No illusions about stardom

Julianne Moore understands the illusory nature of stardom as well as most. In the bound-to-shock `Boogie Nights' she plays a porn star - as illusory an occupation as you can find on the seedier fringes of Hollywood. She talks to Nick Hasted about fame and fear.

She's best known as an off-beat, almost-star: in The Lost World, Nine Months, Assassins and others. But a better key to Julianne Moore is her most striking role: as a housewife destroyed by her environment in Todd Haynes' hallucinatory Safe. Moore identified with the part, and gave it more of herself than any other she had played. She put on weight. She made herself ill, to make a housewife tragic.

The daughter of a nomadic military man, as a child she learned to fit where she was put. As an actress, her deepest pleasure is to enter the environments of others, the visions of directors. She has no vanity. She's not sure she should be an actress at all. "It doesn't seem very useful," she says. "It's very pleasurable for me. It's quite a selfish pursuit, I'm not curing a disease. It keeps me awake at night, wondering what else I could do."

In the next few months, Moore's abilities will be displayed as never before. She'll soon be seen in Paul Thomas Anderson's porn industry epic Boogie Nights, as porn superstar Amber Waves; then in the Coen Brothers' long-awaited The Big Lebowski, as an experimental painter. But it's in The Myth of Fingerprints, currently on release, that she is stretched most. Working for writer-director Bart Freundlich - they've since married - her character Mia is a creature of rage.

When we spoke, Moore - somewhere in her thirties - was a week away from giving birth to her first child (he was born as Fingerprints opened here). She's about to vanish, for a while. "Mia is an angry, disappointed character," Moore says, with fierce conviction. "I don't think she's sure of her identity at all. I think she's a bully. She's angry, and completely inconsiderate of the feelings of others because she's so angry. And she's weak. She's weak the whole time."

Boogie Nights will bring Moore closer to her good-natured self. But typically her character, Amber Waves, is nice in a way that destroys her. She stars in porn films to advance herself, and to support a child; but her end is tragic. Moore sighs: "It is the most good-natured part I've ever played. She wants to mother, but she does so in disastrously inappropriate ways, she tries to mother the porn community. And she's fearful, always fearful." Moore felt fear deciding to play her. "I feel frightened every time I take a role."

Amber's tragedy comes from wanting to be a star. Does Moore see a difference between porn and movie stardom? "No," she says. "They're both chasing an illusion. I think if you chase after stardom, it can become restrictive and debilitating. I think it's a trap. Some people have stardom thrust upon them, and it's unfair of me to talk about them. But I never wanted it. There's no connection between my work and stardom."

So what does Moore relate to in Amber, in her desperation for stardom? What is she desperate for? She pauses, not wanting to give that much away. "Nothing, at the moment," she says. "At the moment, everything's going too well to think like that. There's nothing I don't already have that I want that much."

It's her baby she's thinking of. "I hate being pregnant," she says. "I hate being so inactive. It's so strange, having another human being inside you." So those nights when she lies awake questioning whether she should act at all ... does having a child qualify?

"I would hate to think of him as my achievement," she says. "He'll be his own person from the second he's born. My job is to love him, and to guide him. People say you don't know how much you can love someone till your child's born. I'm looking forward to that." Does she think it will change her work? Give her new emotions to use? "I don't know what'll happen in my work, or when I'll go back to work. But I know that I will go back. Because I think it's important for a child that his parents are happy. And I'm happy when I'm working."

`The Myth of Fingerprints' is out now; `Boogie Nights' is out on 16 Jan; `Safe' is screened on Channel 4 on 21 December.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

**Primary Teachers Needed Urgently in Southport**

£80 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: **Due to an increase in dema...

SEN Teaching Assistant Runcorn

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...

Nursery Assistant/Nurse all cheshire areas

£7 per hour: Randstad Education Cheshire: We are a large and successful recrui...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant We are curr...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London