Julianne Moore

Far From Heaven

Interviewed by David Michael

The 42-year-old actress Julianne Moore received her third Oscar nomination for her portrayal of a 50s housewife in "Far From Heaven". Having missed out with "Boogie Nights" and "The End of the Affair", she'll be hoping it's third time lucky on 23rd March.

The role of Cathy Whitaker in "Far From Heaven" was written especially for you by Todd Haynes. It couldn't have been much of a decision to do the film?

It truly was a gift. There was no decision. It was so beautifully written and realized that it begged to be done. This was something that was obviously very different; I don't think anybody has made a film like this since [laughs] Douglas Sirk. I almost get emotional talking about it. Of all the filmmakers I've ever worked with, Todd is the only one to write two movies that were about my character. So for me it was such an incredible honour to do.

Is it easy to play a character who's so nice?

That's what I really liked about Cathy, that she is such a lovely person. Sometimes when you work on a movie, there's something about the character that stays with you, and it's not always pleasant. Although she was going through so many terrible and difficult things, there's something so wonderfully positive, warm and optimistic about Cathy. So those were the things that got me through the whole process. It was actually quite enjoyable.

Were you conscious that you smile almost all the way through the film?

When I first saw the film, I was struck by how much the character smiled. I wasn't really aware of it when I was playing it. I thought to myself, "Oh my gosh, she represents American optimism." It's about how optimistic we are as a country, how we believe anything is possible, and that we can change the world.

So what did 'America' and Cathy learn by the end of the movie?

I think there was a time after 9/11 that we truly felt defeated. We never had anything like that happen. I think what has happened in the ensuing year is that we've seen it's possible to rebound from something like that. I think that's present in the film with Cathy as well. It's about gaining knowledge, becoming wiser, and losing your illusions. Maybe it makes you more of a realist than you were before.

How does it feel to be Oscar-nominated for two films in the same year?

Every time you get a nomination, it's exciting. Given my relationship with Todd, and given what an important project "Far From Heaven" has been for us as friends, it would mean a tremendous amount to win an Oscar for it. This is a very, very personal project.

Are you a brilliant manager of your career, or has everything happened by chance?

My career has been incredibly incremental. I started out in American daytime TV, then on the stage, then night-time television, then film. It has been a little step at a time. Driven initially by the desire to have a job - I just wanted a job. Then at one point, I became more material-driven. It has been about doing things that I want to do. I have been very fortunate. I have worked with some very talented people, particularly people who write and direct. I don't think there has been a design to it.