LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Michelle Williams scored a Golden Globe nomination for her performance as a wife in a fractured relationship in film drama “Blue Valentine,” which hits theaters in major U.S. cities on Wednesday.
Williams, 30, perhaps best known for her performance in “Brokeback Mountain,” sat down with Reuters to talk about the independent film that looks at the beginning, and end, of a once happy marriage, the sex scene that sparked controversy, and why she is proud to be a part of it.
Q: Most films are shot out of order, but for “Blue Valentine” director Derek Cianfrance wanted everything shot chronologically — from the romantic beginning to the broken present. What was that like?
A: “As these things are happening to the character, they’re happening to you. The lines get blurry, but it’s very exciting to present something that feels as close to life as possible.”
Q: You and Ryan took a month off between shooting the past and present and actually lived together in character. Why?
A: “The break was supposed to be a week, but it got extended to a month so that we could learn how to fight with each other and get on each other’s nerves.”
Q: A week was not enough?
A: “When it came time to close the chapter on the first part of the movie, we were having a hard time switching to the fighting because we had built up this trust in each other. We were hesitant to burn it to the ground. We had gone to the strangest, silliest, most intimate places.”
Q: Your characters have a little daughter. Ever think about using your 5-year old daughter for that role?
A: “I think in the context of ‘Blue Valentine,’ that would have been too strange and not healthy for her at all. The things that were happening — the bad vibes of a relationship for instance — felt very real.”
Q: Has putting her in film crossed your mind before?
A: “On a different movie it did. In it, there were a few very sweet, very light scenes that were more about playing. They were having a hard time finding a child and I said to the director, ‘Gosh, Matilda would be the right age.’ ... but then (I) realized if that’s something she’s interested in, then it’s a choice she can make in her own life. It’s something she’s never expressed interest in doing. Her interests are horseback riding, Flamenco dancing and taking care of puppies (laughs).”
Q: ‘Blue Valentine’ stirred up some controversy when it got an NC-17 (adults only) rating in the United States because of an oral sex scene. That rating has since been reversed. At the time, what were your thoughts?
A: “It shocked me. It felt like a slap on the hand when I found out about it. When we shot that scene, both Ryan and Derek said to me, ‘If this bothers you when you see it in the movie, we’ll take it out.’”
Q: So when you saw it, did it bother you?
A: “I thought, ‘I’ve never seen that before in a movie and I’m proud to be the first. Good on us for making that happen.’ As the woman in the situation that was in question, I found absolutely nothing scandalous, tawdry or disgusting about it.”
Q: The studio fought to reverse it. Did you join them?
A: “I’m not by nature a fighter for stuff like that. I’ve learned to pick my battles and I’ve learned to not expect to change the minds of men (laughs). Prove me wrong, but that’s what I’ve learned. As a woman, my natural inclination is to not get angry. I’ve talked about it, I’ve figured out my own feelings and I’ve written them on paper.”
Q: You’ve worked in studio films, like this year’s “Shutter Island,” but you mostly stay in the independent world. Why?
A: “I like working on small movies with a small crew. I like the intimacy. I like that it feels like a family. That’s part of the reason I think I still keeping doing it because I like setting up family.”
Q: You recently wrapped shooting on “My Week with Marilyn” where you play Marilyn Monroe. Your hair is a bit Marilyn-like at the moment. Is the iconic star still in your system?
A: “I’m always surprised to find that even though I’ve been acting for so long, at the end of a movie I hold on for dear life. I just can’t bear to see people go. I can’t bear to see a character go. I can’t bear to say good-bye. So I hang on for as long as I can.”
Q: So you’re still hanging?
A: (laughs) “I’m still hanging — on a few fine threads!”
Editing by Bob Tourtellotte