At age 59, Annette Bening is one of Hollywood’s brightest stars. Not only is she wildly talented, beautiful, and captivating on-screen, Annette is brilliantly smart and uses her platform for good. The four-time Academy Award nominee’s latest project is the movie Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool, a film that focuses on the love story of real-life Hollywood legend Gloria Grahame and her younger lover Peter Turner. Scroll down to read about Annette’s new movie, her marriage, career, and more!
How exciting was it for you to star in this new movie?
It really was a dream to work on. The book, which [the film is] based on, is one of my favorites. I think it is a very tasteful, well written, and smart book. The author, Peter Turner, is an actor who happened to have met Gloria Grahame and fall in love with her. It’s a very unlikely story and I’m so glad we got to make it. I feel very lucky.
Gloria Grahame. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Was it exciting portraying a real person and someone as thrilling as Gloria?
It was exciting! That’s such a good way of putting it. It was also somewhat frustrating. When you play someone, especially if it is a real person, you want to find out as much as you can about them. But Gloria was very private. She did have four children, she was married four times but I didn’t want to impose on anyone or impose on their privacy.
I did get to talk to a woman who knew Gloria when she was younger. Another actress named Terry Moore who’s still around. She was very generous and she spoke to me. In fact, she was up for the Academy Award that Gloria won [in 1952 for Best Supporting Actress for the film The Bad and the Beautiful]. She was there for Gloria’s famous brief acceptance speech when she just said “Thank You” and then walked off in the most delightful way. Anyway, Gloria was private but I was so full of curiosity about her. She was so complicated yet there was this enigma and draw to her. She really embraced life. She loved her craft, she loved her children… But she was wild!
Annette with co-star Jamie Bell. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Was there something about playing Gloria that really struck a chord with you?
There always is something, no matter who I’m playing. It’s one of the joys of acting. You find something that makes you really understand and relate in an intuitive way with someone. Then, there are the parts that you’re a little unfamiliar with. To try and find and to dig deep… To study another human being, seeing the world through their eyes — you become an advocate for your character. You don’t need to be objective.
When something is written well, there are a lot of contradictions because true life people are full of contradictions. She had that and it was a joy to share that. And working with Jamie Bell… he was just so great. He was so generous and so present. He really made me feel comfortable and helped me enormously. The entire cast and crew were so generous and just so committed to the project.
Was it natural for you and Jamie to step into the roles of such complicated lovers?
It was incredible! I realized as we were doing it — you know you’re always in a state of uncertainty when you’re actually shooting and it’s only in retrospect that you can see. When you’re in the moment it’s like you’re fumbling around… in a good way. You want to be doing that, and you want to be in a state of uncertainty. You want something to happen that you don’t know will happen and you want to have almost a planned spontaneity. Do you know what I’m saying? When you’re in the midst of this, it reminds me of holding your breath.
Annette and her husband, Warren. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Would you ever think about doing a television show?
Yes absolutely! There are so many fantastic stories… And I’ve been reading lots of stuff.
Who is one character you’ve played that will always been ingrained in you?
You know, it’s funny I think that about most of my roles. It’s like when you’ve met a certain person and they inhabit your world. It becomes a jewel that you carry inside you. Whenever I portray someone, I go on a journey: I’m glad I went… I’m glad I’m home now! You learn to move on… You just have to.
Are you and your husband, Warren Beatty, going to the Oscars this year?
No! Just watching.
He handled last year’s Best Picture mix-up with such grace — can he now look back and laugh?
You and Warren have been married 26 years — is it easy to separate your home life from Hollywood?
You work and then you need to step away! For me, having Warren and our family is just so important. It’s always been this wonderful balance and honestly, I don’t know how I would have managed it for years if I was just by myself bouncing from project to project. I’m so thankful. I’ve had lots of time off with my kids and then I got to bring them along to some things. I’m very grateful for real life that I have and the fact it has nothing to do with my profession.
This post was written by Chloe Lal. It originally appeared on our sister site, Now to Love.