After 55 films over almost 30 years, Julianne Moore is one of Hollywood's finest, most graceful actresses. Now starring alongside Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in Crazy, Stupid, Love., Ms. Moore brings yet another fine performance to her repertoire. She sat down with Buzzine and gave us some wonderful relationship advice, along with telling us about her children, and the secret to her longevity in Hollywood.
Emmanuel Itier: What was the appeal of this film?
Julianne Moore: I loved the script, I really did. It was so unusual, and to read something on the first page where the character says, “I want a divorce!” I was like: “Woo, that was bold!” It made me laugh out loud and it was really fresh, and then to have the opportunity to work with Steve Carell -- I just love him. I think he’s wonderful, and I was thrilled to get that chance.
EI: Without having done The Kids Are All Right, would you have done this role, or would you have had reservations?
JM: No, I would have done it. I don’t think it would have mattered when it came. I liked the script. I did think very much about what appeals to me at the time, and I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t have appealed to me always! [Laughs]
EI: We constantly interview actresses who say there is no work over 40, and you seem to be getting busier and busier. What is your secret, along with Meryl [Streep]?
JM: I do think luck. I feel tremendously grateful. I feel so lucky all the time to have had the opportunities that I’ve had, and that’s what I had hoped would happen when I started acting. You don’t want to fall into that ditch of not working, so I’m just trying to keep looking ahead and hope that the jobs keep coming.
EI: Do you think you’ve matured as an actress over the years? Do you think you’re a different kind of actress now?
JM: Obviously life changes you. You’re kind of the same person you were at 20, but not really because you’ve had so many different experiences that you just have a different outlook about everything. I know, for me -- and they always say this to you when you’re younger and you never believe it -- that process is the most important thing, and the journey – what you’re actually experiencing in the moment is really all you have. I don’t think you fully understand that until you’re middle-aged. Then you go: “Oh, I get it.” Life evaporates. At a certain point, you realize that there is not a whole lot of time, so you had better be present. You'd better like the process. That really is it. That is the reward. It’s the job, the work, the moment, the child, the relationship. All that stuff -- it’s not about where you’re going to take that thing -- where that thing is going to go, where it leads to, the pot of gold, the award, the whatever…it’s about that actual experience. I think I understand that much more than I did when I was younger, and that has changed me a lot as an actor.
EI: The directors say that, with you, they know you’ll be able to do anything, whether it’s comedy or drama. Is it a natural gift for you? And is acting something you still love as much as you did when you were younger?
JM: I do love it. I love it in different ways. As you grow older, you get in touch with what drew you to it in the first place, which is pretending. People would ask me what do I want to do, and I would always say: “I want to pretend!” [Laughs] I really like to be in the story. That’s what I want. I don’t like to perform. I’m not a natural performer. That’s why I like a good story and good structure, because I want to be in the story. So if I’m in the story, I’m having the experience I want to have, and it’s really close to what I did when I was a kid. That’s what is interesting for me about acting.
EI: Would you say it’s unfair if we don’t consider you ‘funny’?
JM: It’s not unfair if you really think it. Hopefully I’m funny in this. I think I was funny in The Kids are All Right and The Big Lebowski and Cookies Fortune. Obviously the bulk of my 55 movies have leaned toward dramatic, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like comedy. I always say the older you get, the less appealing tragedy becomes.
EI: Do you think more women are going to want a divorce after this film?
JM: It depends what your experiences are. In her case, she’s not having a good experience. Her relationship is not what she wants. She felt that they lost ‘us,’ and she didn’t want to live that way, so she makes this drastic change. I don’t think she wants someone else; I think she wants something else.
EI: It’s hard to keep romance alive in a very long relationship. This film is very relatable. What do you think?
JM: I think it’s really, really hard. I’ve been married for 15 years, which is hard for me to believe, and it even feels relatively new. You have to make an effort, go away, do something different, try to remember that the reason you’re a family is that you’re a couple first. You have so many things to worry about – jobs, kids, and the roof is leaking and the dog has some horrible virus... Suddenly you think your life has become about that! It’s very easy to let romance slip away. Even if you want to go out for dinner with your husband, your kids go: ”You can’t go out again!”
EI: How are you experiencing the teenage years with your children?
JM: It’s been great. My son is 13 and a half, and it’s been a real change between 12 and 13 – that change is huge. You just wake up one day and go: “Wow!” It’s been really sweet to watch. You just hold your breath and don’t want them to get hurt physically or emotionally, of course. So far, I’ve really enjoyed it, and I’ve tried not to be invasive – like peering over and looking at his texts. We do a little looking on Facebook -- it’s called ‘lurking,’ where you go on but you don’t sign on. Someone had once posted something horrible on his Facebook page, of which we asked him to remove, and he goes: “How did you know?” And we told him: “Because we look!” That’s what we do! Or get your babysitter to friend them -- that’s what we do. Have them monitor it, and they can show it to you.
EI: Did your son ever ask you how you fell in love?
JM: I think kids have very little interest in their parents.
EI: Does your son come to you for advice?
JM: He will divulge some of the romantic stuff going on .I’m like: “Hey, what’s going on with so and so…?” I try to be cool too. When they are younger teenagers, you do have more control. I don’t know what’s going to happen when they’re 16.
EI: How about your daughter – are you close?
JM: Yes. She’s nine, so she’s still in the kid stage, which is great. A lot of hand-holding and snuggling up and watching movies. I still have that with her. And she just got her ears pierced. We had a really great experience because we were in California and my son was going to see a movie with my husband, and it was too old for her to see and she was really upset. So I told her she could get her ears pierced, and we went to a tattoo parlor in Venice and she wanted to surprise everyone when they got out of the movies. It was a big moment.
EI: When you were a little girl, you were always traveling the world with your parents. Did that mean you were always falling in love and getting your heart broken?
JM: My first boyfriend -- this guy named Doug Mitchell in fifth grade when we lived in Alaska -- wrote me a wonderful letter at the end of the year, and it said "your boyfriend" in it and everything. And then I moved and I never got a chance to tell him we were moving, and he never knew where I went, and he actually contacted me years later because I had mentioned him in an article and somehow someone had told him, and he left a message at my publicist’s office. It was all these years later. He’s got kids and I’ve got kids, but he was like: “I never knew where you went! You just disappeared!” So yeah, that would happen sometimes.
EI: What do you think about love?
JM: I think love is rare. It’s one of those things you think, when you’re 10 or 13, that you’re going to fall in love a million times, but you don’t fall in love that often as an adult. So when you do, it’s a big deal, and it’s really important so you have to recognize it.
EI: What about style? You do the makeover of Steve’s character in the film. Do you think it’s irrelevant, or just fun?
JM: Some people have husbands who are very stylish. But I do know an awful lot of guys where you have to tell them it’s time to get rid of those jeans. It’s never mattered to me. I don’t care about it.
EI: What was it like working with Steve Carell?
JM: Great. He’s such a wonderful guy. He’s such a pleasure to be with. So gifted. He is funny, but he’s very authentic and present and normal.
EI: Any thoughts on Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone?
JM: They are both very talented, and they both have a lot of range. They are both attractive and nice -- they are the whole package.
EI: What qualities do you care for in a mate?
JM: I care about who they are. I don’t want them to look like pigs. You care whether or not someone is talking to you. It’s about communication and being able to laugh with somebody and have experiences together that you both enjoy. All of those things are really important. The things you do while you are dating are the things you do to sustain a relationship. It’s all peaks and valleys.
EI: Where is your favorite place to talk with your husband?
JM: It’s always in our kitchen. For most families, that’s where you end up, and it’s usually late at night when everyone has gone to bed. We’ve had a few car conversations too.
EI: How was it to play Sarah Palin?
JM: Super, super challenging. There was a tremendous amount of research.
EI: Did you talk to her?
JM: No. I looked at footage -- all of the debates, and I read all the books that have been written about her. I listened to her book on tape.
EI: Was it depressing to do the research?
JM: Research is never depressing. It’s what you do. The only thing you do with research is that it takes up the majority of your time. As an actress, you have to find neutral ground -- that’s our job.
Warner Bros. Pictures' 'Crazy, Stupid, Love.' is released on July 29, 2011.