Oscar-nominated actress Julianne Moore talks about giving her all  to “get it right” for her stunning performance in Still Alice.

There’s a reason why Julianne Moore is racking up awards and accolades during this year’s awards circuit. To put it simply, it’s because of her stunning and fearless portrayal in Still Alice, based on Lisa Genova’s novel, which focuses on the life of a woman and mother who has been diagnosed with a rare form of early on-set Alzheimer disease.

Her performance of this rare and tragic disease is subtle, effortless and well prepared. So much so, that you forget you’re watching a movie but that you’re instead a part of her world and her family. It’s this ride Moore takes you on, whether you want to or not, that has already earned the talented beauty a Golden Globe Award and an Oscar nod and is pulling on the heartstrings of everyone who watches it.

still-alice-19-stillalice_31march14_whilden_D0269_rgbThat’s one of the things about this movie is how touched people are by it, and I do feel like it’s genuine. It’s not forced in terms of peoples’ reactions. It’s not like the movie is trying to make you cry, it’s just people really connect to it. Which is nice,” Moore told Indiwire.  “I got a note from a friend of mine’s wife saying she’d had a family member with Alzheimer’s too, and she suddenly felt close to her. And felt like she understood something about the experience. For me, all the research that I did — people have this notion that with Alzheimer’s, somehow the “self” disappears. They’re like, “That’s not the person I knew,” and “Somehow the self has gone away, somehow they’re not present anymore.” But in all my research and dealings with people, I’ve found the opposite. The people, they were changed, certainly, but their personality somehow remained. That was really, tremendously moving to me.

In the movie, Moore plays Dr. Alice Howland, a brilliant, 50-year-old linguistics professor at Columbia University who soon discovers that she has an early on-set form of the disease. The film focuses on how Howland and her family, including a husband, played by Alec Baldwin, and her three children, played by Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth and Hunter Parrish, deal with her rapidly deteriorating mental condition.

When words begin to escape her and she starts becoming lost on her daily jogs, Alice must come face-to-face with the thought that soon, she will totally lose all sense of thought. Heartbreakingly, her three grown children must watch as their mother disappears more and more with each passing day.

For Moore—who was given time to film Still Alice while being temporarily released from filming The Hunger Games: MockingJay Part 2—doing the part justice was paramount.

still-alice-03-R2_APPR_STILL_002_rgb“I don’t have any personal experience with Alzheimer’s disease, and I’ve never witnessed the behavior that is described in the movie. So I wanted to make sure my performance was as realistic as possible,” she told Variety. “I wanted to bring specificity to absolutely everything I did. I didn’t want to represent anything onscreen that I hadn’t witnessed. It’s not fair to make it up. Too many people are dealing with this disease. I really needed the time to do the research, and I wanted to figure out the disease and get it right.”

“I talked to doctors and clinicians and patients and family members, and I watched all the docs, and I observed a lot of support groups, and I asked everybody everything,” she told THR.com. “I’d literally say, ‘Like, can you tell me what it feels like?,’ and I just tried to be as specific as I could.”

For co-star Bosworth, getting the chance to work with Moore was an astounding experience.

“Working with Julie, you are sitting there and you don’t have to do much,” Bosworth told Variety. “You just listen and it takes care of itself. She’s so brilliant, and you want to learn everything she does. All the work has been done before Julie walks on set. She’d walk in and talk about what she baked for her kids that day and chitchat right up until they called action. Then she [went] straight into it. She’s remarkable. I truly just sat there and learned. It was a master class.”


Still Alice opens January 23 and stars Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth and Hunter Parish


—by Toni-Marie Ippolito



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