I find Melissa Leo to be one of the most interesting actors around. Two years ago she got a lot of shit for creating her own "For Your Consideration" ads for her role in The Fighter when she thought she wasn't get enough attention. The ads and the aftermath helped elevate her name (remember the old adage – all publicity is good) and she won a very deserved Oscar.
But the Oscar did not propel her to another level as she revealed in an interview with the LA Times to promote Treme and Flight which opens this week, about how the Oscar did not lead to her getting a single leading role.
I would say quite pointedly after an Oscar. I don't think I've played a single lead since I won an Oscar, nor have I been offered one.
But now she's got one lead under her belt. Leo recently played the lead in Francine, a small film (which played in NY and opens soon in LA) about a woman who is just out of prison and her struggle to create some semblance of a life post incarceration.
Here's what she said attracted her to the role:
Here's an actor's answer for you: really the notion to carry the film, to be the subject of the film, the lead. And the notion of working without a lot of dialogue, of being somebody who's existing within their own reality, was fascinating to me as an actor.
She also is honest about how she's not having plastic surgery
I choose not to do that because I have a great fear that it would limit my options enormously. And I think that surgery is a pretty serious undertaking, so there's the notion of any voluntary non-emergency surgery is, well, let's not get into that.
This is not to say that Leo is not working. She is. But she, like women her age, are not getting the big flashy parts. That's one of the issues about not having enough scripts for women. I would see her in anything.
Melissa Leo talks about grit and glamour (LA Times)