On May 5, 2017, Sally Field gave a talk at The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute. After working and training with Lee Strasberg, The Method has been instrumental to her life and career.
Sally Field broke out into the industry at an early age. At just seventeen, she was as the titular character in the popular television series Gidget and, soon after, The Flying Nun. Despite her success, Field become quite uninspired and lost faith in her own acting abilities. “I had no tools to be working on, but I was utterly alive because [on stage is] where I lived,” she explained. After having a breakdown on the set of The Flying Nun, she was directed by a fellow actor to the Actors Studio in Los Angeles. There, she met and performed for Lee Strasberg.
“Lee turned to me and he asked me, ‘Why are you here?’ My heart fell out of my body because I was so scared he was going to tell me I didn’t belong, that I wasn’t wanted. I went, ‘I want to be an actor,’ and he said, ‘You are an actor. You work all the time.’ I said, ‘Yes, but not how I want to work. I want to know how to be an actor.'”Sally Field
She continued taking classes with Lee until his death in 1982. According to Field, Lee Strasberg and The Method changed both her acting and her life. On working at the Actors Studio, she recalled, “I heard Lee’s words: Where you want to be is where you are right now.” She recognizes that an actor’s training is never complete and the necessity of continued work on your craft.
Throughout the talk, Field shared anecdotes from her own life, gave insight on her acting and audition processes, and detailed the demands of the industry. She took the audience through the stages of her career and shared how The Method allowed her to prove herself as a serious film actor. On tackling challenging roles, she urged the audience, “You fucking take that role and you own it… Say, ‘I own it. I worked for it. I deserve it.'”
Want more? See the front desk to reserve the Hope Arthur library and watch the entirety of the Sally Field StrasbergTALK.