Richard Glatzer’s and Wash Westmoreland’s Still Alice features a trio of powerful female performances from TFF alums Julianne Moore (The English Teacher, TFF 2013), Kristen Stewart (Fierce People, The Cake Eaters, TFF 2005 & 2007) and Kate Bosworth (While We Were Here, TFF 2013). Moore received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for her role as Alice Howland, a linguistics professor diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer’s disease. Stewart and Bosworth play her two daughters who must deal with their mother’s diagnosis as well as their own genetics.
Tribeca Film Festival: Q: So you got to be another fantastic addition to this acting ensemble.
Kate: Of course! I’ve known Julie [Moore] throughout the years on a personal level, and she’s such an extraordinary woman. I admire her so much. She’s someone I look up to in all areas of life. I felt very fortunate to be able to work with her on a professional level. I also had the opportunity to watch her craft her character, which was something of a marvel to behold. I loved performing with her and Kristen [Stewart]. It’s rare you get the opportunity to work with two women in such a complex manner. I feel the three of us connected so well.
We were able to explore this family of women together, and we each brought something different to our perspective roles. It isn’t something I get the opportunity to do often. Normally—with being the female—you’re kind of the lone wolf on set [laughs], so it was really lovely to connect with them in that way.
Q: Anna is the dutiful, responsible daughter as opposed to Kristen Stewart’s free-spirited Lydia. How did you approach that dynamic?
Kate: We really didn’t discuss it that much. Every actor has a different approach to his or her work. I don’t like to rehearse very much. I like to have the camera roll and see what happens. Because of timing, that’s how we worked on Still Alice. There wasn’t a lot of time for discussion or rehearsal. Kristen inhabited her character so effortlessly and beautifully. I think, given the difference in our ages, there already was a different dynamic in place between us.
I don’t know if my character Anna had every gone through a soul searching experience or had a need for that sort of self-discovery. I feel like she always knew what college she wanted to attend, what kind of degree she would get, what kind of man she would marry, when they should have a baby and so on. She was probably always targeted in that way. I like to think that Anna likes to feel and assume the grown up position more than Lydia, even though she too is struggling. I can definitely identify with that.
Growing up, I think I created armor for myself so that I would not be too vulnerable [laughs]. I love being at the age I am now. I feel like I’ve left all that behind. It was really nice to work with Kristen and see how she utilized this transitional/coming of age aspect of Lydia’s life to make her more open to her mother’s Alzheimer’s disease. That kind of openness makes Alice and Anna uncomfortable because they are women who like to think they are quite together. The switch happens when Anna is unable to deal with her mother on an emotional level and Lydia is able to come in and take over in that sense.
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