Life outside the spotlight
Julianne Moore strips off with a woman in her latest movie, but as Susan Griffin discovered, age is a bit of a touchy subject
Julianne Moore received her first Oscar nomination playing a maternal cocaine-sniffing porn star by the name of Amber Waves in 1997's Boogie Nights and it wasn't long before she'd received another three Oscar nods for The End of the Affair, Far From Heaven and The Hours.
It's little wonder that today she is regarded as one of Hollywood's most accomplished actresses.
Yet as feted by fashion designers and directors as she may be, Julianne continues to enjoy life away from the Hollywood spotlight, opting for a relatively anonymous existence with her film-maker husband, Bart Freundlich, and their two children, Caleb and Liev, in New York.
But as content and balanced as her lifestyle may seem, even that's not enough to deter Julianne's preoccupation with death. Sitting elegantly, one leg crossed over the other, in a lavish suite at the George V hotel in Paris, Julianne, who turned 49 in December, is looking every inch the Hollywood star. She is, however, remarkably open and chatty and prone to regularly bursting into laughter.
The only time she does sound clipped is when the topic of age comes into play but then it's little surprise that Julianne's weary of the topic. Working in an industry that's obsessed with youth and beauty, there are many people who presume that any actress over the age of 35 must lament the onslaught of age.
"It's almost reductive when we talk about a woman being afraid of getting old," says Julianne. "It just sounds like you're scared of losing your looks or something. Instead I think it's this feeling that a lot of people have in mid-life of being, 'Well, who am I?' It's a huge crisis."
The disillusionment she talks about is something Julianne explores in her two latest films. The first is fashion designer Tom Ford's directorial debut, A Single Man, in which Julianne earned rave reviews earlier this year as the single, glamorous and lonely lush Charley.
The second is the erotically charged thriller, Chloe, a remake of a French film, which also depicts a woman experiencing a sense of loneliness albeit this time a wife who feels invisible to her husband.
"Chloe's a very compelling story about a woman's confidence eroding in a long-term relationship," explains Julianne. "And about how people communicate to one another and what we're trying to communicate is not always what we are saying."
In Chloe, Julianne plays Catherine, a successful doctor who suspects her handsome professor husband, David (Liam Neeson, pictured below with Moore,) is cheating on her.
"You see David pays all this attention to much younger women and not that much attention to Catherine, so I think Catherine doesn't feel seen by her husband.
"She doesn't exist in any sort of sexual way, she doesn't understand what her husband wants anymore and she's lost touch with her own sexuality. It's that idea of the erosion of who you are and the lack of confidence instilled by your partner that can be the most destructive to a relationship."
To lay her suspicions to rest, Catherine hires an attractive young woman called Chloe, played by Mamma Mia's Amanda Seyfried, to test David's fidelity. In doing so Catherine unwittingly embarks on her own sexual rediscovery with tragic repercussions.
Julianne admits to having felt a "tremendous amount of trepidation" beforehand over her naked scene with another woman. But was able to comfortably put it into context.
That's not to say she didn't keep a keen eye on her calorie intake before the cameras rolled.
"Yeah, of course I dieted," she says laughing. "You skip the chips, right!"
Chloe opens in cinemas on Friday