July 24, 2012

I am always surprised by the new insights I receive from the award-winning and long-running CBS News television show 60 Minutes.

I was never so surprised, however, than when a recent interview with Glenn Close revealed her naturalness for candid conversation. As a fan of her classic performance as the bunny-boiling lover to Michael Douglas in the movie Fatal Attraction, I was eager to hear this report.

CBS’ Anthony Mason interviewed Close at length about her acting career, her regrets and celebrations and particularly how she got her start in show business.

She related that as an aspiring actor she went to one of her first tryouts for a part on the New York stage. As an unknown, Close attended a 1982 off-Broadway audition, hoping to be cast in the role of Albert Nobbs. She wanted to portray a woman who is disguised as this man in the play called The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs (the basis for the 2011 movie Albert Nobbs also starring Glenn Close).

Close described the time she thought she had flunked this critical audition:

“I was never very good at auditioning. And it’s tricky to go in and for five minutes play this woman who has been invisible as a man.

I stopped the audition and said ‘I’m boring myself so I must be boring you. I’m going to go home.’

My agent called the next day and said they told him it was the most interesting thing that happened all day. So, they wanted me to come back.”

She won the part. The first of many parts, on stage and in such iconic movies as The World According to Garp, The Big Chill, The Natural, 101 Dalmatians , and the TV Show Damages.

When Close spoke about how boring she thought she was, she anticipated that she had lost the part. In fact, her candor caused her to win the role she desired. In my years studying the phenomenon of being forthright, this result from candor happens more often than you would think.

Close’s example is yet another case where being forthright brings a great outcome. A lesson from a now-multiple Oscar award nominee, winner of three Emmys and three Tonys. Oh, and did you know? A College of William and Mary theater major.