Dress, Lanvin ($4,630). Kirna Zabete, 96 Greene St.; kirnazabete.com. Belt, Nina Ricci ($275). Post Script Couture, 420 W. 14th St.; postscriptcouture.com. Earrings, Bulgari ($4,950). 730 Fifth Ave.; bulgari.com. Carved jade and diamond ring, Bochic (price on request). Kirna Zabete, SEE ABOVE
|Dress, Yves Saint Laurent ($25,590). 855 Madison Ave.; ysl.com. Bracelet, Louis Vuitton (price on request). 1 E. 57th St.; louisvuitton.com. Carved tourmaline and diamond earrings, Bochic (price on request). Kirna Zabete, 96 Greene St.; kirnazabete.com. Gray and bone inlay coffee table ($1,695), Cobble Hill Ernesto circular screen ($1,295) and Gregor Jenkin Studio steel console table ($5,995), ABC Home. 888 Broadway; abchome.com|
It’s a typically confusing New York day, when the city is unsure if it wants to whip your face with a chilling wind or warm your body thanks to cracks of sunlight that sneak through the warehouses massed along the West Side Highway. After being cleared by the refreshingly friendly security guard at Chelsea’s Hudson Studios, successfully navigating deserted hallways and several other photo shoots taking place, I stumble upon a scene straight out of Prêt-à-Porter, Robert Altman’s satirical film about the fashion business. Across a room of barely picked-at cheese plates, while European-inspired dance beats thump through someone’s iPod speakers, I see flames of red hair peeking out from the battalion of stylists, hair and makeup specialists, and photography assistants that have taken over the space. I have found Julianne Moore.
While I feel like a bull in a china shop in a setting like this, Moore appears quite the opposite. Comfortable, focused and almost indifferent to the fuss being made over her, she sports a swagger that screams, “I’ve done this before. I’m a professional. Let’s knock this out.”
The designer gowns have been exchanged for a T-shirt and jeans. Off comes the movie star makeup and up goes the hair into a ponytail, and we begin discussing her latest film, Crazy, Stupid, Love., which she stars in opposite Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling. “I worship at the altar of Steve Carell,” says Moore. “I love him on The Office and had such high expectations of him, and he did not disappoint. This whole entire movie was such a great experience. The director, Ryan, Emma Stone—I mean, everything just worked, and I was so happy to be able to do it.”
While this may seem like the stock celebrity sound bite, it’s not. It’s delivered with genuine enthusiasm and truth behind it. “The older I get, the more I want to do comedy,” she says. “Tragedy becomes less alluring. I think comedy is infinitely more interesting.”
In the film Moore plays Carell’s wife, and when their marriage falls apart comedic madness and life affirmations naturally ensue. “Comedy is not just people tripping and falling down. There’s always substance to it. I find it tonally closer to life sometimes than tragedy is.”
This type of big summer comedy is a far cry from the intensity of her past projects like Far from Heaven, Children of Men and The Hours. She’s admittedly proud and lucky to have been a part of pop culture favorites, like Boogie Nights and The Big Lebowski, and awards-season darlings A Single Man and The Kids Are All Right.
“The Kids Are All Right, I was attached to for six years,” she says. “That was a movie that took a long time to develop and get going, but I loved it and believed in it. Savage Grace is another one that took four years. The longer you act, there are lots of things that intrude that people think are what acting is about. But that’s what the business is about. You, as an actor, keep going back to, ‘Am I inside this story? Inside this character?’”
We’ve made our way now from the bustling set of her cover shoot to a more tranquil and secluded waiting room with a breathtaking view of Midtown. Visibly moved by what’s beyond the window, Moore clearly loves living in New York. Raising kids in the city has impacted the projects she chooses to take on. “Having two kids changes the location of what I do, that’s the trickiest thing. You try and work at home during the school year.” Even if their mom is an Academy Award-nominated actress, Moore is cool enough to admit, “Kids don’t care what their parents do.”
I ask her about wearing various hats: Mother. Actress. Philanthropist. (Moore is a US ambassador for Save the Children and works with other organizations that deal with children’s health and literacy). Today—and since her work with Bulgari and Tom Ford—she can add model to the list, yet she’s quick to point out, “That’s just pretend. A photograph is an image. It’s not a reality. There are a lot of people that create that image. There’s hair and makeup and wardrobe. There’s posing. Then all together as a group you create that image.”
Her own image as a serious actress making substantial films was cultivated with a string of independent movies and has endured to this day. “I worked in theater and TV for the first 10 years of my career,” says Moore. “Then in the early ’90s, when independent film really started getting out there, I did Safe, Short Cuts and Vanya on 42nd Street, and they all came out in the same year. That changed my career.”
At a time in Hollywood when many actresses are more famous for who they date than what they make, Moore is all about her work. Not just the day job that feeds a passion for storytelling and has her rubbing shoulders with fellow stars at the BAFTAs or the Golden Globes (she lights up when sharing a story about accosting the great British director Mike Leigh), but also the work of setting an example for her growing children, the ones that she reminds me she has to pick up from school like any other mom hoping to punch out early on a Friday. The sun has set on the city, we say goodbye and my brief glimpse into the organized confusion of an A-lister’s life has sadly come to an end. I think to myself that it must be nice being able to balance having it all.
Styling by Julie Matos for Ford Artists NYC
Hair by Renato Campora for Frédéric Fekkai Hair Care at The Wall Group
Makeup by Leslie Lopez at The Wall Group
Nails by Gina Viviano for artistsbytimothypriano.com
Set design by Jerry Schwartz at judycasey.com