Jeanna and I were talking acting the other day. I asked her how she goes about accessing painful emotions. Leo has a scene with Jennie where he has to allow himself to be vulnerable. Which isn't really Leo's thing. His normal persona is strong, he's a 'fixer,' a deal-maker, who keeps up a good front. But, Jennie asks him a question that catches him off guard, and suddenly he's vulnerable, revealing what he normally hides.
I can hear my acting coach in my ear: "Acting is problem solving." Well, my problem is allowing myself to be vulnerable, letting Leo's pain and sadness live in me. If I don't feel it, it won't be real, and the audience will know I'm faking it.
Jeanna had a great analogy: that when we're very young, we are like a door that's wide open - we let everything come through us with no filter. Then, slowly, parents and society, tell us "don't do that!" And, we slowly shut the door on our feelings.
I had a good rehearsal last week. I cracked the door open a little. I can see the stairs going down into a dark basement ... part of me is afraid of that first step. But, another part is saying, No, go on down there, that's where the fun is.