I have been avidly catching up on some of the In The Actor's Studio stuff recently. I find it odd that so many of the really great actors come across as very diffident (at best) or "humble".
Jim Carrey is funny (though his early life was quite tragic), whilst Johnny Depp is deeply laconic; most extraordinary is seeing cocky action hero Harrison Ford looking utterly hunted.
As someone who does occasional amateur dramatics, I find their approach interesting—and think that I understand why I have never wanted to be (despite urgings) a professional actor. The reason (other than "I enjoy my luxuries") is very simple, as it happens—and it is this...
Most of these actors talk about how they subsume themselves to the character, or the story, or whatever.
When I act, I draw on some of the emotions that I have experienced, sure. But I have always half-joked that every play in which I act is simply another chance to see DK playing DK on stage.
In other words, whilst these professional actors try to be their characters, I have always looked at my characters, found something that I identify with, and then leverage that to make the character me. I don't subsume myself to the character, I wrestle the character into the shape of me*.
And that's the difference between these professional actors and my poor attempts to entertain...
* Apart from when I played Withnail—in a stage production of Withnail and I—for which there was no effort really expended (apart from being drunk almost all the time). The only difference is that I don't share Withnail's fatalism.