Jessica Lange on Acting: "It Is So Seductive. It's Like a Love Affair"

"There's something really alive about [acting], and you feel great and it's physical, and it's all these things, and then you remember why you were doing it to begin with."

"I've been in the process of retiring for the last 30 years," says Jessica Lange during The Hollywood Reporter's Drama Actress Roundtable. "I think maybe there is a finite time. I think maybe there is an expiration date, but the thing about acting is, it is so seductive. It's like a love affair," explains the two-time Oscar winner.

"There's something really alive about [acting], and you feel great and it's physical, and it's all these things, and then you remember why you were doing it to begin with. And it can still seduce you — even after 40 years" (the amount of time Lange has been performing).

She currently stars in Ryan Murphy's American Horror Story on FX, most recently in the show's Freak Show installment. Lange describes the work on Horror Story as unpredictable, saying, "I love that kind of tornado. I love that chaos of not knowing where it's going because it forces you, I think, as an actor, to really live within the imagination rather than the idea."

For an actress who has been looking to retire, says Lange, "This way of working to has been so wild and so unstructured and so chaotic that the work itself has become more interesting within that insanity," causing her to stay in said acting love affair for another season.

She cites acting as what keeps her feeling youthful because of the imaginative state of mind necessary to be a good actor. "You're still childlike in that way of make-believe."

Lange joined fellow actresses Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Honourable Woman), Ruth Wilson (The Affair), Taraji P. Henson (Empire), Lizzy Caplan (Masters of Sex) and Viola Davis (How to Get Away With Murder) for the roundtable, where they discussed the dynamic and powerful dramatic roles currently being offered to women on television.

The full Drama Actress Roundtable aired on Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter on Sunday, Aug. 2, at 11 a.m. EST on Sundance TV. Tune in this Sunday for the next episode.

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