Frances McDormand is still promoting her Olive Kitteridge mini-series that co-stars the awesome Bill Murray. This is the first press tour Frances has done in 10 years, which I didn’t realize until now. Frances tells Katie Couric how she avoided promoting her work to protect her privacy. She’s been watching Hollywood from afar, and she doesn’t like what she sees.
The main topic of this interview is aging in Hollywood. This is a follow up to Frances’ recent admission of fear and rage over plastic surgery. She’s not simply rehashing the same quotes. This crusade is intentional. Frances said she decided to promote this project because it gives a platform to her “image” and “voice.” She wants to let younger actresses know that it’s okay to age naturally. Frances has been married to director Joel Cohen for 32 years, and she talks about him too:
Talking with Joel: “We have a lot of conversations about aging, and how difficult it is in our culture. I go on rants about it. I get a little too zealous about it, and he cautions me to remember that not everyone ages the same way. And I’ve been fortunate that I’m happy with the way that I look and how I age.”
Is the cultural obsession with aging a new phenomenon? “That’s one of the things I was talking about. I wonder what it was like. I feel nostalgic for a time I didn’t even have. You know, that time before we regarded ourselves with such criticism but also kind of a currency that looking a certain age had.”
The influence of actors: “I think we have a lot of responsibility because we place ourselves in a medium that reaches a lot of people. I know that I haven’t done press or publicity for ten years. I made a conscious choice not to. I started to not like the job of acting because it involved not only the promotion of what I’ve done but also myself. And I wasn’t interested in that part. Also it was just getting too close to my personal life. I couldn’t live the way that I wanted to live. A friend of mine said, ‘Women need you. Younger women need your image, and they need your voice, and it’s a very selfish thing you’re doing.’ That was about five years ago, so it took me about five years to really listen to her. But I believe that’s true.”
Embracing her age & seeing herself on screen: “Oh yeah. It’s not like I don’t look at myself and say, ‘Whoa. Wow. [Points to chin.] Look at that.’ But I also at the same time, ‘That.’ That one right there? [Points to laugh line.] That’s Pedro. That’s my son. 20 years of going ‘Hi! Wow! or ‘Oh my god!’ You know, this is the map. This is the roadmap.”
Why she gets angry when she sees plastic surgery: “Because it takes it away. It’s like, ‘I’m going to cut out, I’m going to erase 10 years, 15 years.’”
Frances’ words don’t stand alone. Winona Ryder was stoked about the “traffic” on her forehead once she hit age 40. I wish both of these women could influence the rest of Hollywood. A little bit of touchup work is standard in the business, but some women make themselves look like completely different people. There are extreme examples of this (Renee Zellweger) that magnify the issue. Frances has the skills to make an impact. I’ll pay close attention to what she says next.
Photos courtesy of WENN