Excerpt from the interview with Elaine Hendrix for the documentary Beyond Belief,
Jim Holzknecht asks Elaine about the biggest lessons she learned from the film What the Bleep Do We Know, how she got into acting and how she was able to find and pursue her passion.
What were your biggest ah ha moments while working on What the Bleep Do We Know?
Well one thing I learned that was actually pretty shocking to me was how our emotions are chemical reactions and we can become addicted to them. I found that particularly interesting because I’m in a career that deals all about emotions and recreating emotions and making emotions very really in a scene for a movie and telling a story so I found that particularly interesting.
For me, a lot of my work is mastering my emotions and learning that they are chemical, they are tied to my thoughts and they don’t have to run the show. There is a great slogan that I love that I say all the time, ‘feelings aren’t facts.’ I pretty much live my life by that. I recognize feelings. I recognize emotions. I listen to them as messengers., very powerful messengers but the are not the end all be all.”
How did you end up becoming an actor?
I was a dancer. I got hit by a car. It’s not that I couldn’t dance anymore, it is just that it became so painful to dance that it wasn’t as worth it. It didn’t curtail my love for dance and it didn’t curtail my love for the core of what it was. To me dance is about creativity. I was able to identify that and that it wasn’t exactly dance itself but it was the feelings and the art of what dance really is which is about expression and about freedom and movement, and fluidity.
I identified with so many of the qualities of dance that I thought dance really isn’t such a viable option for me right now but I can still find those qualities in other things. For me, it was also about that it needed to be something creative, so I then found acting. I’ve learned how to express and find fluidity and freedom and the very same things that I had in dance, I also had in acting.
The key to that though is I just didn’t stop. I wasn’t like, ‘oh, I can’t dance that’s it.’ If you take that route, well then what? Well the then what is you are just playing victim to the circumstance instead of choosing to live life with passion and enthusiasm.
So, identify the qualities of what it is that your purpose is about because the package that it comes in, I don’t think really matters so much. That’s why I do so many things and I, knock on wood, have had so much success because I identify the qualities of the creative arts, of the expression, of the freedom, of joy and passion.
For me, I happen to like even the inconsistency of my career. I happen to like not having a nine to five job, of never knowing what’s going to happen next. So I identify the qualities and I go for those more so than any specific picture of what I think those qualities should be.”