Jamie Lee Curtis Says 1 Word From 'The Bear' Star Changed Her Entire Performance

Jamie Lee Curtis is widely considered an Emmy front-runner following her guest appearance on “The Bear,” but she seemingly credits the strength of her performance to one of the Hulu series’ principal stars.

In a Vanity Fair piece published online Tuesday, Curtis recalled how Ayo Edebiri influenced her Season 2 portrayal of Donna Berzatto, the alcoholic and emotionally volatile mother of chef Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto (Jeremy Allen White), with a single word.

“We were sitting on a staircase together talking about loving the work of an actor, but also the work of the director,” the Oscar winner explained.

When Edebiri asked Curtis how she likes to be directed, her response was straightforward: “I’m not an intellectual, so I don’t need a lot of words; you could just whisper in my ear a color, which would then change my performance.”

Jamie Lee Curtis, left, and Ayo Edebiri are set to co-star in the comedy
Jamie Lee Curtis, left, and Ayo Edebiri are set to co-star in the comedy "Ella McCay." Getty Images

Edebiri kept that in mind as she shadowed the director of the much-buzzed-about “Fishes” episode, during which Donna experiences an emotional outburst while sitting down for a Christmas Eve dinner with her family.

Between takes, Curtis said, Edebiri whispered to her, “purple.”

“What purple meant was ‘wound,’” she noted, “that color that a wound turns. That was a very intimate moment between she and I—I believe that’s the take they used in the show. It was incredible.”

Curtis and Edebiri are now set to appear together in “Ella McCay,” a new comedy that also stars Emma Mackey, Woody Harrelson and Kumail Nanjiani, among others.

In her own chat with Vanity Fair, Edebiri cited Curtis as the type of actor she’d like to become as her career evolves.

“They’re not settled and they’re not bored,” she explained. “That makes me feel very heartened because I hope that when I am at that stage of my life, if I’m so lucky to have that, that I still am searching and questioning and excited.”

The premiere season of “The Bear” nabbed six awards at the most recent Emmy Awards, tying it with HBO’s “Succession.” The culinary drama’s third season is set to debut June 27 on Hulu.

Watch Jamie Lee Curtis in “The Bear” below.