The Heart Beats Differently When You’re in Character: Connie Nielsen on Inheritance
My character is a very stoic kind of woman, somebody who is used to being around strong-willed men, including her husband, and I think she just decides that she’s going to handle that by herself, and take care of business the way it’s supposed to be, and change whatever wrong has been made. A simple black dress, a simple structured jacket, staying in very simple tones, very simple cuts. And I just did the hair in a very classic bob, and injected a certain steeliness, because she’s an ex-lawyer, and she has this steely reserve that she has used to overcome trauma, and to overcome, and the difficulties of living with a controlling kind of husband.
You are fluent in eight languages. How does being polylingual help you as an actress?
Well first of all, it allows me to work in many different cultures. I am Danish originally, and I’ve had this awesome experience of being able to work in Italian, in French, in English, and also to shift between many different American accents as well. I’ve done Chicago, Boston Brahmin, I’ve done Southern and Louisiana, I’ve done Florida, I’ve done all these different accents, and that has been a lot of fun. Changing languages and accents is in fact like a physical experience. It is definitely something where I allow my body to feel it. It almost feels as if the heart beats differently when you’re in character. It’s just a different rhythm.
There’s a powerful moment in the movie where you tell your daughter, “The mistakes your father made are my burden, not yours.” You evoke such a sense of shared history.
It was just so easy with Lily, because she’s such an intuitive actor. She just digs in emotionally, and accesses these reserves of emotion within her in a very direct and beautiful way. I really enjoyed working with Lily, and it wasn’t difficult for us at all, I think, to make that shift as soon as we went into the scene.
You have, as you said, worked in a lot of different countries, and with a lot of different directors. Which director has taught you the most?