This weekend in London, Julianne Moore sat down for an inspired chat in front of a few hundred folks at the London Film Festival. There promoting both Tom Ford’s “A Single Man” and Atom Egoyan’s “Chloe,” Moore and moderator Briony Hanson (of London’s The Script Factory) talked about everything from those films to her previous work to her thoughts about aging to her tendency to work with queer filmmakers. So, in the vein of a piece indieWIRE ran a few months back on another (often) redheaded queer icon, we’ve decided to pick out some highlights from the talk in listed form. Here, in no particular order, are ten of the many facts that we learned about Ms. Moore in London:
1. Her character in “A Single Man” was inspired by Tom Ford’s grandmother.
“He had a very glamorous grandmother,” Moore said of Ford. “She lived in Santa Fe. When I went for my first costume fitting, he was very specific about the dress. He pulled out quite a few options, but when he whipped out this one dress, and I put it on, he was like, “That’s the dress.” And the dress had come from a vintage store in Santa Fe, where his grandmother lived. So he got very emotional and said he could not believe the dress I was going to wear was from there. But, yeah, she had the hair and the makeup and the jewelry, and was it fun… So that’s where a lot of that came from.”
2. She admits to many failed projects, but stands firmly behind Fernando Meirelles’ “Blindness.”
“‘Blindness’ is a movie that people just hammered to death,” Moore said quite passionately. “I feel like, it came out in the United States the day after the Lehman Brothers collapse. No one wanted to see a movie about the end of the world. And at Cannes, they had the screening for the journalists at 8 o’clock in the morning on the day they arrived. And everyone wanted to see ‘Kung Fu Panda.’ I’m not kidding. So people were pissed! They didn’t want to see that. This movie is challenging. It’s a very impressionistic take. Fernando Meirelles wanted to give the audience the sensation of being blind. There are some beautiful things he did with it. So, yes, I stand by that movie absolutely.”
3. Todd Haynes refused to look at her pregnant belly while they shot “Far From Heaven.”
“I had to tell Todd I was pregnant just before we started shooting” she said. “He was great about it, but the one thing he would do as I got bigger and bigger was that he’d never look down. I’d show up on the set and he’d be like [she looks up and imitates his rather droll voice], ‘hi, how are you!? You look great… You look wonderful today.’ He wouldn’t ever look down.”
4. Haynes and her never really talk.
“At my audition for ‘Safe,’ I was like ‘okay, I’m going to read the first scene,” she explained. “And he was like [in another Todd Haynes voice imitation] ‘okay.’ And I finished it, and he went ‘okay.’ And then I said I was doing the second scene and he said ‘okay.’ And I said ‘okay.’ So I read it and he said ‘okay… bye.’ And that’s what we continue to do. Even on ‘Far From Heaven,’ we had a read through early on and I said to him, ‘okay, listen, I feel like I can hear something in my head and I want to make sure I’m on the right track, so before we talk about anything, let’s just see if it’s alright.’ So I did it and he was like ‘yeah, that’s right.’ That was it. So, yeah, we don’t really talk a whole lot.”
5. She does not believe there is a downside to awards attention.
“Noooo,” she yelped when moderator Briony Hanson asked if getting awards attention had a downside. “Are you kidding? It helps you get another job! Bring it on! You’re like, ‘thank you.’ It’s great.”
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6. Though she did see a downside to getting nominated twice in one year (as she did in 2002 for “Far From Heaven” and “The Hours”).
“Obviously it’s nothing to sneeze at,” she said of the double nomination. “But in that same way that every film is your baby… you like each one to have its moment. So when you have two at the same time, it’s like having twins. It probably would be nicer to be able to focus on one or the other but, you know, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, as they say.”
7. She’s not afraid of aging.
“I’ve been asked about aging in Hollywood since I started,” Moore said. “I think because I started making movies when I was 30 or 31. So the first question out of everybody’s mouth is ‘what does it feel like to be an older actress working in Hollywood.’ And I keep getting it. And my answer to it always has been that you can’t be anywhere except where you are. I’m 48. I’m going to be 48 until I’m not anymore and then I’ll be 49. And if I spend all my time at 48 wishing that I was 35, I’m not going to experience 48. And I’m not going to play parts I played at 31 either. It’s not going to happen. So I feel like as far as aging is concerned for anybody in their life, at any point… you have to go, ‘this is where I am today, and appreciate it.’ Because none of it lasts very long.”
8. She has a theory as to why she’s attracted to queer projects, and why queer projects are attracted to her.
After moderator Hanson suggested she was “cat nip” to queer directors (to which Moore exclaimed, “they’re not alll gay,”) Moore gave her thoughts on her status as a sort of ‘queer icon,’ considering her working relationships with filmmakers like Todd Haynes, Tom Kalin and now, Tom Ford (“they’re all named Tom or Todd,” Hanson joked, to which Moore replied “or Stephen!”).
“I’ll kind of espouse a queer theory kind of thing,” she said. “I’ll see if I’m right about this. But I think that in a lot of my movies, there’s been a very dramatic and a very human element, and there’s been somebody who feels like they don’t belong. They don’t fit in, and there’s something in them that wants to change or be seen. I think that in terms of the queer experience, traditionally – though I think less so now – I think a lot of people grow up feeling invisible. So, in terms of the queer audience, they’re looking at an actor or a character that’s expressing what they’re feeling. Not to be simplistic about it…”
9. Moore cautions a previous statement she’d made where she said that she makes some films “to pay her mortgage.”
“That sounds like a horrific statement,” Moore said when Hanson quoted her. “Because I’ve also been really pleased and happy doing the more commercial work that I’ve done. I’ve worked with people like Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott and Ivan Reitman. Directors that are really talented and interesting but just happen to be making great big movies. So it’s nothing to sneeze at, but you also have to, as an actor, work within the range of films that are out there. It’s like, if you ate tomatoes every day, you’re like ‘okay, enough tomatoes. I can’t stand it anymore.’ So I think it’s that way with anything we do in our lives. You want to have some variety, and some different experiences.”
10. But she admits that they do pay the mortgage, and allow her to make smaller films.
“There’s this misnomer about actors that whatever we do we get paid for,” she said. “I made a movie this summer with Lisa Cholodenko [‘The Kids Are Alright’]. And it actually cost me money. Because you have to uproot your whole family. So some movies allow you to have a career and a regular job. And some movies you just do because you want to do them, but you’re not getting paid. It’s all part of a whole thing. And I’ve been super, super fortunate that I’ve had varied opportunities.”