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Maryland Film Festival: Rodrigo Garcia -- "I Don't Rehearse"

Writer-director Rodrigo Garcia, confirmed to appear Sunday for the MFF closing-night presentation of his new film, "Mother and Child," has become renowned for deftly shaping the performances of powerhouse stars such as Kerry Washington, Naomi Watts and Annette Bening. If you haven't bought tickets to "Mother and Child," try to grab them: it features the kind of acting you'd expect to see at a repertory company that rehearses for weeks and performs together for months.

But in a conversation Wednesday, he confessed, "I hardly rehearse. Not that I have a chance to do it anyway: our budgets and schedules are usually too tight. But I prefer to rehearse as little as possible. I think a read-through is good, for everyone to hear the script and to meet and break the ice a little bit. But I'd rather just have one or two general conversations to make sure we're making the same movie. Then the actors prepare, and I see what they prepared on the set, and I react to it. Provided we agree on the  script we want to make, there is no in-depth discussion of the characters; there may be a discussion of what I was thinking about when I wrote her, or him, but I don't say he or she should be played like this, or played like that. That's the actor's business; that's what I react to. You don't want to squash the actors' imaginations by putting your voice in their heads."

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Photo by Stephen Lovekin, Getty Images

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