After nearly 35 years as one of Hollywood’s leading, most exciting talents, Julianne Moore has never been busier.
The Oscar winner – who lives in New York with director husband Bart Freundlich and her two kids, Caleb, 21, and Liv, 15 – reflects on beauty, motherhood and how she emerged from her shell as a painfully shy child.
Julianne: I don’t have one! I’m ageing like everyone, but I don’t worry about it. I never even wanted to be a star. In my thirties I considered myself a character actress and I was happy just to be able to keep working in good films.
And once I did achieve some recognition, I remember Angelica Huston telling me: “You’re going to have a great career even if you won’t be the most beautiful girl around”. That phrase stayed with me for a long while, because Angelica was right. You can’t worry about wrinkles every passing year or you’ll go crazy.
LL: What about a health or beauty regime?
Julianne: Well I do yoga on a regular basis… usually three times a week at least, because I find that really helps relax me and focus my mind.
Yoga teaches you to free your mind; it helps get rid of a lot of anxiety when the negative things and frustrations can sometimes pile up inside your head. I also do cardio.
LL: Surgery has been the rage amongst women in Hollywood for decades now. Are you tempted by Botox or by plastic surgery?
Julianne: No. I don’t know why women do Botox. It doesn’t make them look younger, it just makes them look like they had work done. Of course, it’s hard for actresses. You are not going to look the same as you did at 25. What are you going to do about it? I’m lucky that I have good genes and so I’m going to let things take their natural course!
LL: You’re always on the move, flying back and forth each week from home during work projects. Do you find the balance difficult?
Julianne: No, because I’m used to it. I wanted it all. I knew I wanted to work as an actor and I knew I wanted to be a mother and have a family and, miraculously, I’ve found a way to have both. It was my mother who always told me, “make sure to have love in your life and work that you love in your life”. She really hit it home for me.
I’ve always wanted the work, I’ve always pursued the work but, for me, I needed the love and the support. So to strike the balance, it’s been a very fortunate dance for me.
LL: You have enjoyed your greatest success as an actress in your forties and fifties. Does that surprise you?
Julianne: I’ve stopped thinking about it. Age for some reason hasn’t been a factor in my being able to find great roles at this point in my career. I worry about my age a lot less now and I worry less about things in general than I ever have in my life. I feel a lot freer now and I am grateful to be able to enjoy a beautiful life with my family, whilst also being able to keep doing interesting work.
LL: What are the best things about being a mother?
Julianne: It’s watching your children develop their own personalities and interests, and as they get older being able to talk to them about more serious things. It sometimes scares me to think that I was very worried in my thirties about not having a family of my own. I wanted children very badly and once I met my husband it was really the fulfilment of so many things. I truly love being a mother and my kids are so important to me.
LL: You’ve spoken in the past about feeling the need to protect yourself emotionally because of various walls you had to put up to survive and adapt as a teenager, notably when moving to different cities and countries. Does that still affect you in some way?
Julianne: Outwardly, I know I can sometimes be difficult to get to know, but I’m much more comfortable today making new friends or being more open about myself with people than I ever was in my twenties or thirties. But I never regret the way I was as a kid. I loved to read – it was my great refuge. And that opened my eyes to stories and drama and narrative – I liked intentions and motives, and why someone does what they do to get something else. Acting for me, even now, it’s being inside a book – that’s why I do it. But it all came from reading, and that all came from my childhood.