Julianne Moore on Maisie, Carrie, and Sarah Palin

The star tells me about being in all of the movies, period

Does Julianne Moore seek out all those aggressively eccentric parts she does so well, or do they just land in her lap courtesy of some avant-garde delivery service? That's one of the questions I was burning to ask the four-time Oscar nominee, who's long been one of the more eclectic presences to put a charge into our artistic landscape, as her career spans big-budget films, labors of love, and cable TV. Her newest film is the ethereal What Maisie Knew, reimagined from the Henry James novel about a child caught in a custody battle, with Julianne as a misguided mama who's only good behind a microphone. Julianne, it turns out, can articulate her feelings under any circumstance. Here's what Mikey learned.

Hi, Julianne. You made your somewhat obnoxious character way more understandable than most people could have managed. I feel intention is everything and nobody means to be mean. She's not capable of communicating any way except for her music.

Maybe she should just sing to her daughter. Did you like the way the film was adapted from Henry James? It's very loosely adapted. People have a tendency to think of broken families as modern, but obviously there have been lots of iterations of that theme throughout history. It's sad that it has that much elasticity — you can set it in any time period.

Do you seek out these types of offbeat roles or do they just come to you? They come to me somehow. But it's what I'm interested in, too. I read this script and said, "Ha! I haven't done this before." Not just somebody who's a bad mother, which is dull as an idea, but somebody connected to their career as a musician.

Did you learn anything about parenting from this movie? Hell, no! I am a parent. I've been doing it for 15 years. My oldest child is 15 and a half. My husband and I were just talking about how great our kids are. I've learned on the actual job, and hopefully my parenting doesn't bear any resemblance to that.

We'll wait for the tell-all. Funny. [laughs]

You often travel between quirky indies and Hollywood big stuff. Fun? It's a pattern in my career where I've done a more commercial movie, then an independent thing. For one thing, it's a necessity because you don't make a living in independent film. But I love my experiences.

And you have a lot of them. You have five more movies coming out this year. You're the new Jessica Chastain. That's funny. You never have any control [over release dates]. I literally have three movies opening on the same day in October. I thought, "Are you kidding me?" In Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Don Jon, I play a lady he meets at night school.

And you're mama Margaret White in the Carrie remake. Is she the bible-thumping crazy lady we expect? She's the same character that you read in the book. I don't think anybody could be better than Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie. Rather than take it from that movie, we looked at the book and based it on that. It's so much about that mother-daughter relationship and what that mother believed she was protecting her from. Of course [Margaret] was terribly abusive, but she believed she was protecting [Carrie] from the world at large.

Shades of Maisie's well-intentioned but bad mother? Don't even go there. That's only two of the five, by the way.

I know! You're not being typed! You were superb as a good mother in The Kids Are All Right, by the way. Thank you very much. It's such a wonderful exploration of a relationship. When Lisa [Cholodenko] wrote the end of it, I thought, "That last line!" Laser [the son] says, "I don't think you guys should break up. You're too old." At the end of the day, with a long-term relationship, love is time invested. It's a huge portion of your life.

When you played short-term candidate Sarah Palin in Game Change, was that another case of playing the intention rather than the perception? You always have to examine the humanity in everybody you play. Just because they don't share the same beliefs as you doesn't mean you should caricature them. There were so many expectations since I was playing a very present person in the culture. And the experience of doing it was so satisfying. It was a great place to go to work every day.

Were there any Republicans in the cast? No, but we did have Republican advisors.

You're one of the most present people in the culture yourself. You and your family regularly walk the streets of New York with a wonderfully natural attitude. Do people's eyes pop out? People in New York are great. A lot of people smile and say hello. A lot of people won't say anything. Or you don't think someone knows you, then they say, "I really like your work." You only get people who want to take your picture in midtown. What I like about this town is everybody does everything. It's not a special thing to be an actor in New York. There are certainly other more interesting people.

Like directors! Anyway, thank you, Julianne. See you at the indie-plex.

Read more Michael Musto at La Dolce Musto

musto@villagevoice.com

 
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12 comments
maggyklum
maggyklum

everything Sarah says and does has a strategy to it. She's an actress.

maggyklum
maggyklum

Obama’s not president and wasn’t “reelected.” Government staged a Coup and is using the media along with online commenting for an illegal war on.  This secret war began with the first election in 2008.  There’s a reason why Sarah Palin dropped out of the 2012 race and chose the same day as Steve Jobs death to announce it. Sarah Palin also stayed 40 miles away from the media during the debates and wasn’t at the Republic National Convention.  She is now dodging public events. She can only appear at events which are heavily controlled since the truth leaked out. Search Sarah Palin’s dirty little secret and learn what our government is desperately trying to cover up.

williamHK
williamHK

is it "The Myth of Fingerprints" where she makes her entrance shtupping some stranger on a train?

Gatsby
Gatsby

Julianne Moore was so hot when she was younger. There is nothing good about growing old.

QuineGeology
QuineGeology

Julianne Moore has got to be the snottiest, most conceited, intellectually bankrupt, elitist twit in Hollyweird.  To have cast her to play Sarah Palin is like an insulting joke.  Nobody in the real world (i.e. outside of Hollyweird and New Yuck) takes anything this moron says or does seriously, nor did anybody watch "Game Change", which was laughably fictionalized even by Hollyweird's standards.  To even think that bony, freckly, pasty-skinned, mealy-mouthed Moore could even spit-shine Sarah Palin's high heels goes to show you how unimaginative, warped and out-of-touch Hollyweird producers and casting agents really are.  Julianne, keep plying your trade - you have a long ways to go before you achieve anything resembling talent, despite all the kudos and air kisses your phony colleagues and the lying media shower you with.  Meanwhile, I'll keep my eyes on Sarah  Palin, the one with real star wattage, influence and charisma.   

williamHK
williamHK

It is!  That movie is from 1997?  God it seems newer.  But I also like her in Altman's "Short Cuts" where the carpet matches the drapes!

notwillshakespeare
notwillshakespeare

@QuineGeology Julianne Moore is one of the top five actresses of my lifetime. She has more talent in her little finger than the plastic Palin has in her entire family - er, body. Your pathetic diatribe certainly doesn't harm Ms. Moore. The fact that you also worship Sarah Palin comes as no great surprise after reading your long and hateful paragraph. Ick. I think I need a shower.

karenann
karenann

Well, Quine -- you do have this in common with Sarah:  You don't know how to do anything but call other people names.  Not very productive if you ask me, and certainly a sign of someone who lacks maturity, not to mention intellect. 

msizelove
msizelove

@QuineGeology "Meanwhile, I'll keep my eyes on Sarah  Palin, the one with real star wattage, influence and charisma." Don't blink, doll. And let us know how her fitness DVD is... what with all that "real star wattage"n'all.

powerfulnewyear
powerfulnewyear

@QuineGeology Grow the hell up, sound like a two year.  Calling Julianne Moore names is so childish.  Sarah Palin is a grown wonman who can talk for herself.  There are mor important things to worry in life.  You need to live in the real world!!!!!

 
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