Celeb News

EXCLUSIVE: Annette Bening on marriage, #MeToo and her incredible career

There's a reason why she's one of Hollywood's most celebrated legends.

By Chloe Lal
At the age of 59, Annette Bening has is one of Hollywood's brightest stars.
Not only is she wildly talented, beautiful and captivating on screen - Annette is brilliantly smart and uses her platform for good.
The four-time Academy Award nominee's latest project is the movie Film Stars Don't Die In Liverpool, alongside Jamie Bell.
The film focuses on the love story of real-life Hollywood legend Gloria Grahame and her younger lover Peter Turner.
Now To Love spoke exclusively with Annette about the remarkable role.
Quickly our chat steered towards the impact she's made in Hollywood, her incredible romance with husband Warren Beatty (and his infamous Best Picture mishap a the 2017 Oscars), plus her very honest thoughts on the #MeToo movement.
The 59-year-old is taking to our screens in the upcoming movie Film Stars Don't Die In Liverpool.
She portrays real-life Hollywood legend Gloria Grahame.
The film is breathtaking. It reminded me of My Week With Marilyn meets An Education. How exciting was it for you to star in this project?
Thank you so much! I just love those two films so I appreciate that you've put our movie with them.
It really was a dream to work on. The book, which [the film's] based on, is one of my favourites.
I think it is a very tasteful, well written and smart book. The author – Peter Turner – is an actor who happened to have met Gloria Grahame and fall in love with her. It's a very unlikely story and I'm so glad we got to make it. I feel very lucky.
Gloria Grahame and Peter Turner.
Annette and Jamie Bell bring the lovers to life.
Was it exciting portraying a real person and someone as thrilling as Gloria Grahame?
It was exciting! That's such a good way of putting it. It was also somewhat frustrating. When you play someone, especially if it is a real person, you want to find out as much as you can about them.
But Gloria was very private. She did have four children, she was married four times but I didn't want to impose on anyone or impose on their privacy.

The real Gloria vs. Annette as Gloria

Annette on Gloria: "She's wild!"
← Slide →
I did get to talk to a woman who knew Gloria when she was younger.
Another actress named Terry Moore who's still around. She was very generous and she spoke to me.
In fact, she was up for the Academy Award that Gloria won [in 1952 for Best Supporting Actress for the film The Bad and the Beautiful].
She was there for Gloria's famous brief acceptance speech when she just said "Thank You" and then walked off in the most delightful way.
Anyway, Gloria was private but I was so full of curiosity about her. She was so complicated yet there was this enigma and draw to her.
She really embraced life. She loved her craft, she loved her children... But she was wild!
Watch the iconic moment she accepts her Oscar below!
The proud Oscar winner!
Gloria with with Cy Howard.
Seeing her brought to life, Gloria seemed to be the essence of Old Hollywood. I think many people watching the film wouldn't know she's a real person until the very end. You really did become her – when you watch footage of Gloria and compare it, the likeness is uncanny. You're both celebrated actresses, was there something about playing Gloria that really struck a chord with you?
There always is something, no matter who I'm playing. It's one of the joys of acting. You find something that makes you really understand and relate in an intuitive way with someone.
Then, there are the parts that you're a little unfamiliar with. To try and find and to dig deep… To study another human being, seeing the world through their eyes – you become an advocate for your character. You don't need to be objective.
When something is written well, there are a lot of contradictions because true life people are full of contradictions.
She had that and it was a joy to share that. And working with Jamie Bell [pauses] he was just so great.
He was so generous and so present. He really made me feel comfortable and helped me enormously.
The entire cast and crew were so generous and just so committed to the project.
She's a four-time Academy Award nominee.
The chemistry between you and Jamie was something else. Was it natural for the two of you to step into the roles of such complicated lovers?
It was incredible!
I realised as we were doing it [pauses] you know you're always in a state of uncertainty when you're actually shooting and it's only in retrospect that you can see.
When you're in the moment it's like you're fumbling around… In a good way. You want to be doing that, and you want to be in a state of uncertainty. You want something to happen that you don't know will happen and you want to have almost a planned spontaneity.
Do you know what I'm saying? When you're in the midst of this, it reminds me of holding your breath.
I mean Jamie's such a pro, he's been acting since Billy Elliot. And we did this together – with a sense of fun and camaraderie.
Annette adored working with her British co-star, 31-year-old Jamie Bell.
You've really done it all – film, stage and now television is making a big comeback with shows like Big Little Lies – would you ever think about doing something like that?
Yes absolutely! There are so many fantastic stories… And I've been reading LOTS of stuff.
You've played some ground-breaking roles but what's one character that will always been ingrained into you?
You know, it's funny I think that about most of my roles.
It's like when you've met a certain person and they inhabit your world. It becomes a jewel that you carry inside you.
Whenever I portray someone, I go on a journey: I'm glad I went… I'm glad I'm home now! [Laughs]
You learn to move on… You just have to.
The iconic couple married in 1992.
"I'm so thankful for Warren!"
It's the Oscars on Monday – will you and Warren be going?
No! Just watching.
He handled the Moonlight mishap with such grace. You've both spoken about it but is he over it? Can he now look back it and laugh?
Oh yeah, very much!. He handled such a difficult situation with such grace, can you imagine?
[Laughs] Oh my gosh! He laughs about it. It's one of those things.
Relive the infamous bungle in the video player below!
Annette and Warren share four kids together.
You and Warren have been married 26 years – is it easy to separate your life from the spotlight of Hollywood?
You work and then you need to step away!
For me, having Warren and our family is just so important. It's always been this wonderful balance and honestly, I don't know how I would have managed it for years if I was just by myself bouncing from project to project.
I'm so thankful. I've had lots of time off with my kids and then I got to bring them along to some things.
I'm very grateful for real life that I have and the fact it has nothing to do with my profession.
Annette is so proud that her peers are making a change with the #TimesUp and #MeToo movement.
There's a huge shift in Hollywood with the #TimesUp and #MeToo movement. We're seeing the positive ripple from Hollywood all the way here in Australia. You're actually there, witnessing many of your peers speaking up. What's that been like?
I think it has been so positive and it is reverberating around the world.
For me, the most important part is that it reverberates into the lives of women – working women – from all over the place, who don't have the ability to just quit their jobs.
They can't just tell someone off because it's their livelihood, they're supporting their families. Those are the women that really need the support and structure around them where they have somewhere to go.
I'm hoping that's the measure of this whole movement that started in Hollywood.
Women all around the world in every country, anyone who is out there in the workplace or even students, knows what it's like to be in an uncomfortable situation or worse.
I think it's really important that we have a conversation about this, which is nuanced.
There is a difference between an unwanted approach via a man and harassment and assault.
These are all gradations and there are grey areas between them and it's very important we are able to distinguish between these very different experiences.
People who are accused also [should] have the ability to stand up for themselves and that due process is given to people - that's also important.
There's a culture beginning to develop where women can speak out… And men too, quite frankly! Men are also victims of this.
It's great that people are now speaking out. It's a huge shift and I hope that does continue.