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Kinsey - Laura Linney Q&A



Compiled by: Jack Foley

Q: I read on the Internet that you gained weight to play Clara by eating doughnuts – true?
A:
That’s one of the few things on the Internet that’s true. I did. I ate a lot of doughnuts! I was thrilled at the idea at first. No exercise and I could eat anything I wanted.
My favourite food group happened to be doughnuts, so I just let myself have a good old time. I enjoyed it. Getting it off was tricky because I had two days off before I did P.S. They were very concerned abut the weight I gained. They wanted me to lose it, and I was like, ‘I’m not going to be able to. 22lbs is not going to come off in 48 hours!’
So what happened was that I gained the weight for the early sections – as it was important to Bill that her body was seen as not a contemporary one. Then when the fat suit started to go on, I was able to lose the weight.

Q: Did you also wear something to change your skin?
A:
She ages, so there were a lot of prosthetics. And it was painted. They did a beautiful job. There were three different wigs and fake eyebrows. That’s what was most impressive to me – those eyebrows. No-one could tell! The eyebrows, the brown contact lenses, the prosthetics. It was a lot of fun.

Q: Are you glad it wasn’t as extreme as say Charlize Theron’s effort in Monster?
A:
Yeah, you don’t want it to distract. It’s also difficult when you’re playing someone whose ageing but isn’t that old. Early fifties isn’t that old. She’s a woman in her early fifties who didn’t dye her hair, didn’t wear make-up…she’s just an athletic, mid-western, solid feet-on-the-ground type of gal.

Q: What did you know about Kinsey before you started?
A:
I knew the Kinsey report existed. I’d heard of it and I’d heard of Alfred Kinsey, and I knew that when it came out, things changed. But I knew nothing of the politics or the evolution of that research or anything about them personally.

Q: How do you think the report changed America?
A:
It changed our culture completely. Yes, America has a Puritanical background. It’s part of the national character, in a way. Whether you like it or not, it’s part of our history.
When he published that information, he changed our culture completely. But what was so interesting to me about making the movie was taking a look at America’s history with its relationship to sex and sexual behaviour, to see the history of that. Pre-Kinsey, post-Kinsey, now – and the schizophrenic relationship America has with sex.

Q: Why does it have this?
A:
It just does. Sexuality has been laid claim to by morality in a way. But at the same time, it is used shamelessly to make money – an enormous amount of money! So it’s a very schizophrenic relationship this country has to sex.

Q: If Kinsey hadn’t existed, what would’ve happened, do you think?
A:
I think it would’ve happened. If it hadn’t been Kinsey, it would’ve been someone else. Probably. It would’ve happened much later – but who knows? You never know.

Q: The film takes a very clinical view of sex…
A:
I think that’s what they were doing. It’s a look at what this man did, how he did it and what happened. It’s not a sexy movie, if that’s what you mean. Nor should it be.

Q: You’ve worked with Liam before. Did you actually share scenes on Love Actually?
A:
No, but we saw each other occasionally on the set of Love Actually, which was fun.
We had done The Crucible together on stage in New York. We always joke that it’s the Proctors reincarnated as the Kinseys! To have that close relationship with someone on stage for a good solid amount of time, and then be able to make a movie with the soon after that, it’s Heaven. There was trust, humour and good will…and we work really, really well together. We don’t even discuss a lot. It just works. I can’t imagine it with someone else.

Q: What does Liam bring to the role?
A:
Well… his talent! That’s not a facetious answer, either. Liam’s a real actor. He behaves, acts and conducts himself like a real actor. He does an enormous amount of work, and his priorities are in the right place. He’s one hundred per cent committed and he’s as fascinated with the complexities of the human condition as I am, as Bill is. He’s just a great person to work with.

Q: You often work with real actors anyway – is this by luck or choice?
A:
Probably both. I don’t know. I don’t mean to sound like a snob when I say a ‘real actor’. You hope to do as many things as you possibly can, in as many different circumstances with as many different people. I’ve worked with some people who’ve had very little experience and are amazing. And I learned an amazing amount from them. So I don’t mean to sound like a snob.
But this part required someone who could sculpt something and really put something together. Not many people could pull off what he did in this.

Q: What did you think of Kinsey as a man?
A:
He could be extremely difficult. He’s awkward, obsessed and his mind worked in a very particular way.

Q: Did you meet any of the Kinsey family?
A:
We met Kinsey’s granddaughter. She came to the set and also to Toronto, when the film screened there. The children themselves kept a respectful distance, which is prefectly understandable. I’m sure it’s never easy – but it’s my understanding that they have seen the film and like it very much.

Q: In your other new film, P.S., you play a very sexually liberated woman. It’s as if she’s read the Kinsey report…
A:
True – but the thing about the report is that it’s really boring! It is not fun to read. It’s a scientific tome. It’s full of graphs. There’s nothing sensual about it. It’s dry, dry, dry…

Q: Can you talk about your P.S. character?
A:
She’s a contemporary woman, living in Manhattan at the age of 39. She’s lived a bit. She’s so complex. It was fantastic. To look at a woman who has really hit a moment of life panic, and doesn’t understand what’s happened to her life and why it’s gotten to the place that it has. Shattered expectations…she’s paralysed by that.

Q: You’ve worked with Clint Eastwood twice. A big fan?
A:
I’m a Clint groupie… I love him, love him, love him. I loved making Mystic River. I loved working with Sean. He’s divine. I just loved it. I was making Love, Actually at the same time, so I was flying between London and Boston the whole time. Fun, fun, fun!

Q: You once said your motto was ‘do not expect anything’. Do you still follow this?
A:
I try to. I still try and keep my feet on the ground. With all the travel, it’s hard to feel centred. I don’t really live anywhere at the moment; that’s part of the problem. I’m travelling so much, that I don’t have a place in Manhattan, which is very strange for me, because I’ve lived there my whole life. It’s very odd not to have a place there. It was a rental and it was a time for me to go.
When I’m not filming, I’m promoting stuff. It’s been a very hectic three or four years. It’s very hard to say ‘no’ when Clint Eastwood wants you to do a movie, or you can work with Liam Neeson.

Q: Are you exhausted?
A:
I don’t feel drained but I need to have the time to enjoy it and not just work at it all the time – but actually have the time to also enjoy it. To be able to go out with friends and do normal things…

Q: So how do you relax?
A:
It sounds terrible but there hasn’t been a whole lot of relaxing. Honest to God. I don’t remember how I did it. I’m going to have to learn how.

Q: What are you currently working on?
A:
The Exorcism of Emily Rose. I don’t know what it’s going to be. It’s a courtroom drama. It’s about an exorcism, so it does flashback to that.

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