If you want a career & a family choose your partner carefully, says Julianne Moore

The Oscar-winning actress talks to Margaret Gardiner about working with her husband on her latest film, 'After The Wedding'

01 September 2019 - 12:00 By Margaret Gardiner
Julianne Moore in the spotlight at Cannes.
Julianne Moore in the spotlight at Cannes.
Image: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

"One of the things I loved about my character, who wanted children, a career, all of it, was how fully she lived her life and how big her life was," says Julianne Moore, who could be describing herself rather than her latest role in After The Wedding, a remake directed by her husband, Bart Freundlich.

Distinctive. Talented. Smart. The 1.6m redhead from North Carolina, known for portraying complicated women in films like Boogie Nights, Hunger Games and Still Alice, to name a few, seems to have it all.

Always a critics' darling — she was the "other" actress in The Hours, with Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman — she finally got her due with Game Change (2012) for which she received an Emmy and a Golden Globe, and Still Alice (2015) for which she won a Globe and an Academy Award.

So it's no surprise to see her capture so well the role of a CEO who has hit her stride only to have fate shake up her carefully composed life in ways that take her control away from her. Even if you know the original movie of the same title directed by Susanne Bier, you'll be surprised by the twists and turns when roles originally assigned to one gender are taken by the other.

"If you are going to flip genders, the way women speak to each other is different from the way men speak to each other," acknowledges the mother of two - Liv and Caleb. "There's a lot of subtle judgment about the way women deal with motherhood that men might not pick up on," she says.

Moore's own mother is Scottish and helped with the dialogue of the script. She is also a producer on the film.

WATCH | The movie trailer for 'After The Wedding'

"It was interesting to work on this film, with Bart," says Moore. "We'd read it together and I'd say, 'Oh, I think you are missing a step, you need to build an emotional ladder. Ultimately it's his authorship, his story, but I was there as a sounding board."

Dressed in a feminine floral dress in mint green and Celine boots, she describes how she fell in love with the man who's nine years her junior.

"I met Bart 23 years ago, when we were working on The Myth of Fingerprints, his first directing job. I watched him, at 26 years old, adapt himself to each of the actors' styles. He still works that way, which makes me worry about his stress levels. But he does it beautifully, really masterfully."

Sitting in the famous Beverly Wilshire Hotel, Moore's face softens, a gentle smile plays around her lips. "When I started working on The Myth of Fingerprints I felt extremely tense because all my scenes were at the 'top' of the film, in the first week. I had to do a lot of emotional work early on. It wasn't until I was done with that work that my head cleared and I looked around and thought 'He's awfully cute'."

After the film they engaged on a more personal level. "But I don't think I would have, if I hadn't been so impressed with how he handled himself professionally in a challenging situation. What intrigued me was his capacity for difficult work and his generosity of spirit and his humanity."

You won't be able to achieve your ambitions unless you have someone who's there for you equally
Julianne Moore

Moore considers her husband not just a romantic partner, but a work and parental partner too. "I say to young people, and my kids, 'If you want a career and a family that you love, be careful who you choose as your partner. You won't be able to achieve your ambitions unless you have someone who's there for you equally. Bart has always supported my work whether we work together or not. He's also a complete co-parent. Everything we've done we've built together," she says.

"Our son is doing an internship, and we're quite shocked because we wonder how we went from his birth to 21 years later, and now he's a fully developed human being.

"Our second child, Liv, is 16 and almost an adult too. We feel we've been very successful in our relationship with each other and in our relationship as parents to our children. It's a partnership I'm lucky to have."

Up next for Moore is The Glorias, based on Gloria Steinem's autobiography, My Life on the Road. When asked what she learned from portraying one of the icons of the women's movement she says: "She's a fascinating, wonderful, incredible person, a true leader and a real inspiration. I think when you realise how she's led with such compassion and tolerance and how consistent she's been in her message all of these years, it's a standard for how we should live."

• 'After The Wedding' opens in cinemas on September 6.

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