Jennifer Jason Leigh: ‘I’m good at acting… not chatting’

Jennifer Jason Leigh struggles to cope with her shyness off screen.

The 54-year-old actress is known for her varied movie career, having had parts in films such as Road to Perdition, The Machinist and the most recent The Hateful Eight.

However, when it comes to meeting up with directors for potential roles, Jennifer thinks her off-screen persona sometimes affects whether or not she gets the part.

“I’m shy. I’m great at acting; I’m not great at chatting,” she told Backstage magazine. “When you get to a point in your career, you don’t read anymore. But I’m sure I’ve lost jobs having coffee with a director. Not that I’m horrifically boring or anything, but I’m really good at acting. That’s what I do.”

Jennifer didn’t have that problem with Quentin Tarantino, who knew she was the right person to play Daisy in The Hateful Eight. Shooting with such an acclaimed and enthusiastic director was something Jennifer thoroughly enjoyed, and it turned out to be a unique experience.

“Instead of having a director watch you from six feet away, he’s reading with you, he’s in it, he’s enthusiastic, he’s in your corner,” she added. “You feel not only his energy but you feel his affection, you know? Quentin Tarantino is just a really good guy and he genuinely loves actors. He loves everyone on his crew. And you just go for it and you have a great time.”

However, Jennifer felt the pressure of bringing Quentin’s character to life because she knew how much he believed in her acting skills. She also had to learn to play the guitar for the role, which was something she had never done before.

“When Quentin Tarantino says, ‘You can do it, I have faith in you,’ you’re not gonna let that guy down, you know?” she continued. “I felt incredibly vulnerable because I didn’t want him to see (my fear); same with Daisy. So there was always this motor underneath of, ‘I’ve got to get this right, I’ve got to learn this thing.’ It was this incredible gift that he gave me, this insurmountable thing to do in the movie that was so foreign to me. I love him for giving me that.”

– Cover Media

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