Sofie Gråbøl “As an actor you’re always looking for the weak side of a character, for the dark side. It’s because that’s where… the door … opens for me to get into the character. That’s also I think the door for the audience too. So the more flaws, the more weaknesses, to me the better. And Sarah Lund, there’s a lot of things she’s not capable of.”
[talking about developing the character of Sarah Lund, The Killing]
I’d just finished watching The Killing II and clicked onto the ‘making of’ extra on the DVD. A friend of mine is an actor and writer and I’ve always been fascinated by her approach to building a new character. Sofie Gråbøl re-iterates this. This made me sit back and think about my protagonist, Rose, in Ignoring Gravity. What are her flaws?
Well she’s very independent and wants to do everything herself, to the point where she cuts out her sister Lily without realising she is doing it. Rose does not exclude others consciously, she simply gets on with the things that have to be done.
She’s single-minded, which on the one hand means she is motivated, focussed and determined to find the answers. On the other hand, she can seem selfish. Lily accuses her of hurting the family because she is incapable of focussing on anyone else except herself. This is new to Rose, who is totally unaware that this is how others may see her.
Whilst outwardly she appears in control, as a journalist Rose is aware she represents her newspaper and has a role to play, inwardly she feels like blancmange. To her horror, she keeps crying in front of Nick and worries that after first being attracted to Strong Rose, now he only sees Weak Rose.
She is the opposite of introspective. While her sister, Lily, wears her heart on her sleeve, Rose’s heart is in the heel of her shoe.
If you agree with Sofie Gråbøl, perhaps you will agree with:-
Joel & Ethan Coen – on genre types of characters
Hilary Mantel – your characters are flickering constructs, they are always on the move
Judi Dench – give your character a back story
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Look for the weak side of a character, for the dark side: I agree with… Sofie Gråbøl http://wp.me/p5gEM4-JJ via @SandraDanby #amwriting