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Category: Glenn Close

Oscars 2012: Glenn Close 'over the moon’; 'Albert Nobbs' her baby

January 24, 2012 |  8:06 am

Albert Nobbs

Glenn Close was awaiting a car to take her to the set of her television series "Damages" when she received word of her Oscar nomination for best actress for her starring turn in the period drama "Albert Nobbs," in which she plays a woman who disguises herself as a man to gain employment in Ireland. Close said it was a regular "working day" -- but a good one for her and the film she worked for years to bring to the screen.

"I'm thrilled. I'm over the moon," Close said, expressing joy on behalf of the movie's three nominations. In addition to her own recognition, her costar, British actress Janet McTeer, was nominated for her supporting turn, as were Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston and Matthew W. Mungle, the makeup artists on the movie.

The makeup "helps you get into character," Close said. "It’s integral to building the character --  absolutely. Every morning to start from scratch with your naked face and slowly have those characters develop to the point where you don’t know yourself. There was always this tipping point. That was huge, it was almost a meditation."

FULL COVERAGE: The Oscar nominees

Close first played the character of Nobbs in an Obie Award-winning production in 1982. She not only stars in the film, but she also co-produced it and co-wrote the screenplay with Irish novelist John Banville and Gabriella Prekop. She even penned the lyrics for the movie's theme song, a melancholic Irish "lullaby" composed by Brian Byrne and sung by Sinead O'Connor. (The song was overlooked for an Oscar nomination Tuesday.)

No CGI work was done on “Albert Nobbs,” according to Mungle. He used earlobe extensions and a nose tip on Close, as well as dental plumpers to push out the bottom of her jaw, giving her a more manly look.

“After I finished doing Glenn’s makeup [the first time], she looked in the mirror and started tearing up because she could feel that was Albert Nobbs, she could start becoming the character," Mungle said in an earlier interview. "With computer-generated [effects], you don’t know what the character is going to end up looking like -- you’re just saying the lines.”


And the nominees are ...

PHOTOS: 84th Academy Awards nominees

Pals Clooney, Pitt are rivals; ‘Artist,’ ‘Hugo’ dominate

-- Deborah Vankin

Photo: Glenn Close in "Albert Nobbs" Credit: Roadside Attractions 

Sinead O'Connor performs at 'Albert Nobbs' soundtrack release party

January 7, 2012 |  1:32 pm


Friday night, at a cocktail party celebrating the release of the “Albert Nobbs” soundtrack, Glenn Close, Sinead O’Connor and Irish composer Brian Byrne might have seemed an unlikely grouping. Close was well-coiffed in a tailored slacks and heels; O’Connor, barefoot, wore a floor-length black coat that revealed colorful chest tattoos; and Byrne, a self-described relative “newcomer” to A-list Hollywood circles, looked a bit star struck. 

But, in fact, the trio was in perfect harmony.

Close elegantly hosted the 100 or so guests –- mostly music executives, film producers and personal friends -- over caviar and tuna tartare appetizers at West Hollywood’s Palihouse. Byrne entertained the crowd with a piano performance. But the highlight of the affair, held by the Irish Film Board and Varese Sarabande Records, was undoubtedly O’Connor’s live performance of the film’s theme song, a melancholic Irish “lullaby” called “Lay Your Head Down.” 


As O’Connor belted out the tune, with Steve Erdodie playing cello and Jennifer Curtis the violin, Close stood nearby with tears in her eyes. Not only does she star in “Nobbs” as a cross-dressing waiter circa 1890s, she also co-produced the movie, co-wrote the script and penned the lyrics for Byrne’s theme song, which O’Connor recorded for the film. It has since received a Golden Globe nomination.

So O’Connor’s performance Friday night was particularly meaningful for Close. “She has this extraordinary quite ethereal voice,” Close said, beaming.

Byrne, for his part, is particularly proud of Close’s lyrics. He said he composed the song shortly after his father had passed away, which largely inspired the song’s moody, heartfelt tone. But, hard as he tried, he couldn’t get the lyrics right. “Glenn knew every character inside and out. I said ‘Why don’t you write the lyrics?’ and she jumped at the chance,” Byrne said. “She brought another dimension to the score with these words that I could never write, and I think they’re really, really great. In essence, it’s made Albert live beyond the movie.”

To O’Connor, the song summons a key theme of the movie: “Just the idea of having someone who you can really be yourself with," she said, "reveal yourself, and they’ll accept you for who you are.” 

To hear the song, check out the video below:

-- Deborah Vankin


Top photo: Sinead O'Connor performs "Lay Your Head Down" at Palihouse.  Credit: Deborah Vankin

Bottom photo: Glenn Close hosts the "Albert Nobbs" soundtrack party. Credit: Deborah Vankin

Breakfast gets interesting -- 'Albert Nobbs' exclusive clip

January 4, 2012 | 11:42 am

"Albert Nobbs" stars Glenn Close as a middle-aged sexual innocent who masquerades as a man to secure employment as a waiter in poverty-stricken 19th century Ireland. Quiet and withdrawn, Albert has been leading a double life, taping down her breasts and dressing as a man for so long she's lost touch with who she once was. British actress Janet McTeer plays Albert's confidant, Hubert Page, a lesbian secretly living in domestic bliss with the love of her life.

Based on the short story by 19th century Irish writer George Moore, the movie represents the culmination of a 30-year artistic odyssey for Close, one that netted her both Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations. She not only plays the title character (as she did in an Obie Award-winning off-Broadway production in 1982), she also co-produced the film and co-wrote the screenplay with Irish novelist John Banville and Gabriella Prekop. She even penned the lyrics for the movie's theme song.

Though the film has crossing-dressing woman at its center, Close told The Times the film is not about gender politics, but rather the universal quest for human connection.

"It's not a story about lesbianism,” Close said. “For Albert, it's about survival; it's only about sexual identity in that she has none."

Still, “Albert Nobbs” is rife with double entendres and gender play. In this exclusive clip from Roadside Attractions, Albert brings the heavy-drinking house doctor, played by Brendan Gleeson, his morning “eye-opener.”  The two “men” share a private moment -- could Albert be considering taking a wife?

--Deborah Vankin


Golden Globes: Janet McTeer isn't looking forward to dressing up for ceremony

December 15, 2011 | 10:54 am

Janet McTeer talks about being nominated for a Golden Globe award

When Janet McTeer got wind of her Golden Globe nomination for supporting actress in “Albert Nobbs,” she was in Luxembourg. And why, exactly?

“I know, what am I doing here? Hiding money?” she said with a laugh. In fact, the 50-year-old British actress had just wrapped production on Margarethe von Trotta’s “Hannah Arendt” in the western European country. Because of her shooting schedule, McTeer has yet to celebrate her good week, which also included a SAG Award nomination Wednesday.

PHOTOS: Golden Globe top nominees

“Are you kidding me? My days are far too long, and I wake up and get into a 1960s hairdo,” she said of her busy schedule. “But since I wrapped tonight, I have every intention of having a glass of something.”

“Albert Nobbs,” which also stars Golden Globe and SAG Award nominee Glenn Close, opens in only a handful of theaters next week. But McTeer is hopeful that the nominations she and her co-star received will help boost the film’s box office receipts.

FULL COVERAGE: Golden Globes

“I do hope so. We’re a small independent film that hasn’t got 6 million pounds to publicize the thing,” she said.

Meanwhile, McTeer is looking forward to the Globes, when she can spend time with Close — though she’s not looking forward to wearing a fancy gown.

“I absolutely loathe getting dressed up, and so does Glenn. We’re always sure we’ll trip over the back of our dresses and one day we’re going to walk down the red carpet and fall,” she said. “But the older you get, the less nervous about these things you get, because everyone is looking at someone who is 19.”


Golden Globes: The complete list of nominees

Golden Globes: Cable shows dominate TV nominations

More coverage of the Golden Globes and SAG nominations

— Amy Kaufman


Photo: Janet McTeer stars in "Albert Nobbs." Credit: Patrick Redmond / Roadside Attractions.

SAG Awards: Double nominee Glenn Close is having a 'wonderful' day

December 14, 2011 | 11:45 am

Glenn Close talks about her SAG Award nominations, one for her starring turn in the upcoming movie “Albert Nobbs” and the other for her lead role TV's "Damages"
Glenn Close is having a hectic but "wonderful" day. It's a particularly busy shooting schedule for her on the New York set of her television series “Damages,” but this morning, Close also scored two SAG Award nominations, one for her starring turn in the upcoming movie "Albert Nobbs" and the other for her lead role on the FX TV drama.

"It's wonderful, wonderful. I don't take anything for granted," she said on a break from shooting and still dressed in what she calls her "Patty suit," referring to her character, Patty Hewes "The Patty nomination was a bit surprising because we'd been away for a while, but it's a show with a very strong, engaged following, which is lovely."

Close said she is especially pleased about the two nominations for "Albert Nobbs," which opens Dec. 23 and is a passion project for the actress. She's lived with the character of Albert -– a poor Irish woman who dresses as a male waiter to find employment -- for almost three decades, having played the character onstage in a 1982 theatrical adaptation. She's also a producer on the movie and co-wrote the script with author John Banville.

"I'm really thrilled Albert was nominated. It's phenomenal. To be nominated by my peers, because of all that went into being able to finally make this movie, it's incredibly gratifying to me," she said. "To think [the film] was made for just under $8 million and took 34 days. When you see the incredible work done in that time, it represents some of the best there is across all areas, from the makeup and hair to our production designer, the DP, the actors -– everyone."

But the nomination Close was perhaps most jazzed about was Janet McTeer's, her costar in "Albert Nobbs" and her new BFF. McTeer, who was nominated for her supporting role, is in Europe today, but the friends shared a text exchange that showed their mutual affection and admiration:

McTeer: "Hurray. Well done darling girl."

Close: "Bravo to you. I’m so happy we'll be there together."


SAG Awards: The complete list of nominees

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SAG Awards: "The Help," "Bridesmaids" among cast nominees

-- Deborah Vankin

Photo: Glenn Close and Janet McTeer in "Albert Nobbs." Credit: Patrick Redmond / Roadside Attractions

SAG Awards: Meet 'Albert Nobbs,' 'Kevin' and 'The Iron Lady'

December 14, 2011 |  9:49 am

Albert Nobbs
This year's SAG Awards nominees, announced Wednesday morning, include a number of performances in films that haven't opened yet, have only had brief one-week runs to qualify for Academy Awards consideration, or simply flew under the radar. Here's a quick overview if you were stumped by titles including "Albert Nobbs," "We Need to Talk About Kevin" and "The Iron Lady."

"Albert Nobbs," about a woman living a double life as a man to work and survive in 19th century Ireland, received nominations for lead actress Glenn Close and supporting actress Janet McTeer. If you haven't seen the film, it's because it doesn't open until next week. The film did play at the Telluride and Toronto film festivals, where its awards campaign began in earnest. 

Tilda Swinton received a lead actress nomination for her role in "We Need to Talk About Kevin," in which she plays a mother struggling to come to terms with her son's involvement in a school shooting. The film began a one-week qualifying run in L.A. and New York on Dec. 9 and will open commercially in the same cities Jan. 27. It played at the Cannes Film Festival in May, and you can watch our video report below or read Kenneth Turan's review of the film here.

"The Iron Lady," a biopic about Margaret Thatcher, garnered a lead actress nomination for Meryl Streep. The film opens Dec. 30 in L.A. and New York and will go nationwide Jan. 13. British critics have lauded her performance.

Some low-profile performances from earlier in the year that earned SAG nominations include Demian Bichir's turn in "A Better Life," in which he plays an illegal-immigrant gardener trying to provide for his son; Nick Nolte in "Warrior," in which he plays the estranged father of dueling brothers; and  Christopher Plummer in "Beginners," in a supporting role as a recently out-of-the-closet widower who embraces his new lifestyle with gusto. 

The SAG Awards winners will be named Jan. 29 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.



SAG Awards: The complete list of nominees

'Warrior': Nick Nolte on whether a felon could win an Oscar

SAG Awards: Demián Bichir, Armie Hammer among surprise nominees

— Oliver Gettell

Photo: Glenn Close in "Albert Nobbs." Credit: Patrick Redmond / Roadside Attractions

Telluride Film Fest: Glenn Close gender bends in 'Albert Nobbs'

September 2, 2011 |  8:15 pm

Glenn Close as Albert Nobbs 
The very first person you see in “Albert Nobbs” is Mr. Nobbs himself—or should that be herself?

The central conceit of the new movie starring Glenn Close, who first played Nobbs in a play nearly 30 years ago, is that Mr. Nobbs, as everyone calls the turn-of-the-century Irish waiter, is not what he appears. In fact, he’s not a man at all, but a woman (played by Close), passing as a man.

Loosely adapted from the short story “Albert Nobbs” by 19th century Irish writer George Moore (which became Close’s Obie Award-winning off-Broadway play “The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs” by French playwright Simone Benmussa), the movie enjoyed its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival on Friday night.

The film, due out in December, raises an array of challenging questions about gender, identity and same-sex attraction.

Described as “such a kind little man” by another character in the film, Nobbs is in fact a very complicated bundle of conflicted and unrequited emotions and desires. While she struggles to preserve her disguise — a choice she made after a personal trauma, but also motivated by professional ambition— Nobbs simultaneously tries to resolve her naive feelings about desire while trying to escape an existence that is unsatisfying on several levels.

As one character played by Janet McTeer says to Nobbs in the film, “You don’t have to be anything but who you are.” But that simple statement raises countless corollaries.

Is Dobbs’ passing a temporary means to an entrepreneurial end? Has her deception fundamentally changed how she sees herself, other women and other men? And how does a century-old world handle same-sex relations, when gay marriage even today is for many an offensive concept?

It’s the kind of role that Close said she had to play before she died. And in recent years, gender-masking performances in other films have captivated audiences and awards voters, most notably Hilary Swank in 1999’s “Boys Don’t Cry” and Jaye Davidson in 1992’s “The Crying Game.”

The 64-year-old Close, who has been nominated for an Oscar five times without winning, tried to bring the story to the screen for years, and even began scouting locations 10 years ago. While collaborating with director Rodrigo Garcia on 2005’s “Nine Lives” (the two also joined forces on 1999’s “Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her”), Close decided she had found her filmmaker. Close also produced “Albert Nobbs.”

In addition to McTeer, the film co-stars Mia Wasikowska (“Alice in Wonderland”), Aaron Johnson (“Kick-Ass”) and Brendan Gleeson (“The Guard”).


Telluride Film Festival Lineup

Glenn Close likely to get Oscar push

George Clooney asks Telluride to lift photo ban

--John Horn, from Telluride, Colo.

Photo: Glenn Close in “Albert Nobbs.” Credit: Patrick Redmond

Telluride film lineup: 'Descendants,' 'Albert Nobbs,' 'Shame'

September 1, 2011 | 11:00 am


Two of the last three best picture Oscar winners — “The King’s Speech” and “Slumdog Millionaire” — had their world premieres here at the Telluride Film Festival.

Organizers of the idiosyncratic cinematic celebration in southwest Colorado didn’t exactly plan it that way (the Academy Awards attention is actually a minor if welcome embarrassment to them), but as the 2011 event kicks off this weekend, everyone’s watching to see if their Midas touch will continue.

On paper, there’s a real contender: Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants,” the writer-director’s first film since 2004’s Merlot-bashing “Sideways.” Starring George Clooney as a disconnected father of two girls whose life is upended after his wife’s traumatic brain injury, the movie holds the potential to be a critical and art-house triumph.

But for the programmers in Telluride, whose 38th annual festival runs from Friday to Monday, Hollywood statuettes and box-office riches are hardly top of mind.

The quirky event prides itself on providing an antidote to Hollywood formulas, as organizers lard the festival with “Ulysses”-length undertakings (this year, it’s Martin Scorsese’s 3 1/2-hour documentary about Beatle George Harrison), demanding dramas (director Steve McQueen’s sexual obsession story “Shame”) and relatively unknown foreign-language imports, including films from Chile, Finland, Hungary, Poland, Belgium and Albania. Eclecticism, in other words, trumps populism.

“The commercial stuff does not jump out at you,” said Julie Huntsinger, who with Tom Luddy and Gary Meyer directs the festival. “But we think it’s a great bouquet.”

In its determination to program its Labor Day lineup the way a fromager might assemble a spread of obscure cheeses, the Telluride team attracts more small-town cinéastes than Hollywood deal makers, though this year two talent agencies will host fancy parties at local estates. Because festival passes are sold before the film schedule is released, festival guests arrive in the small ski resort town (at the head-spinning elevation of 8,750 feet) with no idea what they’re going to see.

“We’ve always felt lucky that our crowd is so dedicated,” Huntsinger said. “We always encourage people to be adventurous, and they’re going to have to be this year.”

Glenn_close_albert_nobbs In addition to “The Descendants,” “Shame” and Scorsese’s “Living in the Material World,” Telluride audiences will also get to see the world or North American premieres of Werner Herzog’s death-row documentary “Into the Abyss: A Tale of Death, a Tale of Life”; Glenn Close’s performance as a turn-of-the-century Irish woman passing for a male waiter in “Albert Nobbs”; Michael Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen as Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud in director David Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method”; and the environmentally themed documentaries “Bitter Seeds” (a look at genetically modified crops) and “The Island President” (about the Maldives).

Although it is not yet part of the official film list, “Butter,” a comedy about a butter-carving competition, is expected to be shown at the festival.

The foreign-language titles include Finland’s “Le Havre,” Hungary’s “The Turin Horse,” Chile’s “Bonsái,” Mexico’s “Perdida,” Iran’s “A Separation,” Israel’s “Footnote,” Poland’s “In Darkness,” Brazil’s “Passerby” and France’s “Goodbye First Love.” Joshua Marston, the writer-director of 2004’s “Maria Full of Grace,” will bring his new international story “The Forgiveness of Blood” to Telluride.

Clooney will receive a festival tribute, as will Tilda Swinton, who stars in “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” a story of a woman whose young son commits a Columbine-style massacre. The film showed this spring in Cannes and is coming to Telluride as well.

Jim Burke, who produced Payne’s “The Descendants,” believes the film is a perfect fit for Telluride’s welcoming audience. “We view it as a festival that is exclusively dedicated to film and the enjoyment of film,” said Burke, who traveled to Telluride with his 2007 production “The Savages.” “You get into this movie zone — it’s like a high. It’s just a wonderful spot to see films and to talk about them.”

But the festival isn’t the only big event this weekend in Telluride.

Down the winding highway a bit, at the 17,000-acre ranch owned by fashion designer Ralph Lauren, there will be a wedding of two famous families. On Sunday, the designer’s son David Lauren will marry Lauren Bush (niece of former President George W. Bush); dress code is reportedly “black tie with a western twist.”

Maybe the couple will want to take a movie honeymoon and check out an interesting Polish film after the ceremony. If so, we know just the place.


Photos: Scene at the 2011 Venice Film Festival

Photos: George Clooney, Evan Rachel Wood and more at Venice Film Festival

-- John Horn in Telluride, Colo.

Photos, from top: George Clooney and Shailene Woodley star in "The Descendants," which will unspool in Telluride; Glenn Close at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. Credits New York Film Festival; Eric Gaillard / Reuters

Glenn Close's 'Albert Nobbs' coming to theaters in the fall, and maybe Oscars?

July 5, 2011 |  1:12 pm

Glenn Close hasn't been a formidable Oscar contender since the 1980s, when in a seven-year span she landed a remarkable five nominations, for her roles in films such as "Fatal Attraction" and "Dangerous Liaisons."

That could change this year: The actress' new gender-bending drama, "Albert Nobbs," has been acquired for distribution by film companies Liddell Entertainment and Roadside Attractions. The companies said Tuesday they will bring the film to theaters in the fall and plan an Oscar campaign for Close.

A sort of of Irish "Yentl," "Nobbs" centers on a woman who poses as a male butler in a Dublin hotel in the 1860s, pretending to be a man so she can survive economically. The film's drama turns on a relationship Nobbs has with a male painter who turns out to have a secret of his own.

Close played the character in an off-Broadway production of the story in the early 1980s, winning an Obie Award for her effort. (The play was adapted from a short story by George Moore, as "The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs.")

“Glenn Close appears in nearly every frame as Albert Nobbs, and her performance is masterful,” Liddell Entertainment principal Mickey Liddell said in a statement.  “This is an intimate film full of big ideas in the tradition of 'Gosford Park' and 'Sense and Sensibility.' "

Close, who co-wrote and produced the movie, has been trying to get a film version made for years before securing financing for the Irish-based production in 2010. Rodrigo Garcia ("Mother & Child," "Six Feet Under") directed; the film also stars young comers Mia Wasikowska and Aaron Johnson -- both came on last year after Amanda Seyfried and Orlando Bloom dropped out.

Close has taken home an armload of statuettes in her career. Known recently for her role as the complicated Patty Hewes in the FX hit "Damages, " she has won three Emmys, three Tonys and two Golden Globes but has never walked off with an Oscar.

Gender-benders tend to go over well come Oscar time: "Transamerica," "The Crying Game" and "Yentl" all yielded acting nominations.


L.A. Times Showtracker: 'Damages'

Mia Wasikowska: The quiet observer

Gold Derby: Forum on 'Albert Nobbs'

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Glenn Close. Credit: Jennifer S. Altman / For The Times


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