She plays a woman who experiences the shipwreck of her marriage in the romantic drama ‘Return to Hope Gap’
Four-time Oscar nominee, Annette Bening (Kansas, 62) has never managed to win the statuette, but that doesn’t stop her from being considered one of the strongest performers in the industry. Bening opens in theaters this week
‘Regreso a Hope Gap’, the drama of Grace, a brilliant and religious woman, faced with the abrupt abandonment of her husband after 30 years of marriage. Director William Nicholson, writer of ‘Gladiator’, tells the story of his parents’ marriage, a form of personal therapy to heal his own personal trauma. Grace and Edward, who is played by British actor Bill Nighy (Surrey, 70 years old), are the perfect portrait of a couple tired of living together.
-Why did you decide to interpret this film?
-The story as a whole was what attracted me. When I met William Nicholson there was an instant chemistry between us. I liked humor, because, although we are talking about a very serious subject, there is room for humor. I understood from the beginning that this material was very personal to him. The actors have the privilege of entering the intimate zone of the people
-The film is inspired by the true story of director William Nicholson. Did you talk to him about how to play his mother?
-Yes. I had many conversations with William about what actually happened with his mother. This story tells what happened during their separation, but the truth is that they never officially divorced. She was a very religious woman and did not accept divorce. Her husband respected her and a week after he was widowed, he married the woman for whom he left his marriage.
-What would you highlight about your character?
-Grace is incredibly smart, resourceful and sociable, but she has a lack of self-awareness that is disconcerting. I love its irrationality because I can imagine that I am like that. I like that, in some way, she is an impossible woman, full of contradictions. I have read somewhere that what initially makes you fall in love with a person ends up being what makes you despair of that person when you decide to divorce. I don’t know if it’s true, but I think that definitely happens in this marriage. What saddens me is that she was not able to see what was happening around her.
-Working with Nighy must have been a delight.
-Bill and I get along very, very well. We want to work together again on a comedy because this movie did not allow us to develop a rational relationship, trapped as we were within this miserable marriage.
-You have been married to Warren Beatty for three decades. Do you think that in a marriage where the couple grows up separately, both end up being antagonists?
-A breakup is always difficult. My job as an actress is to try to represent the characters as they are written in the script without judging them.
-Poetry was a stick on which Grace relies to overcome her divorce. Did you read the poets that she liked?
-Yes. I found it very brave of William to show his mother’s vulnerability and her literary refuge. Thanks to Grace I have discovered poets that I did not know. In life we all need a passion to help us through difficult times and literature is an escape for many of us.
-Your next film is ‘Death on the Nile’, what can you anticipate?
-It is a faithful version of the novel and I would like to be able to share something else, but they won’t let me.
-You have been working in the industry for 40 years, what kind of characters are you looking for right now?
-I find myself refreshingly free; at the same time that Hollywood seems to have awakened from its slumber giving mature actresses the opportunity to continue working on important projects. It is a wonderful timing. I think I have never felt so free as now, because my children have grown up and I can go where I want, in addition, I have found that the same thing offers me a role in a superhero film like ‘Captain Marvel’, a mystery blockbuster like ‘Death on the Nile’, a political biography like ‘The Report’ or a romantic drama like ‘Return to Hope Gap’.
-The fact that your children have left the nest, does it give you more opportunities?
-Sure. Being alone with my husband and dog, I have much more free time to dedicate to my work. After decades working close to home for my children, I now have the opportunity to travel far from Los Angeles.
-What are your favorite movies?
-I must confess that, although I like to star in action movies, I prefer stories dedicated to an audience of my age. Hollywood dedicates too many films to the youth, and we, I mean the mature audience, we also go to the cinema.
-In addition to the intimate aspect of developing a character, what do you enjoy in your profession?
-I’m an actress, and I want the public to remember me when I leave the room.