What I've learnt: Sigourney Weaver
The actress on following your own road, sex when you're older and being a guilt-free mother
Actress Sigourney Weaver, 61, is probably best-known as Lieutenant Ellen Ripley in the Alien series. Playing Dian Fossey in Gorillas in the Mist won her an Oscar nomination, she made us laugh in two daft Ghostbusters films and got another Oscar nomination for Working Girls.
The first true female action star, she was educated at both Stanford and Yale. Once Hollywood's top paid actress (reportedly earning $11-million for Alien: Resurrection in 1997), she made her debut in Woody Allen's Annie Hall in 1977, when her six-second appearance earned her $50.
A keen environmentalist, she is married to theatre director Jim Simpson with whom she has a daughter, Charlotte, 21.
Sometimes being typecast can work for you. As people seem to see me as a sci-fi Queen I get offered all kinds of fun alien movie roles, like in Paul, where, as "The Big Guy" I have a wonderful death squished by a spaceship in my silver evening dress and jewels. It was great to be in a sci-fi movie in clothes and jewellery. Usually, I am in a vest and pants.
Never believe the things they say about you. I am an icon for sci-fi fans, but it's not me, it's Ripley.
I've never wanted to be myself and I'm appreciating acting more and more. I always felt happy not to have got too many "soft" girlfriend roles and to be able to do less archetypal characters. Are the women I play always strong willed and strong minded? Yes, but I think we women are strong and, you know, we hold the world together.
Confidence is something that comes with age. I was not the greatest school kid. At 11 years old I was the height (182cm) I am now. I always tried to hunch up and hide myself. I was not a heartbreaker and was always having my heart broken. For ages I tried to conceal my background, being over-educated, elitist - all those awful things. I really felt I had to hide that. In the early days I had directors I would have loved to work with not agree to see me because they thought I was too posh.
Don't let your thoughts about other people get in the way. For example, at Yale Drama School, Meryl Streep and I sometimes co-starred in productions. She was in the year below me and she was shorter and blonde and pretty. I was tall and awkward and I thought she got all the good parts!
It's often been good for me that I exude that "don't mess with me" attitude. I'm a tall New Yorker. I can say it and it works.
In a marriage when both partners are working, it's important to go on romantic breaks. You get so busy as you grow older. It is so wonderful to go with Jim and have a long weekend "date", which we used to have all the time without thinking about it.
Sex is always good. I don't know if it gets better with age, but you certainly appreciate it more.
Time is such a luxury. There's no time for each other. I think real luxury, for me, would be about time.
I have no regrets in my life, but if I had one it would be that I didn't have any more children. But you can't have everything and I'm thrilled beyond belief to have Charlotte.
It all takes time. You can't rush life. Now I have my own production company, I've learnt the hard way what not to do. I haven't changed the way I approached my work ... I have to follow my gut and look for something that moves me ... but I do it more gradually. Which is hard, as by nature I am very restless.
Guilt is something I've finally lost as a mother, now that my daughter has gone to college and got her own life. I'm not the guilty mother any more and I'm taking more film work.
It's important to grow old gracefully. I am here to stay. I take care of myself and I don't have any big beauty secrets, but I do have the discipline to stay fit and have good health until I am very old.
There is no perfect path in life. In fact, it's the odd detours that make life interesting. Try and relax and enjoy the fact that your road is going to be different from other people's.
- Paul is released on Friday.