Riley Keough Says 'It Would Be Very Unhealthy' to Incorporate Her Personal Grief Into Her Acting Performances

Riley Keough is deliberate about not letting her personal grief impact her onscreen performances — even if she's had experiences similar to her characters

Published Time: 02.06.2024 - 23:31:08 Modified Time: 02.06.2024 - 23:31:08

Riley Keough is deliberate about not letting her personal grief impact her onscreen performances — even if she's had experiences similar to her characters.

The actress, 35, opened up about why she maintains strict boundaries between her characters' emotions and her private, personal emotions during a conversation with Jena Malone about her Hulu limited series Under the Bridge at the "An Evening with Joey King & Riley Keogh" event in Los Angeles on Saturday, June 1.

In the series, which premiered on April 17, Keough plays late author Rebecca Godfrey, who wrote a book about the 1997 murder of 14-year-old Reena Virk. Virk was invited to a party by her peers in Victoria, British Columbia, where she was beaten and subsequently killed.

Per The New York Times, Godfrey, who died in 2022 at the age of 54, had a brother named Jonathan who died when he was 16 and she was 13 after he "fell from a bluff near their home and drowned."

Keough's brother Benjamin died by suicide in 2020, years before her mother Lisa Marie Presley's death in 2023 from complications after surgery. She told Malone, 39, that she kept her own experiences with death and loss as separate as she could from her portrayal of Godfrey onscreen.

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"I don’t typica -

lly use my own life in my acting career because I think I would be insane," the Daisy Jones & the Six star said in response to a question about whether her brother's death, in particular, affected her acting method.

"I think it would be very unhealthy for me personally," she added, while noting that it works for other actors.

Keough continued: "I really try and protect myself — it's a hard job because you're going to work and having to be extremely vulnerable and raw."

The Zola star explained that the difficulty of feeling deep emotions onscreen is exacerbated by the fact that actors often have to perform the same scene over and over again for different takes.

Keough said that she focuses on being in the "headspace of the character," before detailing how she and Rebecca experienced grief differently.

"She has a lot of anger and unresolved emotions," Keough said of her character, noting that her personal experience with grief "didn't totally apply" to her job while working on Under the Bridge.

All eight episodes of Under the Bridge are available to stream on Hulu now.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or go to

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