: Sure, yeah I can. I just think that this is not a horse race, it is a lifestyle change, it is a life choice. So you can’t be worried about being a star in a year, or whatever it is, or a lifetime. It’s a lifetime choice. I plan to act until I’m shaking in front of the camera like Katharine Hepburn
. I want to do this until I die. Actors don’t retire, we die. You know? So, that’s the biggest thing. Don’t be in such a hurry to be a star. It took me fifteen years for overnight success, you know? So it’s not a horse race.
And the other thing is that if you can imagine yourself doing anything else but acting and be happy doing it, you should do that. Because this is a life choice, and there is a lot of rejection. There is more rejection in my lifetime than my entire family combined together. People go and change jobs maybe one or two times in their lifetime, maybe one or two times rejected. I do that three times a week, if I’m lucky. So you have to have this incredible thick skin and this incredible secret inside that you know this is what you want to do, and that’s it.
FCFR: That’s good advice. People don’t realize what a big change it would have to be, it’s not just showing up for an audition, there’s a lot more to it.
MF: You know, it’s everything. You have to hang out with actors, you have to go see plays, you have to immerse yourself. I call people who aren’t in the business civilians. It’s like being in the military. You just have to immerse yourself in this world, and love all of it: love the rejection — well, of course I don’t love the rejection, but it’s part of it. On to the next one. And it’s not all fun and games (laughs). You have to love the work. And it doesn’t matter if you didn’t get it, because you loved working on the piece, and you’ll get the next one. You know what I’m saying?
FCFR: And there’s a difference between wanting to be a star and wanting to be an actor or actress.
MF: Yes, there is. You want to be a star, honey? You live in America. You can do a lot of things to be famous, seriously. Do a sex tape (laughs).
MF: Look at Paris Hilton, look at the Kardashians. You know? You can be famous here without being an actor. You know, famous as an actor? There are much easier ways of doing it.
FCFR: Yeah — make a YouTube video!
MF: Exactly! (laughs)
FCFR: One last question for you: do you have any particular routine when you first settle into a role? Are you method, or . . . ?
MF: I do a little bit of everything. I’ve studied every form of — I do a little repetition. I glean — this is another piece of advice I can tell actors — acting is a technique, you’re a craftsman, and you just have to learn how to use your tools. For example, a painter has different shapes of brushes, different sizes, and they learn how to use them. Actors are the same way. Your instrument is your body, you learn how to use your voices and stuff like that. And — oh God, I rambled and I lost [it], what was the question?
: What is your routine for getting into character?
MF: So, for me, when I first get it, I’ll read the script a couple times, or the scene — sometimes I just get a scene. I’ll just do it differently, I put it down and I’ll walk away from it. I really like to have at least two days with my work, because — sometimes I don’t get that privilege, but you know, you have to eat it and absorb it, and digest it, and you have to go back again and eat it again and absorb it and digest it, and every time you swallow, it changes a little bit, and it becomes more part of your being, more part of your, you know, those words are YOUR words, they’re part of your way of thinking. So I just do it a little bit at a time. I digest it a little at a time.
I use everything, I use repetition, I do method, I glean whatever I need depending on the job.
FCFR: Any chance we’ll see you doing theater in the future?
MF: Oh yeah. I’m married to a playwright now, I try to do one play a year, it’s usually one of his, but not necessarily (laughs). I try to do a play every two years, I don’t get to do it once every year unfortunately. Or fortunately, because now I’m working on TV a lot. I try to do one every other year or so. My last one was an adaptation of Oedipus called Oedipus El Rey at the Boston Court Theater in Los Angeles, and it was fabulous.
FCFR: Do you have a favorite between doing feature films, doing TV, that kind of thing?
MF: My very favorite is live half hour comedies, just because it combines live audience, which is theater, and TV. But I do love it all. I even love doing radio plays. I love doing commercials. I love it all (laughs).
* * * * * *
Thanks once again to the great Marlene Forte for chatting about her amazing career and for offering such great advice to young artists everywhere. Always a pleasure, Marlene, and I hope we can do this again soon!
Don’t forget to follow her on Twitter and stay up to date on “Dallas” by visiting the official website here. The second half of season 3 will be debuting on Monday, August 18th on TNT, so DO NOT miss it!