Julianne Moore’s latest movie, “After the Wedding,” is a family affair.
And not just because of the family drama that simmers at the center of this tale, but because of two key crew members — Moore’s husband, Bart Freundlich, who served as director and screenwriter, and their daughter, Liv Freundlich, who worked on the shoot as a production assistant. “I really enjoyed having her there,” Moore says.
The film, which opens Aug. 16, brings together two women from very different worlds — a do-gooder (Michelle Williams), who runs an orphanage in India in desperate need of financing, and a hotshot businesswoman (Moore) who is hosting a blowout wedding with her husband (Billy Crudup), and whose carefully planned life is about to come undone by a long-buried secret.
This marks the fourth film collaboration between Moore, 58, and her husband. The Emmy- and Academy Award-winner will later be seen in the thriller “The Woman in the Window” (with Gary Oldman) and “The Glorias” (a biopic in which she plays feminist icon Gloria Steinem). Moore sat down recently in a hotel suite with Newsday contributor Joseph V. Amodio.
Talk about culture shock — the film opens with Michelle Williams in poverty-stricken India. Then we follow her all the way to Oyster Bay.
Oh, I know. And that house — isn’t it gorgeous?
I know you’re familiar with the East End …
Yeah, we have a place in Montauk. But I didn’t know Centre Island well. We couldn’t believe our luck to be able to use that house. (The film was shot on the lush former estate of late investor Carter Bales, founding chair of the North Shore Land Alliance, and his late wife, Suzy Bales, an acclaimed author, landscape designer and former Newsday garden columnist.) She planted the entire garden — like 500 bulbs. One of their children got married in almost the exact same spot as the wedding in this film.
Speaking of children — your daughter, Liv, was a production assistant. How’d she do?
Really well. She was 16 last summer. And she was shocked by how hard the job is. I always say, there’s not a person on the set who doesn’t know that being a P.A. is the worst job ever — you’re running around doing everything for everybody. You’re the first one there and the last one to leave. It’s tooooough.
Where’d you stay?
About 20 minutes from the set — at the Viana (Hotel & Spa in Westbury). They have weddings and conventions there. Liv and I would just go to the hotel and eat potato chips, watch “The Bachelor,” and try to unwind.
Parents don’t often get the chance to see their child at work. What was that like for you and Bart?
I loved it. She’s very responsible. I told her, there’s one thing I want you to remember. Something P.A.s don’t know is that when they come to get an actor, saying, “They want you on set,” the actor often doesn’t know where the set is. If they haven’t been there before and it’s a big property then they don’t know. Once I told her that, she took off like a shot. She’d come to get actors, and she’d be like … (Moore stands up to demonstrate.) “Ready for you on the set.” And then — (she lunges across the room with giant steps) — she’d take off. (Moore laughs.) Oh, she was amazing — because she really listened. So, yeah, I was proud of her.
That must’ve been a special moment.
We ended up wrapping at 8 a.m. And it was the first time in her life she’d been up all night. She loved it. There’s something romantic about it — you’re so tired, you can’t believe it, and then suddenly you get that second wind. The sun comes up. And it’s beautiful.
On a slightly different note — I’m sure you’ve been hyper-aware of the recent news events in El Paso and Dayton.
Yes. I’m the founding chair of The Creative Council [which works with the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety] to amplify issues around gun violence.
This interview will run [in print] a week after the shootings. Do you think people will remember? I mean, we’re so numb to it all …
I think it’s different now. I think that … (She pauses.) You know, the majority of gun deaths are not in mass shootings — 100 Americans die from gun violence daily. So … this is a public health crisis.
Yes! Exactly! There was a huge culture shift around that. And regulations. And guess what? Things changed. Seat belts — people kept saying, “That’s not going to make a difference,” and guess what?
Well, here’s hoping we can somehow bring an end to these news events.
I know, here’s hoping.