Glenn Close: ‘A man might find it harder to have a highly successful wife’

UK Premiere of the Wife

Can you believe Glenn Close has not won an Academy Award? She has been nominated six times, but has yet to being an Oscar home. This slight might be rectified this year, as her role in the indie film The Wife is already generating Oscar buzz. In the film, she plays a woman whose husband, played by Jonathan Pryce, wins the Nobel Prize for literature. When she travels with to Stockholm for the ceremony, she looks back on the life choices and sacrifices she’s made over the course of their 40-year marriage to help him succeed. Fun fact: Glenn’s daughter, Annie Starke, plays the young version of her character.

In an interview with ABC’s Peter Travers, she said that she used some elements from her parent’s marriage to flavor her performance, noting that

“The mother that I observed my whole life who basically deferred to my father for everything and was diminished. He made her feel diminished. And she was not always happy. And we actually thought she’d be happier outside of the marriage. And she was married in 1945 and she said, ‘I made this vow and this is where I’m going to be.’ But she was not a fulfilled human being, it was sad.”

The 71-year-old actress sat down with People’s Jess Cagle and discussed her ascent to stardom, as well as some of her previous roles in The World According to Garp, The Big Chill and Fatal Attraction. Glenn previously fought for the original ending of that film, where Michael Douglas’ character is framed for the murder of Glenn’s Alex, who slits her throat with a knife bearing his fingerprints. In a Vanity Fair article published last March, it was revealed that Glenn “felt sympathy for Alex, a woman battling mental illness, and fiercely resisted cliches about another female psycho.”

Among the other fascinating revelations in the People interview, Glenn shared that she’s saved costumes from all of her movies, from Garp to the one she wore in The Big Chill, “when my little butt was twitching in the kitchen” – but she didn’t own the gown from Dangerous Liaisons that Madonna later wore for her performance of “Vogue” on the MTV Video Music Awards in 1990. Glenn also talked about her time in the conservative religious group (= cult) called the Moral Re-Armament that we’ve covered before. The whole interview is pretty awesome (and her dog, Pip, is adorable), but here are some highlights:

Do you wish that the original ending to Fatal Attraction had stayed?
The audience wanted to believe that that family might be able to survive. So they got their catharsis by shedding my [character’s] blood.

I don’t think that it would have been the huge hit that it was. I think it would be wonderful to write that kind of story from her point of view.

On her screen costume collection
They’re all at Indiana University. All 700 plus of every full costume from head to toe.

I kept my costumes [because] they’re a process in the fitting room of putting a character together. With a great costume designer they are as important to me as a director. With the hours that you spend, I didn’t want to have it hanging in some warehouse and pulled apart.

On what her film The Wife says about relationships
This is generally speaking, but I think a man might find it harder to have a highly successful wife than vice versa. A lot of times [women] will negate themselves or not let themselves fully shine because they want their mate to feel better about themselves. I think that happens a lot.

On how she feels about The Oscars (she’s been nominated six times)
How thrilling it would be [to be nominated again]. It’s kind of great to never win in a way I guess. I’m a pragmatic Yankee and I force myself to not believe in anything until it actually happens.

[From People TV/The Jess Cagle Interview]

Glenn seems like such a delight, and he co-stars would agree. Jonathan Pryce recently told the AV Club that working with Glenn on The Wife was “really great,” noting their long careers in film and theater, adding, “There was a lot of mutual respect and trust between us, and it enabled us to be quite organic in the choices that we made on set about the characters. It was a delight. I loved it.”

I love Glenn Close and think she’s an amazing actress. From the trailer alone, I have a feeling that Glenn may no longer be the Susan Lucci of the Oscars in 2019.

Embed from Getty Images

Film Premiere of The Wife

UK Premiere of the Wife

The UK premiere of 'The Wife' held at Somerset House - Arrivals

Photos: Getty, WENN

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27 Responses to “Glenn Close: ‘A man might find it harder to have a highly successful wife’”

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  1. Maya says:

    And she is absolutely right. It takes a strong man to be with a strong woman and unfortunately, those strong men are rare.

    • Adee says:

      Very true.

      It’s usually the man that holds the power in the relationship, or they are a power couple together.

      Never thought about it till now, but its very true.

    • Eleonor says:

      Sad but true, and for whatever reason my first thought was: “go ask Madonna”.

    • Ari Gold says:

      Only Narcissists and Ego-Maniacs are intimidated by a Woman’s success…….

      Be careful who you choose to spend time with. (Happy House Husband here)

  2. Gaby says:

    Yes, we know that times are a-changing but most men were raised to believe they should always be the provider and they are less of a man if a woman is more successful than them, just like women were taught to be the perfect mom, wife, housewife, and “helpless and invisible”, playing the damsel in distress part so the man could play the hero and be her savior.

    • Toc says:

      That’s what I was thinking. Now I can see how much of my upbringing in a certain way revolved around men. Although my mother raised me to study, work and be financially independent, there were too much of: boys don’t like girls who do/say/act like that; you can’t speak with a man this way, it will hurt his feelings; always thank your bf/hub if he does sth for you, even if he does it horribly, act as if it’s perfect; if he doesn’t get what he wants at home, he will look outside. It was contradictory. In a certain way, she wanted me to have power, but never more power than a man, or this would drift men away from me. There were too many mothers theaching there daughters to not have a voice or teavhing them to have a small one. I hope the mothers nowadays are different.

      • JAC says:

        Maybe it’s a cultural thing, but I was never taught that. And Croatia and the Balkans generally gets branded as very patriarchal, but looking at my upringing, and my mom or my grandmothers, they were never told that. Maybe because communism made women a big part of the workforce, but women even in my grandmothers generation felt a lot more equal than what you describe

      • Esmom says:

        Yeah, I had a similar experience. My mom definitely wanted me to have a successful career but the thing that seemed to make her happiest was whenever I “found a man.” I can honestly say I probably never would have gotten married except that I knew she would be deep disappointed if I didn’t.

    • Ari Gold says:

      That’s the perfect observation right there.^^^

      Daddy told me I’m a failure if I’m not a success. That sort of Indoctrination is VERY difficult to shake. (But Im trying)

  3. Embee says:

    The Patriarchy tells men and women both that the man should be the strong one and the primary breadwinner, ultimate decision-maker, etc. I think both men and women struggle when the woman is strong, as we lack good examples of what such a partnership should look like.

    From personal experience I can share that some men are quite drawn to a powerful woman, but when the humdrum days of life drag on they tire of having to deal with an equal voice, and try to “pull rank.” And once children are born it is nearly ubiquitous that the wife/mother becomes primary childcare provider and dad/father gets domain over the outside decisions re career, location, etc.

    • Ari Gold says:

      That’s the thing…..we men emulate the Archetypes we have grown up observing. It is changing, but it’s gonna take a lonnnnnnng time. For example…..I wanted my wife to have the big career she has, but when we had a kid, all her work travel was a HUGE shock (I just didn’t realise what that meant for a family dynamic). We are figuring it out, but it has ZERO to do with “fear” of a successful woman. It’s about expectation, practical child-rearing matters, family life etc (for me at least)

  4. Lucy2 says:

    I found the book very frustrating, but the movie looks much better. She is so talented, I definitely want to see it.

  5. JAC says:

    I have never had a proper serious relationship, so maybe things are different when you truly love someone, but I don’t think I could deal with my partner being much more successful than me. And I am a woman so I don’t have the added cultural pressure of having to be the provider.
    I admire women like LeBron’s wife because it takes a strong person to be able to hold on to your identity when you’re with someone like that. And society makes it much worse for men. Even on this site which is so progressive there have been snide remarks about men like Jessica Simpson’s husband.

    I don’t know if it makes me a narcicisst or a bad person, but I don’t think I could do it.

  6. Lala11_7 says:

    NO I CAN NOT BELIEVE THAT GLENN CLOSE HASN’T WON AN OSCAR YET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The fact that she didn’t win one…oh…and John Lithgow didn’t win one for “The World According To Garp” or…MY GAWD FOR “DANGEROUS LIAISON” STILL STICKS IN MY CRAW!!!!!!!!!!

    That being said…Glenn NEVER disappoints me…on stage or off…her fierce intelligence always shines through!

  7. RunnerMomLawyer says:

    I am from the American South and my mom was much like TOC’s. Study, get a great job, but most of your worth was whether you could “catch” a man. I remember her telling me that Hillary Clinton couldn’t “keep her man happy” when I was 12! I earn more than my husband but he does most of the house stuff, while I take childcare because I like hanging out with my kids. At first my earning more bothered him, but it was more because I came out of school earning more when he had been working for a few years at that point. Now he loves it because it gives our family options to change careers or locations if we want to. I am so glad that things are changing!

  8. adastraperaspera says:

    She’s an amazing talent. But it makes me sad and angry that at this stage of her career, when she has the chops to play any kind of role, she is stuck playing the wife of a successful man. Is there any other role for women out there? Is there ever going to be one script about a man who stayed with a successful woman?? I don’t think so, because male writers and producers will not stop funding the myth of a male fountain of youth that throws young girls at them for their sexual pleasure.

    • Ginger says:

      The film centers on her character. The story is told from her point of view.

    • Jaded says:

      This is not a story where male writers are pushing the myth of male dominance, it’s a real life story. Real life isn’t pretty, we can’t re-write it and it’s a film-maker’s prerogative to show real life warts and all. For an actress of Glenn’s caliber it’s an opportunity to portray a life in retrospect with sensitivity, through good times and bad.

  9. Esmom says:

    She’s always riveting to watch although I doubt I’ll tune in for this.

  10. Ana says:

    My mother still clutches pearls by the way I speak to my husband. And by that I mean I never take sht from him (we can both be very explosive). We have been together for nearly 20 years. I married very young and back then I didn’t understand my mother’s sadness…now I see it. She thought I was submitting to someone too soon. I never submitted, we are a team, and DH wouldn’t have it any other way.

  11. Jaded says:

    Mr. Jaded’s first wife was very needy and dependent on him financially and for just about everything else. That’s what finally killed the marriage – the unequalness and unwillingness to take a more balanced role in the relationship. I’m the opposite – very independent, worked hard and never depended on a man to pay the way for me, even when I was in a long-term relationship. He loves the fact that we are equal partners.

  12. Joy says:

    The Wife is an excellent movie and if Glenn isn’t nominated for an Oscar I’ll be surprised. I’ve seen several of her movies and she’s always a standout but in this movie, she’s the best I’ve ever seen her. This woman doesn’t have to open her mouth, she acts with her facial expressions like no other. Just amazing acting here. I highly recommend this one.

  13. bella says:

    I have been watching the show Damages on Amazon with Glen Close and Rose Byrne and they are both so mesmerizing but especially Glen! And the clothes on the show are gorgeous!

  14. Lindy says:

    I love Glenn Close so much and have found her riveting in everything I’ve ever seen. I was lucky enough to see her in Sunset Boulevard on Broadway years ago and she was so intense!

    My ex husband and I were academics in the same field and met in grad school, so we both knew it would be a tough road with so few tenure track jobs. I ended up being incredibly successful. He ended up dropping out of his PhD program. Our marriage ended, and about 85% of that was because he grew to hate me for that success, and I spent most of my mental energy trying to minimize my accomplishments until I became an anxious, depressed mess. It sucked.

    I’m married now to a brilliant guy (who actually finished his PhD) who is my biggest cheerleader and celebrates my successes. He’s a stay at home dad to our 4 month old and my 9yo from my previous marriage, and is a total badass and all around wonderful man. I’m glad our boys have him as a role model.

  15. Vintage says:

    This is superficial, but she looks amazing.