The relationship between actor and director is a very personal thing. With everyone having their own unique way of working, no two combinations will ever be the same so it is inevitable that while sometimes working partnerships just click other times it can be a struggle to get lift-off.
The difficultly is, sometimes a director may need something done a certain way for purely mechanical reasons and find themselves caught between the practical necessity and catering to the sensibilities of the actor who will be focussed on discovering things from a place of emotional truth and intuition.
Experienced movie powerhouse CHRISTOPHER NOLAN has learned that honesty is the best policy:
I’ll just say to them… “you know what, I think it’ll be better if we play this scene over by the window because I don’t have time to light it. So if you could find a reason that it works there that’ll help out greatly”. If you say to them… “Ohh, I think you character would get up and look out the window and think about whatever”… they’ll call you on that immediately.
We’ve all been in a situation where a director awkwardly manufactures some flimsy character intention in an effort to get something performed a certain way or wearing a certain outfit or looking in a certain direction. When all they really need do is come clean, bring the actor into their vision, and let the actor fill in the characters actions and objectives that get truthfully to the end result.
We all grew up reading the stories about Hitchcock calling the actors the meat or whatever or screaming actors to get them to cry or lying to them to get them to do something and what I find with actors I’ve worked with some really great actors is they are human lie detectors they are students of human behaviour you cannot lie to them I mean you sit there with Al Pacino you cannot lie to him he’ll see it absolutely immediately so you have to be completely honest with these people and you have to include them in your creative process