In the youtube video Flat Hat Special: Glenn Close '74, the actress says that she's going to work with Al Pacino? Or does she mean that it's a wish? I cannot find information about a play or movie that they are doing together. Do you know anything about this? Thank you.
Hi, anon. I’ve no idea. Sorry. ps. There’s a film called casting by (2012). That’s the only thing I can find at this point.
In a telephone interview from Los Angeles, California, both Close and Byrne talk candidly about their characters and the series, which is currently in its fifth and final season.
But first, we have to get past the laughter. Just seconds into the interview, Byrne breaks into a fit of giggles which takes a couple of minutes to subside.
“I’m sorry,” offers Close, clearly amused at her co-star. “Rose gets this way at times. She can get into these giggling fits where she can’t stop. She has no control and tears start rolling down her face and we don’t quite know what to do. I mean, we can’t look at her because we’ll start laughing and the crew starts laughing … and the poor producers are looking at their watches.”
Byrne barely pulls herself together and apologises.
“I think the tone of the show was so heavy so it was good to keep things a little light,” explains Byrne in a thick Australian accent, which she skilfully masks on the show.
“We have a lot of fun on the set,” adds Close, “We’re funny people. Ted (Danson) is funny and Tate Donovan … he’s a really funny guy. He has a great sense of humour. I mean he can’t remember his lines … but he’s a really funny guy.”
The two, particularly Byrne, break out in laughter again as they talk about Donovan, but this time it’s more contained.
The laughter helps break the ice as telephone interviews are never easy, particularly when the show is so serious and the talents are so accomplished.
“I think our writers were excited about writing for women and I think Rose and I brought some real collaboration with the development of those characters. It (the relationship between Hewes and Parsons) is very much a love-hate relationship. You feel that these women will never work with someone like each other again.
“They know that they make an extraordinary team and I always felt that Patty sees Ellen as this daughter she never had. This love between them makes it much more difficult and complex,” says Close.
Adds Byrne: “This whole thing with Patty and Ellen … their relationship isn’t about men. It’s a far more complicated relationship about power, struggle, manipulation and about teaching and learning. I can’t recall seeing that between two women on TV. It’s really fascinating the way that they’ve (the show’s writers) chosen to examine a relationship. And unique.”
The 32-year-old actress from Sydney, Australia, got her start in acting when she was 13, landing a role in Australian film Dallas Doll, co-starring American actress Sandra Bernhard. Her first Hollywood role was as Dorme, hand maiden to senator Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman) in Star Wars: Episode II: Attack Of The Clones (in a past interview, Byrne joked about her role in the movie saying, “… blink and you’ll miss me.
“Basically, I was just standing behind Natalie Portman looking really serious). She went on to act alongside Brad Pitt in Troy. It was, however, her role in Damages that brought her to the forefront.
“I’ve never played a character with such an extreme arc as Ellen, in terms of where she started and where she finishes and that was really wild. Playing a character on a long running series is like being in a novel because you don’t really know what’s going to happen next. It’s very day-to-day and I’ve never experienced that before,” says Byrne who recently won praise for her comedic role in Bridesmaids (2011).
Close, 65, is certainly no stranger to picking challenging roles: from Alex Forrest, the jealous mistress in the hit movie Fatal Attraction, to the scheming Marquise de Merteuil in Dangerous Liaisons and more recently, Captain Monica Rawling on cop series The Shield.
And although Hewes is largely seen as the “villain” on the show, Close sees a vulnerable side to her which she says viewers too will get to see by the end of the series.
“I’m not going to give anything away, but near the very end, you get a revelation about Patty that makes you understand why she is the way she is and that is pretty powerful.
“The writers explained a whole lot about her that had never been dramatised before and I was really moved by it.
“It gave me real insight into this character that I have been playing for five years and I think, on the writers’ part, that was quite an astounding achievement … to be able to learn something new about the character on the last episode of the fifth year. I have utmost respect and awe of what they did,” the actress discloses.
Regardless, Close has never shied away from expressing her admiration for the uncompromising Hewes and the strength she represents for women on TV as well as in life.
Choosing roles that empower women is something Close does deliberately.
“As women, what we choose to do and the types of shows we choose to be in … that’s our contribution. I take that quite seriously. I don’t like to do scripts that denegrade women or have violence against women. There are some things I won’t do because I don’t want to perpetuate an idea or blow up an issue that I don’t think should exist,” she says emphatically.
Despite their love for the show, both women are ready to say goodbye to their roles. Byrne feels that her character comes full circle in the final season and that fans will not be disappointed with how the show ends.
“Being on the show was a turning point in my life but I think the time was right for the writers and everyone to end on a really high powerful note. This season really explores Ellen’s character. It is Ellen becoming an adult. In Season One, she was a child growing up and then we see her rebelling against Patty to finally blossoming into her own. It is a really powerful show and very haunting,” says Byrne.
The end of the series, reckons Close, does not quite mean saying goodbye to her character.
“I think you never really let a character go, especially one that you’ve played for five years. The characters stay with you pretty much forever. What you take away from that character … it becomes part of your library and I just feel incredibly privileged to play Patty Hewes.”
She, however, reveals that Damages may well be the last TV series for her.
“(When you do a series), you have to sign your life away for possibly six years and at this point in my life … (laughter)… that’s a lot. I love television and if there is a great miniseries or a TV movie, I’d love to do it. But not for six years. But then again …. who knows?” she says, laughing along with Byrne once again.
“I have to keep myself from just finding a comfortable place and reading forever,” Glenn said in a recent interview. “That’s what I love the most, so I always feel guilty, because there are 500 other things to do. I love to read, to be outside and be with my dogs. The way I refill myself the best is to go somewhere in nature, away from the madding crowd.” Glenn shared that she enjoys doing this in Wyoming, where her 88-year-old mother lives.
What do you miss most about working on “Damages”?
It was a great place to work—the Steiner Studios in Brooklyn. It’s a fantastic facility. I’ll miss going there every day. We spent five years with our crew. There are certain people who you know will be your friends for the rest of your life. I feel that about a lot of the people in “Damages.”
What did you learn from playing Patty?
I learned how to learn lines very fast—that’s for sure. I learned how acute your short-term memory can be when it’s honed every day. You learn things when you’re developing a character—another set of factors that make that particular human being special, because you lived with that character for five years. I learned in the last episode what my relationship with my father was and what her childhood had been like. I found it moving and very sad. It was amazing to me that there was still something to be revealed in the last episode of the final season.
If you look back at your career, what were its turning points?
The first big turning point was when I was cast in a film. I had just done theater, and I was cast by Marion Dougherty and George Roy Hill in “The World According to Garp.” That set me, then people started thinking of me for movies. “Fatal Attraction” was another important moment in my career, because it was about a sexual woman. I played mothers and asexual nurses before that (laughing). That opened things up. That and Cruella de Vil are perhaps the two biggest.
I think “The Shield” was also an interesting point in my career. It was the first time that I had done a series, which led to “Damages”—one of the great experiences of my career!
Was there any role that you wish you did?
I would have liked to play Dian Fossey in the movie (“Gorillas in the Mist”) that Sigourney (Weaver) did. Sigourney was wonderful in it. My dad had been in the Congo. I remember auditioning for the movie, then finding out that it was after the fact. My audition was a matter of courtesy. I’m fascinated with that kind of character because she was a difficult woman. She was very passionate about something that was important. We’re better off for the difficult types who come along and plough the field. I thought Dian was one those people. I was fascinated by her.
What’s next for you? Will you take a sabbatical or consider scripts?
All of the above (laughing). I’ve been taking some time off. I’ve been doing a lot of work for my organization, Bring Change 2 Mind. I’m set to start “Always On My Mind,” a movie with Nick Nolte in January or February that I’m very excited about. I’ve also put my name on some independent films. If I can get my life to a point where I could spend time writing every day…I’ve got to get into the habit of it, but I do want to try to write again.
Is directing in your future?
I’d love it to be, but I always just die to have time at home. It’s always a crazy balance of trying to find time where you can renew yourself. I would love to direct—maybe a TV episode would be fun to start in!
Thanks for posting the Damages SAG video. I"m not a Tumblr member, but I wanted to ask you about Rose's right hand. During the video, she keeps it covered with a napkin. Do you know if it was injured or something? Thanks.