For Tobias Menzies, Acting Is All About Less Is More

Recognizing that discomfort, it would be easy to assume that Menzies is a technical actor, an analytical one, someone who doesn’t let his own emotional life seep into a character. But for Menzies, acting is a deeply personal endeavor. If he is private in his public life, he is far more open onstage.

“I certainly use a lot of myself in my work,” he said. “That’s the quickest way to make it as real as possible. If you’re using memories of your own or experiences of your own, you’re right there. So, yeah, theater has always been quite personal for me.”

Asked what memories and experiences he had used for “The Hunt,” he became understandably warier. “Being outside, trying to get in,” he said, finally. Then, on the south end of the promenade, looking out toward the Statue of Liberty, he elaborated. “I guess on the spectrum, I’m probably something of an isolate; sometimes I can be that person. So that’s been relatively straightforward to access.”

Celebrity, of course, can provide its own isolation, particularly for those like Menzies who mistrust it. It’s uncomfortable to find yourself becoming this visible, this spotlit. And that seems to have enhanced this version of “The Hunt.” “In dealing with celebrity and the way that can be toxic or even ostracizing at times, his performances is even richer now,” Goold said. “To be an outsider in a more profound way is what I perceive Tobias’s work is now.”

After “The Hunt,” Menzies will finish shooting a Formula 1 movie, opposite Brad Pitt and Javier Bardem, delayed by the writers’ and actors’ strikes. And if that sounds fairly commercial and maybe even fun (“Essentially it’s the action film,” he said, “these pirouettes of character, and then it’s more driving”), he will follow it up with a new production of the Greek tragedy “Antigone” at the National Theater, in London.

“I’m not the most strategic of actors, clearly,” he admitted. He’d made a loop of the promenade and was heading down the slope back toward St. Ann’s. “I very much orient to if the work is good enough, it will lead me to where I need to be.”

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