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September 2004
The Forgotten: An Interview with Julianne Moore

The Forgotten: An Interview with Julianne Moore

By Wilson Morales

Julianne Moore has done so many films as of late, you have to wonder what film genre she hasn't conquered. From "The Hours" to "Far From Heaven" and to this year's "Laws of Attraction", she's brought in a different audience to see her. In her latest film, The Forgotten, she plays a woman who many believe is crazy because she claims she had a son who died in a plane crash. In speaking with blackfilm.com, Ms. Moore talks about her role in the film as well as working with husband, director Bart Freundlich on a future film.

Although this is meant to be a thriller, was this a fun part to do?

Julianne Moore: Actually it was so much fun. I love the crew, [co-star] Dominic [West], the producers, it was shot in New York and I live here. I'm never really that sad when I finish a movie because it's finally done but for this one I was standing there crying and telling people how much I will miss them. I maintain my emotional level by talking, I talk a lot. It's kind of my way of relaxing. I like to talk about nothing, joke around and keep it loose. Then I just do it. I find the more I sit and struggle over something the less I get out of it. If I'm relaxed then I can get somewhere. This role wasn't so terribly arduous because even though it's emotional it's still a thriller so you have to keep moving. The character can never afford to sit and break down because she has to get into the car and keep going.

What was your inspiration for the character?

JM: It wasn't so hard because she's not so different from every other mother I know in New York City. She's an urban mom with a job and she's just a regular person. That's what I liked about it. She doesn't have any superpowers so there is nothing special about her. She's just very much attached to this child she lost. I thought the idea that from the very start of the movie you are questioning her veracity and her sanity just as she is. It hooks you emotionally from the beginning. As an actor you only have yourself to work with in a sense and people understand that the worst loss you could imagine is the loss of a child. That devastation is unfathomable.

Since you are in the movie and know what to expect, do you still get goose bumps when watching it with friends who are seeing it for the first time?

JM: No, but I was in a room with someone who broke her chair. She jumped and yanked the arms off her movie seat. I think that speaks very highly of the film.

What was fascinating about this film?

JM: I got hooked into it right away. Is she crazy or not crazy? I was really intrigued because so many films don't involve you emotionally.

Did the twist get you?

JM: Yes I was very excited by it.

You're no stranger to films that have surprises. Do you like that type of genre?

JM: I like surprises in movies. I love to be scared. Did you see 28 Days Later? That's my idea of a good time. I like mysteries too.

Your character does a lot of running in the film. Is that the most you've ever ran in a film?

JM: Yeah I ran and ran in this. Sometimes it was good because it was cold and the running kept me warm. It's funny because I ran for five weeks in this movie and when I first started I kept pulling my quads. Then I switched to black sneakers and it got better. I like doing the action stuff because it's fun and challenging.

Did you ever do any sports like running?

JM: No I didn't start really exercising until I really got into acting. [laughs] My hips are starting to go so I have to stop. I can't do it so much anymore. But I'm able to do it because I have a lot of stamina. [The Forgotten director] Joseph Ruben was very thoughtful and used to tell me to slow down but I did fine.

The Forgotten highlights an area of New York that you don't see spotlighted on film too much, the DUMBO area [Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass]. Was that an appeal for this film?

JM: I actually don't know what decision went into that but I thought it was interesting because there is a community over there especially of families. I have a bunch of friends that just moved into DUMBO with young kids because there are a lot of playgrounds. It's a place where you can find more space in an urban area. I liked because it shows places where people really live. We in New York know about it but others don't. It's interesting to see all these little towns that are in this city.

Some trailers give too much of the movie that no one is surprised at what happens in the film. Are you happy with the way the trailer for this film is set up?

JM: They have all these marketing ideas that I'm not privy too. They have all these ideas about what they show and what they can't show. I don't think the trailers for The Forgotten give anything away.

Are you a conspiracy theorist?

JM: No but I love a good conspiracy theory. I think there are so many things we don't understand. They drilled in the Antarctic recently and they pulled up all these tropical fossils. They didn't even drill down that far. We don't know anything. We are constantly finding weird evidence and water on other planets I don't think we really understand half of what's going on. There is a space museum at Cape Canaveral and whenever I come out of there my head hurts with the quasars and the black holes. There is so little we understand. I think there is a possibility for everything. Every time we think we know something such as "Leeches are the answer." We discover that it's not true.

Did your kids come to the set of The Forgotten?

JM: They did. They watched a little bit but they love going back to my trailer. The movie I'm working on now, I asked if they wanted to come to set and they were like "Eh, we'll stay in the trailer." It's always full of toys.

Did your husband, director Bart Freundlich, ask you to be his film, Catch That Kid?

JM: I was supposed to play somebody's mom but our schedules didn't work out.

Ever consider working together on a film?

JM: We are. We're doing an independent movie called Trust the Man that he wrote. It stars me, David Duchovny, Billy Crudup and Lucy Liu. David and I play a couple that has been married for a while. Billy plays my brother and Lucy plays his girlfriend.

Has anyone ever tried to make you change your hair color for a role?

JM: No they haven't. I've been wigged for a few roles. I'm wearing a brown wig in the movie I'm doing now. Usually they want to use my hair. Funny thing about The Forgotten is that my hair was really long and I was about to cut it but they asked me not to.

The sci-fi genre is doing pretty well in the market these days. Ever consider being in a sci-fi film?

JM: It's hard to say. I always respond to stories and the situations. I never want to say "I want to play the Queen of England on a camel with a gun." It's never like that. I've never been genre driven, it's about the story. If a story in a certain genre surprises me then I'll do it. Violence bores me. I watched a movie not too long ago and it was just one car crash after another.

It was Bad Boys 2 wasn't it?

JM: [laughs] Literally I was checking my watch the whole time. I don't understand the appeal of them because there is no connection. But I thought Kill Bill was spectacular and it was so crazily violent. It was a fantasy! That was great.

Could you see yourself in that role?

JM: Uma Thurman was so good and I don't know if I could top her.

Do you think your kids will follow in your footsteps and act in films?

JM: They know what acting is because they know it's my job. If they play act I tease them that they should do it better than that because I can tell. Right now they are children and they love to pretend. My daughter is a big princess, she loves to wear dresses, lip gloss, wear my shoes and she gets into my makeup case. My son is a classic Yu-Gi-Oh addict. They can be whatever they want to be as soon as they graduate from college.

Could you talk about your upcoming movie The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio?

JM: A customs agent in Canada made my day. I was going through there and they are very stern. They asked what I was doing and I told them I was shooting this movie. He asked what it was about and said it's about a woman with 10 children. He said "You expect us to believe you have 10 children?" and I said "You made my day!" It's a true story based on memoir a woman wrote about her mother who had ten kids. She's married to an alcoholic and was a writer who did ad slogans to win all these prizes which she would sell for cash. She raised these 10 kids who are all still alive and loved her to death. She was positive, very smart, had very little but was very happy with what she had.

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