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The key to a good interview? Knowing your subject.

As tabloids are so fond of proving, there's an all-too-human side to everyone living in the spotlight. Yet most actors overwhelmingly prefer to talk about their "craft" in serious interview situations, forgetting that audiences may care far more about connecting with some semblance of humanity captured on the screen than about how working with so-and-so was, like, really cool and fun to do. Saturday's conversation with Marquee Award winner and Choke star Anjelica Houston was an inspired balance of both, largely thanks to the questions of 82-year-old Lillian Ross, staff writer for The New Yorker and author of Picture, which chronicled the making of John Huston's The Red Badge of Courage. With red sunglasses and a cane, Ross had to be helped on and off of the stage, but having known Anjelica "since before she was born," she made the hour not only deeply personal but also epic in its scope. With standing ovations, applause breaks and frequent rounds of laughter, it was a welcome reminder that everyone essentially is their interpersonal relationships, and that translating those experiences into honest performances is what good—and lasting—acting is all about.

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Julie Seabaugh

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