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Annette Bening's obsession

September 19, 2009 | 12:55 pm

Annette Bening Annette Bening is obsessed. Obsessed with a capital O, with “Medea,” she says repeatedly.

The 51-year-old actress, mother of four and wife of Warren Beatty has played some fantastically scheming and oft-deluded women, in films such as “The Grifters,” American Beauty,” “Being Julia” and “Mrs. Harris.”

Starting Sept. 23 she tackles Euripides' famed anti-heroine, perhaps one of the most famous jilted women in all of history, for a brief, three-week run at UCLA's Freud Playhouse. Medea murders her two little boys to exact revenge on her faithless spouse Jason, the Argonaut hero who captured the golden fleece – albeit with Medea’s help.

Over Labor Day weekend, Bening and her Croatian director, Lenka Udovicki, sat down with The Times for what turned out to be a wide-ranging conversation on passions run amok, mothers and heady expectations about the women who bear us.

“I do think that we do have a different set of standards that we apply to women. There is a part of all of us that wants the mother to be totally self-sacrificing," says Bening. “The best mother is there. They give you the bottle when you’re hungry. They change your diaper. They are there to pick you up from kindergarten. They are there to discuss your period with you. There is a picture that we all have in our gut which is 'answer my needs, and if you answer my needs then you’re a good mother,' and we all know … that’s a lie. No woman can do that. No human being can do that.”

To read the full article, click here.

-- Rachel Abramowitz

Photo: Annette Bening as Medea. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times