Being Robin Wright: The actress' career plight plays out (both animated and live-action) in The Congress
Alice Jones' Arts Diary
John Malkovich and Joaquin Phoenix did it. Now Robin Wright joins the ranks of stars who have played themselves – to bold, if confusing effect. The actress plays “Robin Wright” in The Congress, a dystopian satire on Hollywood and the plight of ageing actresses.
The part live-action, part animated film, directed by Ari Folman (Waltz with Bashir), begins with “Robin Wright” being told by her agent that she could have been more than a “B-grade actress” had she not made such “lousy choices” in movies and men.
Aged 45, with her career on the slide, she is persuaded to ink her final deal – to make herself into a studio-owned computer avatar who will star in the kind of rubbish she once turned down. Jon Hamm co-stars as the animator of Wright who falls in love with his creation over 20 years.
Folman was apparently inspired to make the dystopian satire on Hollywood when he met an ageing, forgotten actress at Cannes five years ago. He offered the part to Wright when he sat across from her at an awards ceremony and thought that she looked sad.
Is it easy to play oneself? “That character called ‘Robin Wright’ in the movie called The Congress has nothing to do with me… I’ve never felt that way about life choices, career, etc,” the actress, 47, told journalists after a screening in Cannes. That said, she identifies with the character’s plight. “I’m not bankable... I remember trying to get movies made, and it’s like, ‘Eh, can we replace her with so-and-so? Because so-and-so brings money into the theatre.’"
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