Julianne Moore


June 05, 2008|By Joe Amodio | Joe Amodio,Newsday

Julianne Moore is wearing little-to-no makeup and killer platform boots. And her laugh -- she laughs a lot -- is infectious. The whole casually sexy vibe is a far cry from Barbara Baekeland, the eccentric, socialite wife of a Bakelite plastics heir whose tragic life unfurls in Moore's latest feature film, Savage Grace, which opened last month.

Later this summer comes Blindness, Jose Saramago's Nobel Prize-winning novel, in which she plays a more modest figure: the only sighted woman in a community stricken with a sudden, terrifying malady.

Moore recently sat down at Manhattan's Regency Hotel to chat films, secret passions and the trick to enjoying Long Island beaches without burning one's porcelain skin to a crisp.

Barbara Baekeland is larger than life. Did the role require a lot of prep?

I hate to say it, but I really don't do a lot of research. If my character is some kind of mountain climber, then I'll go out and take a look at the equipment. But I'm not one of those people who climbs a mountain for eight months to really absorb it. I'm just -- I'm kind of -- I'm just lazy.

Well, you've also got two kids ...

Even before I had kids... . That said, we did have the book Savage Grace, by Natalie Robins and Steven M.L. Aronson. Barbara's described as this monstrously narcissistic, boundary-less person. She has no awareness of where she ends and the world begins.

I'm reading Blindness now and heard you're playing the doctor's wife. That's quite a role.

Yeah, it's pretty harrowing. [My character's] heroism takes her by surprise. She was never planning on being any kind of a leader. You went blonde for the role.

That was my idea. I just didn't picture her with red hair. We were about to start the movie, and Fernando Meirelles said, "So I think I want you to cut your hair ... and be a little fat."

He said that?

Yeah. I wear a suit at the beginning -- there wasn't enough time for me to gain and lose weight. Probably would've gained it and never been able to take it off. He didn't care about hair color, but to me, red just felt ... too strong. So I bleached it. I'll never do that againWith summer coming up, I imagine you'll be spending time at your place on Long Island. But ... with your skin, isn't the beach some sort of death wish?

I have what I call "my outfit" -- long board shorts, a long-sleeved rash guard and a hat. Everyone else is in a bikini. It's pretty unattractive, but it allows me to be in the water.

How did you end up choosing a place on the East End?

My husband grew up in the city and used to go out to Long Island with his family. We've been together now for, what -- 12 years? It's just always been meaningful for us. I was pregnant with my first child there, and we went out when the kids were little. Now they have lots of memories, too.

Joe Amodio wrote this article for Newsday.

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