The actress, 54, talked with The Mid contributor Jeanne Wolf about her real-life role as a working mom, rejection, and what she values most.
Was it hard to disconnect from such a harrowing role when the cameras stopped rolling?
Actually, it made me feel grateful. When I left the set it was so wonderful to come home to my beautiful family and feel like I had what I wanted — a great relationship with my husband, great children, things that I value. This movie made me think about what’s important. At the end of the day, I think it’s relationships. It becomes, “I want to spend time with you, I want to tell you that I love you.”
What did you make of the early Oscar buzz around your performance?
I take it with a lot of gratitude because there are so many movies and so many great performances. When you hear people liking your work and saying, “Oh, I saw this performance and just loved it,” and for all of your peers saying it too, it’s tremendously moving. I’m not blasé at all.
Did you grow up knowing you wanted to act?
My parents really didn’t intend for me to be an actress. But they did tell all of us that we could be whatever we wanted to be. Of course, when I turned around and said I wanted to be an actress, they said, “We didn’t mean that.” But they really did. They sort of instilled the sense in me that I could do what I wanted to.
How do you balance career and motherhood?
The thing about being a mother is that your responsibility and your love for your children is so enormous that it kind of overcomes everything. I knew that my job as a mother was to make sure that my children were happy and educated and safe and to give them every kind of possibility in his life. That’s the way every mother feels. I hope I’m a good mother. I think we all hope we’re good mothers. I think my children are happy and seem to be doing well. I feel fortunate in the way that my life is structured, that I’m kind of allowed to explore lots of emotional avenues in my work. I think that’s left me in a place where I have a lot of balance in my life, where I can kind of be together in different places and fall apart in others. I’m lucky.
What guides you?
I get the “brave” and “fearless” labels for some of the work I’ve done, but I’m not a fearless person. I just don’t feel like acting is particularly scary. It makes me excited and it’s fun. For me, being scared would be like bungee jumping or being in a fast motorboat, which I find terrifying. I don’t feel that way about acting. I have been turned down because I was too pretty or not pretty enough. It is completely relative. The industry doesn’t make me feel insecure. I’m 54 and I think at my age I’m okay with being where I am in my life.