’s just about acceptance. Even though there’s a sexual thing, if you see the expression after he does that with the thumb, it’s like, was that good? Did I do OK? And that’s that’s the tragedy. And that’s very, very, very young, young girl sexuality is sort of just sort of like pleasing.

So, God, that scene was amazing to do. It was amazing to do that. And DeNiro is really interesting because this is one of the things I love about him. He does not – I don’t know about his process. He doesn’t bring his process to the set. You know, a lot of young actors, we hear all these urban legends. I mean, you know, we’re all trying to be our own thing. But DeNiro, whatever intense s**t he was up to, I didn’t know about it. And he was up to some intense stuff because Marty told me he was like singing in tongues with a gospel singer in his trailer. At one point I was like, ‘Really?’ ‘Yeah, he’s he’s like Bobby’s, you know, has a gospel girl.’ And they’re doing it because he has that religious thing because in the end, last scene, because it’s his guy was in jail for a long time, got really into religion anyway. He does all this stuff. All I know is this guy who is very nice, was really sweet with me, gave me a hug, and he probably did whatever he needed to. I guess that was his thing, sort of where I just felt really comfortable around him and that that fed into the our scenes together. 

Eric: When you step into the proverbial ring with heavyweights like Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese, not to mention Cape Fear’s Nick Nolte and Jessica Lange, training is crucial, but it only takes you so far. 

Juliette Lewis: Every project’s different and it’s good you all are in school because you want to learn different things that can invoke or make you think if you’re flat, if you receive something and you’re like, I don’t know anything, then you can rely on your training. But usually I’m a big believer in sort of really being open, open within yourself to ideas that come up and also open to your environment and experience. So whether that’s being connected to your emotion. So to answer your question, I don’t have a rote way that I approach every project, every project’s totally different for me, but I do have similar – what my search is incredible honesty, complexity, and surrender, surrendering to the moment. Actually, after you do all your work, that’s intellectual and breaking down a scene and understanding, oh, well she wants this and she’s doing this, and he’s. So after you analyze all that, there’s a point where you got to shut all that off and then just be. And that’s the thing of surrender and trying to do that on a film set too. You’re working within an incredibly technical medium.

I remember in London doing this project, there’s a drunk right in front of me heckling me. We’re outside. You know, I can’t, I have to be focused. But here’s the thing, because you’re also playing what if. Cape Fear, I’ve never experienced a psychopath who’s going to now rape and murder me in front of my parents. So you sort of like, how do you, what’s that going to be like? That level of fear and terror and all the stuff. And so a lot of this is make believe. You know, it’s hugely make believe. But I was flying on a plane and the plane dropped really far and all my adrenaline frickin’ rushed and I thought I was going to lose my life. That is what informs the other. And it’s just about being connected to your own experience and your own emotions. But you wouldn’t think a plane dropping. I’m going to use that level of terror, you know, in a scene where De Niro’s like get down, blah blah, and then she lets out this ripping scream. So that was a really interesting thing. 

Eric: Working with Martin Scorsese at a young age was only the beginning of her collaborations with top tier directors and though she loves these opportunities, Miss Lewis admits that sometimes a visionary filmmaker simply won’t take no for an answer. 

Juliette Lewis: More and more, what I’ve learned is the director is your boss, so you are there to serve his or her vision and hopefully they’re creative and intelligent enough that they’ve invited you on board to get your take, your point of view, your essence. And that’s usually what happens. And they like a bit of a dialog. But if you’re there, you really don’t want to waste the director’s time with too much explanation. And I find it’s nice to keep it simple for them. Don’t go like I was thinking, blah blah blah, you know, I get my questions answered.

For example, this is so frickin’ arbitrary, but this is what happened. Kathryn Bigelow, she’s brilliant. I was so happy she won the Oscar like, oh, my lord, that’s amazing. She makes really unconventional radical films. And as a director, she’s really interesting. Her style is more in the Kubrick way where she likes many takes because she really, she’s sort of painting and, you know, she’s doing whatever she’s doing. For an actor it’s pretty exhausting. But we have this one thing in. It was a little thing. I didn’t want to be wearing what I was wearing in a scene. The movie was Strange Days. I come off stage. I had a really logical argument. I’m wearing chain mail, so it’s like I’m kind of wearing next to nothing. The next scene I’m at my house or some weird loft with the boyfriend. He hits me. I just didn’t want to be half naked and hit. I don’t know, I had a thing in my mind, so I was like, can I be in a robe? Logically, she came off stage. She would have changed. You’re sweaty. She would be in a different outfit. She, for whatever reason, did not want me in any other outfit. But that because she’s a visualist. Is that a word? She’s seeing things all here. She wants this shimmery thing that I’m in. She doesn’t want a robe. Can I wear even a nightgown? I didn’t want, anyway. I just wanted to be more clothed. So she wins. She’s the director. 

Eric: Other performers might have gone full diva and just stormed off the set. But Miss Lewis understands how to be a professional, extending to not only how she works with directors, but to her cast mates as well. 

Juliette Lewis: That’s the other thing is because you all go to class and we all dream big and, oh I want to play, you know, Blanche from Streetcar Named Desire, but it’s like, OK, well, hold on a second, because there’s a lot of stuff that maybe you’ll play a little taste of something and you’ll develop within that. But yes, I’ve done not great movies as well that I would want to see it done differently. And that’s a real big challenge of how to stay honest to your own thing. But also, you’re working for somebody. My director is my boss. No matter if they’re inexperienced or have a different point of view, usually you hope you iron that out before you work together. But as far as actors, yeah, I’ve worked with people that have a completely different process or different take on the scene, and that’s people skills. That’s like you have to be very diplomatic in your conversation and hopefully try to play the best you can together. But there’s positive things of embracing other people’s process. Like I had a friend, Giovanni Ribisi, this movie, The Other Sister, now he’s hundred thousand percent method, which means I don’t even know, I would never even be able to be method. Meaning if I stayed – we were playing to mentally handicapped young people who find love and they’re searching for their independence. And he would stay in character through lunch, through the Christmas with his wife. I mean, he’d stay and I had to, I have to let go of that to then dive back in again. I need a breather from it. So we work totally two different ways, but the outcome is the same. So that was really fun. And then there’s been other actors. Yeah, I mean, maybe I didn’t. It’s tough working with people you don’t respect. I mean you wouldn’t know them so don’t think is nobody known, people or something. But just really really that’s what, that’s what you’re going for. Huh. And you got to keep that, keep that to yourself and just try to be as encouraging as possible. 

Eric: Her work on The Other Sister directed by the late great Garry Marshall, was a role that required both more preparation and more care due to its sensitive nature. 

Juliette Lewis: That actually was the hardest role I’ve ever done for many reasons. One is, sometimes when I see a script, you immediately see all the cliches, you see all the pitfalls, the booby traps of how it could go horrible if you don’t achieve a true honesty. And first and foremost, I want to make sure – there’s two things because visually and the way she talks is much different than myself, part of which I talk to the producer who had a sister who is mentally handicapped, who the character was based a little bit on, and her sister had a very low voice like that. So I had seen video footage of her sister, even though Carla Tate’s totally different, but I use that quality, placing my voice in a different way. And the first thing before anything else is the emotional content and what is she made up of but this pure goodness is pure benevolence? She has empathy for animals, a great deal. She has empathy for other people who are in trouble. She has a fierce will to succeed against odds. So all those ingredients I related to as a human being and I make sure I have those. So I related to her heart first. And then we also went, production facilitated that we meet with people who are high functioning, mentally challenged. So that’s a bit different. And there was one girl I met with who is really animated when she spoke. And so I would just sort of take from different people I met in my environment. This is what I mean about watching things in your environment, pulling from that, because that’s where you’re going to get the most truthful stuff within yourself and externally. 

Eric: Miss Lewis reminded our students that a performance should not be limited to only the neck up. Rather, one’s whole body is what comprises a character. 

Juliette Lewis: I think it just comes from that thing of Gnosis, you know, of observing people and knowing that we all communicate from the toe or the head down, whatever. So it’s not just we’re not all in the same movement. I don’t know how I’m really, really attracted to energy and how just even how people walk. If you just watch how people walk, you can see sort of where they hold. If they’re like uptight, some are like down like that. And some their gravity is like all in their hips. And I don’t know, it’s just an amazing you could do that as an exercise like five different walks. Do you all do that in class? That’s neat. Yeah. I mean, because I’m not academically trained, but I have a lot of friends that go to really exciting acting classes and I’ve noticed oh, I do a lot of the things that are taught anyway. But I’m, I’m sort of very intuitive, but I yeah. So I’m glad they do an exercise. Like if I taught that’s what I would do. Practice walks. Oh. But I do, I think it does help with being in touch with your instrument. Is that an acting language? But dance. Because early on I took dance, I took gymnastics even though I quit everything. Isn’t that sad to say? I was a quitter. But man, all these things I wish I didn’t quit like karate. I would have been a black belt. 

Eric: Her knowledge in karate came in handy when portraying Mallory Knox in Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers. It’s a character that could not be more opposite than her work in The Other Sister. And to help capture the almost feral nature of a serial killer, Miss Lewis just needed to find the right tune. 

Juliette Lewis: There’s so many different things that help you create the character. And for this, like I learned, fight training just because in some of the sequences are full on action sequences like the opening in the diner, it was much like a dance. So I was learning street fighting, using elbows and all the stuff. And that’s just, you know, conjures up an energy within you. Also, I use music a lot. And so for that film, you know, because music’s instantaneous, you could listen to a song and right away you’re the feel of feeling like within 10, 20 seconds, depending on the song. And so for that movie, it was Jimi Hendrix, Voodoo Child (Slight Return) which is a very, every bend of his guitar, you’re going deeper into the jungle and all this chaos starts happening. And it’s really dark. It’s seductive. It’s filled with so much emotion. So to me, that was the the sort of the body of Mallory Knox. And then at the same time, there’s a lot of humor because it is exaggerated, that character, because it’s a kind of a farce in a way.

So that had many elements and that had a lot to do with how brilliant the director is and talking with him and being inspired by him. And he would encourage us. There was no boundaries in that film that was actually a problem for me because, like, we’d be in a driving scene and he’d go, yeah, ‘I’m going to just have some demons run across the frame.’ ‘OK, well, what, how am I supposed to react to that, Oliver? What’s that?’ ‘Just I don’t know. It’s just in the scene.’ So you’re sort of navigating between because a lot of it’s a bit psychedelic. But anything I do, whether it’s broad comedy or drama, I try to root it in honesty. And that character is rooted in, there are real people who have killed people. And you know what I took from them a little, like Aileen Wuornos. So basically, what are they? They’re damaged souls. And so you sort of have the thing and then there’s just all these different shades within the context of the movie you’re making. And he was making a social commentary and also very tripped out kind of psychedelic movie where everything goes. So I knew anything goes. So when we’re in the car and going, ‘Mickey,’ something something about looking up at the stars, what whatever. 

Clip: I see angels, Mickey. They’re coming down for us from Heaven.

Juliette Lewis: And I’m doing my f**king feet like that, like that was just, it’s because of the environment that Oliver created, I was just doing like ballet moves and just making that up. 

Eric: Viewing characters through the prism of music has expanded Miss Lewis’s career to include fronting the rock band Juliette and the Licks and unlike some other actors who’ve tried to become rock stars, she could actually rock. 

Juliette Lewis: Yeah, it’s funny because a lot of people associate me with these movies, you know, Natural Born Killers, Cape Fear, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape or different movies, and those are really the filmmakers points of view and personality. And I add the character, work to it, but musically is sort of me inside out. It’s sort of my true pure expression and it’s really visceral. And there’s songs that have different colors and personality. You know, you can have songs that are filled with just the drums, the drums, guitar, all the instruments represent your emotional – like you as well. So the band came out of, I think, all artists and you probably all have this. It’s a hunger and it’s a search you’re searching and you need to express. And so I was always meant to do music very young. You know, I took piano, I sang, I took dance, I, I did little plays, I did all that stuff. And I always thought of my creative self as having all of those elements. And so when I got successful and got put on the wheel, I like to call it in show business, in the movie industry, you know, you sort of on this wheel and got to do your next film and all this.

I took a step back when I was twenty two and was like, wait, who’s running this? Because I need to sort of take ownership of my own artistic destiny. And then it took me some years, because I was scared. I was terrified. I’d never led a band. I’d never wrote with other people. You know, it’s a very intimate thing writing music with other people, man. It’s a whole other thing. It’s spiritual for me, the music. Whether you’re writing about a little crush song or it doesn’t matter. It’s really about connection with people. So that’s a whole other different ball of wax that I will continue to do. But yes, I was influenced. I went off on a tangent, sorry, I was influenced. People would identify me with certain things. They thought I was into really dark films, which some I am. I really love Francis and Midnight Express, but my biggest influences growing up were musicals like. But there were twisted, like All That Jazz. It’s amazing about, you know, an artist sort of imploding and it’s a bit trippy. Hair was a huge thing. Grease, Rocky Horror Picture Show is sort of the the juggernaut of my feeling. If I can make my own Rocky Horror Picture Show in the future, I mean, that’s that’s what I’ll attempt to do, a whole different thing. 

Eric: Miss Lewis’s career has had a wide array of tunes, so to speak, including the gothic darkness of Kalifornia, co-starring Brad Pitt. When choosing roles, Juliette Lewis just wants to avoid playing Juliette Lewis. 

Juliette Lewis: I’m always looking to go as far away from myself as possible, but really it’s sort of the luck of the draw, you know, because I’m hired. I’m not making my own films. I’m sort of the great cosmic receiver of what’s going to come my way. And so I just happen to pick, especially in my younger career, I could have played somebody’s daughter, the girlfriend and all this stuff. It’s not like I can’t do that or play the ingenue, but I wanted characters that were complicated, multilayered, rich, and if they weren’t like that on the page, I was going to make them that way. And this film is really interesting for me. It goes down as a very important film for me because I consider it my first official character, Adele Corners, where I change my voice. She talks a bit higher. The director was Dominic Sena. He was a first time filmmaker. His claim to fame at this point, he’s since gone on to do like Gone in 60 Seconds and other huge movies. But at this time in his career, he had just come from video directing where his biggest thing he’d done was a Janet Jackson video. And I was sort of coming off the heat of Cape Fear. And even though I was really young, I sort of encouraged Brad to do the film. He didn’t originally. I don’t know if they’ll remember that, but he didn’t want to do the movie initially. Just because it was a first time director and there’s so many risks involved. But it turned out to have such a personality. The film. and I really believed in Dominic as a visual artist because he was really visual. And long story short is, Adele on the page – you know, when you have four people in a scene, it’s very hard that they all have a voice and they overlap and it be realistic. So Adele would just have like a line here or there. So I basically sort of improvise a lot of that part. I could tell you so many, like the song I wish Carrie is happy. That’s my early songwriting. 

Eric: Part of the kick of Kalifornia was having a chance to act with Brad Pitt again, who happened to be her boyfriend at the time. 

Juliette Lewis: The first movie we did, was not a movie. It was a movie of the week for TV. It was a made for TV. So it was very melodramatic, but it offered both of us the chance to play characters, very dramatic characters, because believe it or not, I came from late 80s sitcoms, you know what I mean? So I mean, this isn’t what I’m known for, but I was doing sitcoms in the late 80s, not very well, but I found my niche later. And so me and Brad and he had done Dallas like a soap opera. Yeah dude! I never saw it, but all I knew is he was from Dallas. And so this is like really gritty you know, she killed a guy and it was like this thing. And now they’ve sold it as a frickin’ movie because we both went on to do things. But it’s practically like “The Amy Fisher Story” or, you know, it’s something like that. But the second movie, that was fun. I mean, that was great. I mean, it’s like bands, they say don’t ever get in a relationship in your band. I mean, I don’t know. It depends. There’s actors and directors who work together who go together too. Maybe that’s more difficult. I don’t know. It was easier because we’re peers. So we’re just sort of like sharing like, oh, I think I’m going to do this. Or he was like, I’m not going to wash my hair for two months because, I was like, cool, that’s, that’s what you need to do to be Early Grace. He didn’t wash his hair for two months. So that was just like, cute. 

Eric: Let’s be honest. An unwashed Brad Pitt is still a Brad Pitt. Even after three plus decades, Juliette Lewis, his career continues to transform as she’s always looking for new ways to challenge herself. 

Juliette Lewis: My dream role is very much – I’m writing now, so I’m going to write a script, but it has elements of me. And it’s someone who half lives in their fantasy life and half lives in the now and is dealing with a lot of melancholy or deep emotion, depending on what they’re going through. And then there’s music involved. So it’d be a bit of a psychedelic thing like All That Jazz. But that’s not really a role that’s – so I would love to play a far out, like I just auditioned for a Wicked Witch. That would be fun. I’d play her like Betty Davis. So that was kind of a dream role. We’ll see what happens. You know, I’m interested in doing things that challenge me. So for me, because I’m very idiosyncratic and very physical, whatever, I would like to play something that is very restrained, you know, maybe a period piece. I would like to play a girl that’s very restricted by the social etiquette of the time. That would be really interesting for me. 

Eric: So what final advice would Juliette Lewis give to artists out there looking to make their mark? 

Juliette Lewis: I just wanted to say something really quick, because I know you were asking me about all the creative stuff. If you guys are trying to do any of this professionally, a big thing, I must tell you, is to not take rejection or people’s opinions personally. Like when you go on auditions or if someone says, I don’t know, you might, you, you don’t seem really seductive or you’re more, I picture you as a cop or you’re more of this or whatever. You’re dealing with opinions on everything. And you’re going to find your match up if it’s meant to be. I just have to tell you that because it can be a really brutal industry and people beat themselves up so much and we just got to treat it as a game and making it fun and all that good stuff. Right. 

Eric: We want to thank Juliette Lewis for sharing her years of successfully playing the game, and thanks to all of you for listening. 

This episode was based on the Q&A, moderated by Chris Devane to watch the full interview or to see our other Q&As, check out our YouTube channel at YouTube.com/NewYorkFilmAcademy. This episode was written by me, Eric Conner. Edited and mixed by Kristian Heydon, produced by Kristian Heydon and myself. Executive produced by Tova Laiter, Jean Sherlock, and Dan Mackler. A special thanks to all our staff and crew who made this possible. To learn more about our programs, check us out at NYFA.edu. Be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen. See you next time. 

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