As I said before, first rehearsal (in this case second) is a scary one ’cause you’re going to see if your intuition which is supposed to always be right was really right on those casting days.
My goal from day one with any actor is to get them talking about their characters. First we do a simple read through. If they choose to read with intention that is their choice. The goal is to remove yourself and let them for the lack of better words – do their thing.
After they have read through, it’s important to have a list of prepared questions for them about their characters which of course I did. There is nothing worse than a director looking like they don’t know what they want – that’s game over. So from my list of questions I ask, then shut my mouth, and most importantly LET – THEM – TALK. As far as I’m concerned, the more and actor babbles about their character (in the beginning of course) the better. The reason for this is because you want to get them INVOLVED with their character. More specifically, you want them to leave the rehearsal thinking about their character. You want them to be opening the cuppord the next day and thinking ‘this is how my character would do this.’ You want them to be inside the mind of that character AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. Side note: One way I discovered useful in achieving this, is to ask the actors about the wardrobes of their actors. Everyone has got an opinion right? More to the point, everyone has got an opinion about clothing. And even more to the point, actors are intrinsically opinionated – they have to be – so they are definitely going to have something to say about their character’s clothing.
You get my point, instead of demanding too much of the actor who has a life outside of my film, by asking them to participate in creating a look for the character they go away from rehearsal with a extra seed in the mind. This all helps for the next rehearsal.