This is in response to a few comments about today's entry in my journal.
Does an actor who portrays an evil character, who locates, unlocks and performs endemic human villany, carry it with him after he leaves the stage? Does it affect him to the point where that badness shows up in his own life? The answer is: no. Not unless he's a mad man to begin with.
Remember acting is an art form, a performing art. Does the ballerina walk around on her toes when she gets home? Does the trumpeter blow his trumpet in everyone's face as he goes about his daily life? Hardly. Acting villains is enjoyable and usually much more interesting than playing heros. Frank Langella once said that while he was playing Dracula on Broadway he would sometimes get the giggles which he then had to suppres.
Playing bad guys is also chathartic and therapeutic because it brings up all the human ungliness to turn into fiction, wash away and dissipate. I only know of one case where an actor brought a character home. A well known soap opera actress played several days as a woman with a cold. One day she noticed she had cold symptoms herself. She quickly talked herself out of them because she knew she didn't have a cold, only her character did.
Some people say that a person would have to be crazy to be an actor. I suppose that's true. But it's a different kind of insanity. It's positive, self fulfilling and not destructive.