Regina King Shares Differences Between Working in Front of and Behind the Camera

During THR's annual Drama Actress Roundtable, the 'American Crime' star says she's a more sensitive director because of her work as an actor.

Actress and director Regina King (American Crime, The Leftovers) said that she has become a more amenable actor on set after working as a director during The Hollywood Reporter's Drama Actress Emmy Roundtable. As an actor, said King, "You have thoughts and ideas about where this character is in this moment, in this scene." But now, after directing, King comes on set asking, "Where do you want me?" rather than exploring in character.

Her roundtable counterparts, which include TV drama heavyweights such as Fargo's Kirsten Dunst and Scandal's Kerry Washington, said that most directors don't give them anything to work with, particularly, positive reinforcement.

"It's not like we want praise," said King, "but as an actress you want to hear something."

"Direction!" the women asserted.

King described the best directors as "ones that actually inspire something in you." Adding, "You've had a thought, you've been working on these lines, you've done all your research, you've built your backstory as an actor, and those directors that can still come and tell you something and you go, 'Oh, wow.'"

When THR asked King about her ABC series American Crime, the actress said she hasn't learned a lot from her character in particular, but she has learned from her collaborators: "The story that's being told has taught me something about people."

"With American Crime especially," she says, "there are so many conversations going on within our own households, [and] we don't know other people's experience. Just how much we don't know about each other is amazing to me."

More roundtables featuring comedy actresses, comedy and drama actors and reality hosts and producers will roll out throughout June in print and online. Tune in to new episodes of Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter starting June 26 on SundanceTV. And look for clips at THR.com/roundtables starting May 16, with full episodes on THR.com after broadcast.

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