Highly sensitive and in the spotlight

Renée Zellweger

Renée Zellweger on the protection of being a character

Speaking of her role in the film “Miss Potter” as Beatrix Potter (1866–1943), the English author and illustrator of the Peter Rabbit books, Renée Zellweger commented:

“I’m not a performer. I don’t want to hop up on a stage and go ‘Look at me! I’m Renée! What do you think?’

“That’s not me. What I do is very different. If I want to express something, it’s through the filter [of a character]. So I never feel exposed.”  [Life Magazine Jan 5 2007]

Renee ZellwegerAs a film production journalist for several years, I had the opportunity to interview filmmakers on locations and sound stages, and came to appreciate what an protected environment a film set is.

And many actors talk about the people they work with as a “family.”

Zellweger said the movies she works on are “little projects that I have to believe are private experiences or I couldn’t do them. I couldn’t do them knowing that potentially I’m going to disappoint people.

“I think about acting as this thing I’m lucky to do because I love it. But if I had looked at it from an outsider’s perspective in the beginning and known ‘This is what your life will be like on a daily basis, can you handle it?’ I might have said, I don’t know.”

Sensitivity  – a gift that exposes

Many other actors have also in some way identified themselves as highly sensitive, including Ellen Muth; Jennifer Beals; Winona Ryder; Heath Ledger; Amy Brenneman; Mandy Moore; Alison Pill; Naomi Watts; Scarlett Johansson, and Brittany Murphy, who once commented, “I’m a very oversensitive, vulnerable person. You have to be to do this for a living.”

Claire Danes reports feeling shy, socially isolated and highly sensitive.

“I really was a miserable teenager. I did not perform well socially in junior high… I never thought of myself as shy, and then I realized I am kind of shy; I’ve just built defenses to hide it.”

From article Sensitive and suffering as a teen: Claire Danes on being shy and high achieving.

In my article The Dark Side of Fame, I note that fame can assault sensitive people, as Zellweger implied above.

Johnny Depp-always-CherokeeJohnny Depp said he felt so intimidated by his celebrity status during his early career that he “had to be drunk to be able to speak and get through it. I guess I was trying not to feel anything.”

But the experience of fame can also be strengthening, as Kim Basinger explained:

“Because I’m such a shy person, having to live it out loud in front of everyone has made me a stronger woman, so much stronger, that it’s been a gift to me in a way.”

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Related site:  Highly Sensitive

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Article publié pour la première fois le 06/01/2007