Exclusive Maggie Gyllenhaal Interview
August 13, 2007, 2:41 pm
Filed under: Celeb Interviews


Maggie talks motherhood, going blonde and her latest flick ‘Sherrybaby’

In ‘Sherrybaby’ you play a recovering drug addict who’s trying to get back with her daughter. How do you prepare for that kind of role?
I went and met with a lot of women at halfway houses in Manhattan, in Brooklyn and Jersey. I would spend days there. And I joined a few programs.

Playing a mother must have made you think about being one in real life, especially when you fell pregnant.
I wasn’t a mother when I made the movie. But I think ‘Sherrybaby’ is about someone becoming a mother. Birthing a baby doesn’t make you a mother. And I think it’s not until the end of the movie that she starts to become a mother. I obviously was thinking about this, but I don’t know how it prepared me.

You had to go blonde for the role. Was that a bit weird?
I guess so. It was Laurie’s script that said that and she decided that it meant some whole big thing. And I was like, ‘I don’t want to dye my hair.’ But it was very important to her and I just let her have that one.


‘I thought about, just in some fantasy world, being a professor. But I think I would have been less effective!’

Do you have to like your character to take the part on?
Yeah, and you have to really understand and believe in everything that they’re doing.Last year you did a string of movies that all got released very close to one another…
That run I did, ‘World Trade Center’, ‘Trust the Man’, ‘Stranger Than Fiction’ and ‘Sherrybaby’ – I’m really proud of them all. And that makes it much easier to go out and talk about them all day. But when you don’t like the movie it really is hard to do this, really hard, and it can be unbearable. All of them, especially ‘World Trade Center’, ring up some really interesting questions and we end up talking about morality, and ethics, politics, and acting in a really interesting way.


You did some comedy last year with ‘Stranger Than Fiction’ and ‘Trust the Man’. Was that easier than all the heavier, dramatic roles?
I think with comedy, sometimes the circumstances are so wild that it’s hard to find reality in that. And it’s only funny if you can find reality. So, for example, with ‘Trust the Man’, it’s a pretty crazy circumstance that your boyfriend will convince you to put a picture of yourself in a bikini, sticking your ass out on the cover of your children’s book. I went into that scene kind of thinking, well if Billy Crudup, who played my boyfriend, really can convince me, I’ll do it. If he can’t, I won’t do it… In most dramas you’re not handed that riddle, you’re not asked to make that real. So maybe it’s harder. It’s certainly fun.


Ever think what you’d have done if you weren’t an actress?
I could try and be a professor. I’ve always really liked school. And I thought about, just in some fantasy world, being a professor. But I think I would have been less effective! 

Sherrybaby was released on 27 July, and is in theatres now.


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