(soft humming) (soft humming continues) - For me, something that is the foundation of all of the acting work I do is Alexander and that's the technique that you see pop up in a lot of therapy, a lot of physical rehabilitation, music training, and it's very much about your physical form.
Finding a way to be balanced, to be centered.
And it also lends itself well to creating a home base for your psyche, within your own body, coming back to a neutral stance, coming back to an aligned, grounded, calm place.
Your brain knows you're acting.
Your brain knows it's not real.
Your body doesn't.
It brings you home.
'Cause sometimes when you're playing these characters, you can get pretty far out there.
(soft music) My name's Lily Gladstone.
(laughs) I think, most of the time my name's Lily Gladstone.
I am from Browning, East Glacier, Montana from the Blackfeet Reservation and I'm a professional actress.
♪ Ooh ♪ ♪ Ooh ♪ - And now we're on my res.
(honks) (soft music) Oh, look at the clouds!
Look at Chief Mountain right now.
Oh, I'm home!
I always kind of grew up with a certainty that this is what I'd be doing with my life because my dad always spoke of it as a certainty.
It's like this is what I was good at, this is what I loved to do.
He just said it with such certainty and I was young enough to just believe him.
Oh your nose is split too.
Other than that, you don't look half bad.
I feel like it's the kind of thing that you meet halfway because I love it and I always kind of direct my life toward it.
But it also has to love you, it also has to choose you.
It also has to keep demanding that you show up for it.
'Cause there've been several times where I've thought of walking away from acting altogether.
'Cause it's not easy, you're at the whims of what the work is.
I mean, I expected if I was gonna do this as a career or if I wanted to pursue acting, I would be spending most of my time cashiering or waiting tables or something like that.
And really it was only the first handful of years that I supplemented cashiering.
But most of my income since I've been a professional has been from acting, which is wild.
(laughs) Acting is something that you really surrender a lot of your life to if you love it and wanna do it.
And there've been periods of time where I haven't always been comfortable with that but just the motion of how those things are, every time I feel like it doesn't want me anymore and I'm ready to walk away from it, then the big job calls, that's been pretty consistent.
(gasps) - Holy (beep).
I'm good at rising to occasion, I'm good at stepping into form, I'm good at collaborating, I'm good at meeting the process halfway, which is part of what working with other creatives is about.
And then that was also reinforced by people from our community.
So it's one of the big reasons I ran back to Montana.
It's just the only place that I felt encouraged to act.
(soft music) (soft singing) (soft music) (soft singing) (soft music) Spread out and just make sure you're not touching who you're next.
You can step a little bit towards me, AJ?
All right, good morning everybody.
My name's Lily Gladstone, I'm a professional actress.
I grew up in Browning, in East Glacier and then moved to Seattle when I was in middle school.
And I came back to Missoula, Montana, went to college there, studied theater and left Missoula about five years ago and I've just been bouncing all over the country doing different projects since then.
So yeah, first thing in the morning, I'm still kind of stiff and tired.
And one of the most important things about being an actor is being in touch with what your body's doing.
So you kind of start your day accepting what you've got.
But the way that I work and the way that I was taught to work in school.
I think the arts in general can be a fairly solitary, individual experience.
For me, one of the things that's keeping me in it now is just the continual positive reinforcement from my community.
You know, Blackfeet community, Indian country at large, and especially kids.
Find yourself and circle again.
A way that I sustained a love of acting when it was slow for me was helping teach it and encourage it out of others.
Not everybody who studies acting or takes an acting class ends up becoming an actor but it does teach you how to stand stronger on your own two feet, how to speak more clearly, how to articulate yourself and your presence more.
It it gives you a sense of autonomy of your own story.
(foot stomps) - Who's that?
(beep) (laughs) - We don't drink anymore, remember?
- [Student 1] That's right innit, I forgot.
Get me a Coke then.
- That was like 200% better.
Both of you are doing a really good job trying to be respectful of each other's lines and get it correctly.
I care less about the fact that you're driving backwards.
You know, that's incidental.
I just care about what this friendship is and you found that really easily.
That was really nice toward the end.
On this next pass through, find some more moments that are maybe not in the script, like.
Indian youth, more than anybody need to feel that sense of I have something to say.
My voice matters.
Modern colonized society doesn't want us to be empowered, doesn't want us to stand firmly in our own two feet, especially in communities like Browning.
(soft music) Stories are so central to our culture and our understanding of the world.
I find myself constantly confronting the perception that I'm not really an actor, which in a way is a compliment.
Here I am.
(laughs) I was born for this.
Because I think a lot of times if you're not somebody who's a filmmaker, if you're not a director, if you're not somebody who's used to working with the craft and you see somebody just doing the thing, it looks easy.
You know, I think "Certain Women", a lot of people had the perception, I was just a Montana Ranch hand that happened to be natural on film but that was very, very concentrated character work that I did every day for two months leading up to walking on set.
That was a character I stepped in and out of that had a very strong physical map that was not mine.
It's really hard doing non-verbal acting.
When you're on cameras, you always have to be very, very present.
You know when you're watching it as the audience, you're seeing the frame, you're seeing what's happening in it.
Where I'm sitting, I'm seeing Brooke, I'm seeing camera, I'm seeing sound, I'm seeing this light, I'm hearing the clock ticking.
There's a bunch of stuff in my view that I have to just space out.
Acting is something where I've sacrificed a good period of my life, sacrificed any semblance of security.
And that's the breaking point.
I mean, it's almost broken me several times but you have to be a little bit tortured and haunted by it.
(claps) Good for that.
I was expressing a little bit of anxiety about this rising star that somehow I'm stuck to, that I'm latched to, like it's got its own trajectory and I'm kind of along for the ride.
There's a sense of losing some autonomy in that.
There's a sense of getting lost in it.
And I already went through it a little bit.
(photographers shout) - [Photographer] Lily, straight ahead.
Nope, right here, there it is.
- [Photographer] Lily, smile right here, Lily.
- So we interviewed you last year for "Certain Women".
- Yes you did.
- You're back, we're excited.
- I am super excited to be back at Sundance, it's lucky.
Sundance, Toronto, Sundance again, it's the best film festivals, it's really exciting.
Like "Certain Women" is, it's such a beautiful film and it hit filmmakers, it hit people who love film, it hit people who watch film the same way that I watch film.
So there was buzz around it, there were nominations, there was the promise of, or the possibility of some big nominations beyond the critics circles.
There was a lot of flashing cameras, there were a lot of red carpets.
There were a lot of things I was not used to, and it was ungrounding, it was kind of scary.
So just inherently, you know that the audience has a perception of you and your work that is theirs, it's not yours.
It's really none of your business how the audience takes your work.
So I always find it really intriguing even though it's frustrating in some ways, especially when you're being thrown into the industry and you become a marketable product for somebody, you know, your awards, recognition, any nominations, your reviews, all of that makes you part of the marketing package.
Really "Killers of the Flower Moon", coming out I know is gonna be my introduction to a lot of people, 'cause not everybody watches independent film.
I had auditioned for "Killers of the Flower Moon".
Ellen Lewis, Martin Scorsese's casting director, had gone through the process, had really good feedback.
COVID happened, I heard rumors about the project and then it had been long enough that I was just like, oh, it didn't go my way, I'll let it go.
Kind of one of those moments where I'd more decidedly started trying to walk away from even the arts altogether.
It pulled me back in.
On Molly Burkhart's birthday, even though they didn't know that, I was offered the role.
(dramatic music) Teachers, we have a runner.
I repeat teachers, we have a runner.
Rarely do I find a native character that's allowed to just be on screen as a human being, (sighs) with wants, with fears, with nuance, with complexity, without them saying something about basically a Western perspective on colonization.
I feel like a lot of what I strive for in my work is about having a strong sense of self as an individual is a good starting point.
But it is the starting point, it's not the end point.
(soft music) (soft music continues) (sighs) ♪ I prefer the sound of an old wind song ♪ ♪ I prefer the sound of an old wind song ♪ ♪ Ooh ♪ ♪ Ooh ♪ ♪ Ooh ♪ (soft music) (clapperboard claps) (soft music) (soft music continues)