February 27, 2012

An interview with Glenn Close

Actress Glenn Close talks about her career, her life in Maine – and her chances tonight of bringing home the best actress Oscar for her work in “Albert Nobbs.”

By Ray Routhier rrouthier@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Glenn Close as the title character in Oscar contender “Albert Nobbs.” This is the sixth Academy Award nomination for Close.

Image courtesy of Roadside Attractions

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Glenn Close, who has a home with her husband at Prouts Neck in Scarborough, doesn't expect to win her first Oscar tonight.

Courtesy photo

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HERE'S A LIST of some of Glenn Close's more notable film roles:

"ALBERT NOBBS," 2011 – Albert Nobbs (Oscar nomination: Best Actress)

"THE STEPFORD WIVES," 2004 – Claire Wellington

"COOKIE'S FORTUNE," 1999 – Camille Dixon

"AIR FORCE ONE," 1997 – Vice President Kathryn Bennett

"PARADISE ROAD," 1997 – Adrienne Pargiter

"101 DALMATIONS," 1996 – Cruella de Vil

"MARS ATTACKS!", 1996 – First Lady Marsha Dale

"THE PAPER," 1994 – Alicia Clark

"HAMLET," 1990 – Gertrude

"REVERSAL OF FORTUNE," 1990 – Sunny von Bulow

"DANGEROUS LIAISONS," 1988 – Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil (Oscar nomination: Best Actress)

"FATAL ATTRACTION," 1987 – Alex Forrest (Oscar nomination: Best Actress)

"JAGGED EDGE," 1985 – Teddy Barnes

"THE NATURAL," 1984 – Iris Gaines (Oscar nomination: Best Supporting Actress)

"THE BIG CHILL," 1983 – Sarah Cooper (Oscar nomination: Best Supporting Actress)

"THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP," 1982 – Jenny Fields (Oscar nomination: Best Supporting Actress)

To play the title character, Close pitched her voice a little lower, but didn't really try to act like a man. It was more about acting like a butler and like a person who had something to hide, she said. That's why her character appears to be mumbling much of the time.

"This is somebody who is not used to talking to people," she said.

To play a prim Dublin hotel butler, Close had to spend several hours each day getting her hair and makeup prepared. There was a special wig, dental "plumpers" in her mouth to change the shape of her jaw, and makeup applied to the tip of her nose and ears to make both seem bigger.

The work on her face was not so much to make her look more masculine, says Close, but to make her look less like herself. That way she'd be more believable as a man. Close is thrilled that the film was also nominated for an Oscar for makeup.

As for her own chances of getting an Oscar tonight, Close says plainly that she doesn't believe she has a shot. She thinks Viola Davis of "The Help" will win, thinks her own performance is too subtle, and believes the film has not been seen widely enough to propel her to a victory.

She's not even writing an acceptance speech in advance.

"I'm amazed and thrilled to be nominated. I honestly don't think I'll win," said Close. "I do try to think about, as much as possible, what I might say and who I would thank, because this has been a journey like no other for me."


Close's home overlooking the ocean on Prouts Neck serves as a "retreat, a place to gird your loins." She came to Maine after meeting her husband, David Shaw, founder of Idexx Laboratories in Westbrook, who owned the home before they were married. The two were wed at the house in 2006.

Close spends as much time as she can on Prouts Neck when she's not filming a TV show or movie, or performing in a stage play.

"Going away so much to work is not easy, but when you have a place like this to come back to, it helps," said Close, who tries to take advantage of the area's recreational opportunities as much as possible. "We've all been learning to kite sail, and we try to bike. The cliff walk here is wonderful, too."

Close grew up in Greenwich, Conn., within commuting distance of New York City. Her father was a doctor who later worked in Africa and rural Wyoming. She said her childhood was spent in the "countryside," and she and her siblings were always playing games that required imagination.

"I remember pretending a lot. We had a trunk full of puppets, and we were always making up stories," Close said. "When I was growing up in the '50s, there were these wonderful iconic Disney films, and that just fed into my love of pretending."

Close was "particularly affected" by Disney animated classics such as "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," "Pinocchio" and "Bambi." As a parent (of a grown daughter) and an actress, she said she's thought a lot over the years about how Disney films give children -- especially girls -- a sense of what it means to be female.

The Disney fairy-tale adaptations are full of darkness and intriguing female characters, especially the villains.

"There is darkness out there in the world, and fairy tales explore that," said Close. "That's why when they asked me to play Cruella de Vil (in the live-action version of Disney's '101 Dalmations'), I was thrilled."

(Continued on page 3)

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Additional Photos

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Glenn Close with Mia Wasikowska in “Albert Nobbs.”

Image courtesy of Roadside Attractions

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Close as Albert Nobbs in a scene with co-star Janet McTeer.

Image courtesy of Roadside Attractions


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