5 Acting Lessons From Tony Winners Judith Light, Sutton Foster, and More

Interview   5 Acting Lessons From Tony Winners Judith Light, Sutton Foster, and More
 
Molly Bernard, star of Amazon’s Transparent and TV Land’s Younger, shares the lessons imparted by her co-stars.

On September 22, Amazon welcomes back its award-winning series Transparent. The show, which debuted in 2014, follows a Los Angeles family with “serious boundary issues” as they adjust to patriarch Morty coming out as trans and transitioning to matriarch Maura. The cast stars Jeffrey Tambor, Judith Light, Kathryn Hahn, Gaby Hoffmann, Amy Landecker, Jay Duplass, and, as of last season, Molly Bernard.

Bernard takes on the role of young Shelly—a.k.a. young Judith Light. No easy task. In her Younger world, Bernard plays scenes with pros like Sutton Foster, Hilary Duff, and Kathy Najimy, who plays her TV mom. Bernard started in theatre. Her performance alongside Eboni Booth in Soho Repertory Theatre’s Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. received critical acclaim. So what has she learned from all of these powerhouse women actors?

Judith Light, Transparent
There’s an implicit trust—to trust that the work that I’m doing is good. She thanked me for giving Shelly a life beyond what we’ve seen thus far, and she said, “Thank you for sharing her with me and for helping me understand who she was when she was younger.” That’s the most meaningful role I think I’ve ever had so I’m very precious about that and what is that encouragement.

Kathy Najimy, Younger
That woman first season pulled me aside, this is very personal, this is why I love her. I have a very close relationship with her. She pulled me aside, and she was like, “You’re so good. I dare you to own it.” … It’s kind of the quest I feel like I’m on a little bit.

Hilary Duff, Younger
Among many things Hilary has taught me [is] to have integrity. … I think you can be in this industry and you can walk a fragile line of being a yes man and saying yes too much to things that are out of your comfort zone of things that are not necessarily contributing to your growth. … She stands up for everyone on set. … She also taught me a lot about the technical part about being on set. … It was the middle of season three and she says, “We love you. Stop stressing. … Enjoy it a little bit more.”

Eboni Booth, Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again.
Eboni is great. She also pulled a Hilary and said, “Stop stressing out.” I care a lot, I’m the toughest critic.

Sutton Foster, Younger
There’s a theme here, are you ready? “Don’t stress out so much.” I was panicking about getting this really heavy duty Lauren speech, getting it right. She was like, “Honestly, do whatever you think is right because you have great instincts and you need to just trust them. Go sit down.”

Season 4 of Transparent premieres on Amazon September 22. Seasons 1–4 of Younger are available on Hulu and TVLand.com.

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