What Makes A Character Boring? by West Liang
Film Courage: What do you think makes a boring character to you?
West Liang: I think a character with no inner life. I think for me if some character has some inner life (if that makes sense). Whether that inner life is subtext or whether that inner life is in conflict with his public life or her public life. That’s interesting to me. I think it really depends on the kind of story that it is.
To make the comparison of making a meal. I think every meal is different and it commands a different kind of ingredient. I certainly don’t feel like I have all the answers by any means. For me, I’m still trying to figure things out on my own. And I’m trying to figure things out based on my own kind of sensibilities, my own way of writing. I think having some kind of life…what about you?
Film Courage: I’m even thinking of a movie that was light and fluffy like LEGALLY BLONDE. It was still interesting (her character). You want to see her [win]. She doesn’t get easily taken aback by all these jabs that are thrown her way. And you’re like “Wow, that’s kind of interesting?” She keeps being light, bubbly and happy when most people would be giving them [her detractors] the middle finger after awhile, you know? [Laughs]. And so [as the viewer] you’re like “Wow? I find her interesting.” That’s kind of a light and fun film but there is still a message behind it. It’s a studio film that wasn’t boring. It was interesting enough to keep my attention and I’m sure a lot of other people’s, as well.
“If there is something about that person where what he or she is doing in front of people is different from what they’re doing behind-the-scenes, for me that’s interesting.”
West Liang: I mean it’s an incredibly crafted screenplay. On a plot level in terms of where things happen in terms of having this first kind of pre-life and how that changes and inciting incidents and all that stuff.
But you look at her character [Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods] and she’s battling again expectations of her, that people have with who she might be and what her inner life might be. There are plot-driven stories and there are character-driven stories and I think they sort of overlap in a lot of areas, but generally speaking if you’re talking about a character for me, if there is something about that character that tells me that either that person isn’t telling everything about his life or her life. Or there is something about that person where what he or she is doing in front of people is different from what they’re doing behind-the-scenes, for me that’s interesting.
Question for the Viewers: What makes a character interesting to you?
Watch the video interview on Youtube here
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