Glenn Close is a beast. She devours scenes. She eats dialogue for breakfast. She leaves lesser actors in the dust. She owns the work. Whether she is playing the good guy or the bad guy, I am always rooting for her. I love her.
Possibly my favorite of her performances was as Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil in Dangerous Liaisons. I loved it so much, that the first monologue I learned at age 16 was her character’s calm description of creating herself in a culture that ‘only wanted me to sit still and do what I was told’. Yes, this was ridiculous – as it was a entirely inappropriate monologue for my age….but it was so insanely delicious watching her on screen that I HAD to know the material. Had to hear those words trip off my tongue. If you haven’t seen the film – check it out. You find costume drama’s boring? Give it a chance. You will be delighted with how sexy, vicious, and riveting the story is. It’s an intoxicating mixture of chess, porn and warfare.
I was feeling a bit dusty this week – frustrated with progress that feels nominal and effort that feels Herculean. I was reminded that Glenn didn’t book her first on-screen role until she was 35. In Hollywood that’s like saying she was 700…and had leprosy. It’s impossible. But she did it.
That really IS the question! Are you going to make it happen, be who you want to be, or not? Time IS of the essence, but I breath a sign of relief that it isn’t as dire as we are told. Hollywood makes you believe that if you haven’t headlined a film by the time you hit 22 (especially as a woman), you probably missed your chance. It’s nice to be reminded there are exceptions to the rule. That passion, perseverance and skill can trump the status quo, skew the bell curve and beat the odds.
From the outside it feels like success comes roaring all at once…when usually it has been simmering for years. While the media focuses on the kid who booked a huge role on their first audition and immediately launched into a full throttle career- the greater truth is the ‘15 year overnight success’. Job by Job, gig by gig, building a career over time. Until that one special job arrives and your career goes from ‘Who’s that?’ to ‘That’s who!’ .
So, I still allow myself to want it all. To believe in the possibility I can still have it. I hope you give yourself that gift too – whatever your dream, your passion, your goal. Fifteen year overnight success sounds great to me!
I heard a quote once about Zach Galifianakis– it said, something to the effect of “we are lucky he wasn’t his most successful when he was young, because his talent needed to ferment, to marinate and we are all the better for it”. I get that. I hope that is me. I’ve always been an ‘old soul’ and I know that has come across in my work. I look younger than I am. But I’ve always had a quality of maturity that is older than I am. It’s a strange mix. Perfect for some meaty roles- but not the generic young woman that is so often the role being cast. I’m now reaching the point where it is all coalescing together. A yummy soup of womanhood that I hope I can capitalize on.
I’ve always said I would rather be starting my career, have it continuing on the rise, than to realize the best is behind me. That it would be more interesting to have a career full of dynamic women’s roles, rather than the empty roles of vapid college co-eds or muted girlfriends. So I will keep pushing forward.
I ran into Kathryn Joosten several times over the years. The final time was about two weeks before she passed away. I didn’t know her well, but she was just as sweet, lovely and grounded as you expected her to be. I am inspired by her story of following her passion and living her dream. I hope you are too.
Age ain’t nothin’ but a number. And Dreams aren’t just for the bright-eyed cherubs amongst us. Life is short – you owe it to yourself to chase after what you most want.