Melissa Leo Says She's Not the 'Instigator' of Her Work

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The actress isn't as bold about taking control of her career as some of her fellow stars

Academy Award-winner Melissa Leo has worked steadily for three decades in Hollywood, but she often lets directors make the first move. 

"We are not instigators of our own work," Leo told The Hollywood Reporter about her career survival strategy.

You won't find Leo putting pen to paper or producing a movie like other stars to take control of her career.

"I have to wait until a script is packaged and someone has found the money and there's a director that would like Melissa Leo in that role," she insisted.  

Once on set, Leo insists she then revels in the collaboration between actors, a director and producers. 

And she rarely turns down a part: "98% of the time I have not said no. I've just gone and did the work."

The self-effacing actress, who earned a supporting actress Oscar for The Fighter, is busy starring in the Fox event series Wayward Pines and upcoming movies like The Angriest Man in Brooklyn and Mark Webber's indie The Ever After.

But while work is work, Leo is starting to be more discerning.

"I'm starting to take a stab at saying no, saying this is what I'm looking for. Or I will take it because if I said no, there may be no work," she explained.

Leo spoke after hosting six Canadian female screenwriters overnight at her New York state home to give feedback notes on scripts.

The Hollywood actress at the 2013 Whistler Film Festival accepted a challenge by Canadian filmmaker Ingrid Veninger and her inaugural Punk Films Femmes Lab to help finance the six filmmakers completing their indie movie scripts in six months before they were critiqued.

Leo praised the Canadian screenwriting bootcamp and expects to do more artistic collaborations.

"The writer and the blank page is the most extraordinary first step in what I do," she insisted.