Chloe's Julianne Moore And Atom Egoyan on Skipping Premieres and Building Character
Atom Egoyan's superb melodrama-thriller Chloe seems to have accrued enough critical steam and word-of-mouth to be a front-runner for distribution out of Toronto. Its lesbian love scene between Julianne Moore and Amanda Seyfried won't hurt matters, though it certainly didn't help keep the all-around lovely actress in the her seat for Sunday's packed premiere. Joined by her director in a chat today with Movieline and other festival press, Moore didn't specifically address that element of her nerves, but at least her alternate reasoning was a good one.
"It's not really fun to watch," Moore said of attending premieres, particularly last weekend's at Toronto's 2,500-seat Roy Thomson Hall. (She did, however, walk the red carpet and grace the stage for Egoyan's introduction.) "I'm in the movie so much, the screen was so big and the theater was so full, [and] that's not my idea of a good time. So I went and had dinner and came later for the party. I love being near the film festival, but sitting through the premiere of your film is not the easiest thing in the world to do. It's better to see it in a smaller venue."
"That's interesting," Egoyan said. "I was surprised how nervous you must have been."
"Well, the part I really like is the work -- doing it," Moore replied. "It's going to work every day, coming to the set and doing the scenes every day. So once you're done, you're done. The fun part's finished. The movie then exists apart from me. [The premiere]'s not my part of it."
But do the characters at least stay with her, I asked, if not as technical points of reference down the line, then maybe as memories worth revisiting?
"Sometimes it might," Moore said. "Sometimes somebody in my house is watching TV and they stop on something of mine, and I'm like, 'Change the channel!' It's not something that's in my everyday life, particularly. I've had a couple people ask me ask me about characters, and if they stay with me or not. I said it's like reading books. In your life, you have all this literature that you've read, and there are these stories that stay with you. And they stay kind of alive in your head. That's how my characters exist for me. But they exist that way in my head, not really on the screen. I don't have my relationship with them on the screen. It's more interior."
Perhaps fittingly, then, Moore didn't prepare by watching Nathalie..., the French drama from 2003 on which Chloe tale of infidelity, obsession and domestic paranoia is loosely based. "Atom said, 'You can see it if you want, but it's not necessary,'" she explained. "They kind of gave me the gist of it, and I didn't, just because I thought, 'Enh.' Sometimes I like the movie to be [just] what the script is. Often people will ask me about research with jobs. 'What kind of research did I do?' You know, if my character is a tightrope walker, then I I'm going to learn how to do that. But other than that, I'm going to get all my information from my script. And that's generally what I do. I just work on that one."
Egoyan elaborated from his own point of view. "It's a very different character," he said, referring to the wife played by Fanny Ardant in director Anne Fontaine's original. "I really liked Nathalie... when I saw it. It's funny; it never would have occurred to me to remake it. That's [co-producer] Ivan Reitman's real vision of it -- and reinvented completely. It's funny watching it again now that I've finished the film, especially [Ardant]'s character. She's not driven by anything close to what Catherine's driven by, in terms of what she's pursuing. It's just a totally different tone. And from an actor's point of view, I don't think seeing a plot line in itself is going to give them anything in terms of the character they have to create."