The Oscar-winning actor talks socially distanced singing, weathering the pandemic and her irrepressible need for new challenges.
Over her 30-plus-year career, Julianne Moore has created so many indelible characters in so many notable films, small and large, that they’re nearly impossible to count, let alone list.
She’s given pathos to period housewives stuck in the rut of stale marriages (Far from Heaven, The Hours). She’s fully grounded a kooky artist whose artistic expression is very much about lady parts (The Big Lebowski) and a porn den mother whose occupation involves her own lady parts (Boogie Nights). She’s brought the same kind of attention to detail in huge action films and blockbusters (from The Lost World: Jurassic Park to Kingsman: The Golden Circle) that she has to small, personal ones like Still Alice, for which she won the Best Actress Oscar in 2015.
One of the greatest talents of her generation, spoken of in the same breath as Cate Blanchett, Frances McDormand, even Meryl Streep, Moore has such range and talent that she could have won an Oscar for any other number of incredible performances too: as a divorcée trying to reignite her love life in 2018’s Gloria Bell, as a woman allergic to her environment in 1995’s Safe, as one half of a lesbian couple in 2010’s The Kids Are All Right.
There have been remakes and horror films and thrillers and literary adaptations and romantic comedies, too, but it turns out Moore has never sung in a movie. That changes this fall with the release of the big-screen adaptation of the Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen, about an anxiety-stricken high schooler (played by Tony winner Ben Platt) whose life begins to unravel after a lie he tells gets out of control. Moore plays Evan’s mom, a loving and devoted single mother who works hard to provide for her son, while he struggles with his mental-health issues.
“It was a very scary undertaking for me. I was terrified, but I really wanted it,” says Moore in a breezy and warm lilt from her newish home in Montauk, New York. She played Marian the librarian in a high school production of The Music Man, and auditioned for the role later taken by Marion Cotillard in Rob Marshall’s Nine.
But, she explains, “I’m not a singer, so it was a big leap.”
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