Bonnie Hunt's Bookshelf
By James Cagney
An actor I knew from Second City gave me this book when I came out to Los Angeles. It was a strange time for me because I was so grateful to land any acting job, but I'd often get frustrated with the scripts. I'd think, "People just don't talk this way." In his autobiography, the actor James Cagney explains how he adjusted dialogue because every little moment on screen meant something to him. Every little moment means a lot to me, too.
Reading about Cagney helped me muster the courage to protect the characters I portray. If I'm playing a mom, I want to make her so real and so accessible that women relate to her and aren't threatened by her image. There's so much garbage out there that I don't know how women with kids watch it. They see these perfectly skinny women with no wrinkles. I take great pride in making sure that the characters I represent have a point of view and three dimensions.