Elisabeth Moss on her part in ‘Girl Interrupted’: Angelina Jolie ‘was still this force’

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I always say this but it remains true: I kind of like Elisabeth Moss and I would be a big Moss stan if it wasn’t for the Scientology thing. I have my fingers crossed that one day she’ll be able to break free from that cult and just live her life. It can be done – Beck might have done it? Anyway, the point is that I’m a lowkey, underground would-be Moss stan. And even though I feel like I know her career pretty well, I had zero memory of the fact that she’s in Girl, Interrupted! That would have happened around the same time that Moss was just starting to appear on The West Wing (as President Bartlett’s youngest daughter). Lord, I haven’t seen Girl Interrupted in so long, I forgot all of the non-Angelina, non-Winona characters. But yes, Moss is in there as a burn victim. She went on a trip down memory lane in her Harper’s Bazaar interview:

On filming Girl, Interrupted: “I remember it all very vividly. There I was with Winona, who was already a legend in her 20s. She was so nice to me. Angelina wasn’t necessarily the Angelina Jolie we know now, but everyone knew who she was. She was still this force. I didn’t talk to her really, but it was more of a character thing. We’re friendly now. Clea DuVall was in it, and now she’s on Handmaid’s. We were shooting in this mental hospital in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and it was so cold. It was this really fun, amazing experience.”

On being able to separate her work from her personal life: “I find that I’m very, very good at, like, I guess some people would call it compartmentalizing. I’m really good at turning it off, going home and texting my friends, having a glass of wine, and putting it aside. It’s not unconscious. I need to be able to do that to treat my work with joy and enthusiasm.”

On being guarded in real life: “You have to be careful. Once the information is out there, you can’t take it back. Broadcast News is one of my favorite movies, and she’s [Holly Hunter] one of the coolest people, but I don’t know anything about her. I think she lives in New York? Meryl Streep does it well. I was listening to an Oprah podcast where she was interviewing Julia Roberts, and here you have arguably the biggest female star in the world, and she has managed to maintain a good amount of privacy. I don’t think it has to do with your level of stardom but in how you conduct your life.”

On understanding the fascination with celebrity lives: “I totally understand why people want to know that stuff. I see a story about Olivia Colman, who I love, and I want to devour it. I dissect it like, ‘Where does she live? What does her kitchen look like?’ I want to see Olivia’s kitchen. But I never want to get to the point where someone’s watching something I’m doing and thinking about what my kitchen looks like.”

[From Harper’s Bazaar]

“Angelina wasn’t necessarily the Angelina Jolie we know now, but everyone knew who she was. She was still this force. I didn’t talk to her really, but it was more of a character thing. We’re friendly now.” OMG, Moss and Jolie are friendly!! That probably means that when they run into each other at awards shows, they say hi and exchange pleasantries. Still, it’s fun to reminisce about the 1990s. Also: Clea Duvall should have had a bigger career. She is such a good actress and an unconventional beauty. And I completely f–king forgot that Brittney Murphy was in Girl Interrupted too. Damn, I need to watch that again.

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Photos courtesy of Yulia Gorbachenko for Harper’s Bazaar, received via promotional Bazaar email.

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55 Responses to “Elisabeth Moss on her part in ‘Girl Interrupted’: Angelina Jolie ‘was still this force’”

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  1. ChillyWilly says:

    I love Moss. She is so talented. But, yeah, I can’t see her IRL and not immediately think of the evil COS. She is such a good actress that it doesn’t affect my enjoyment of her work.
    I love Girl Interrupted. Brittany Murphy was the standout performance for me but everyone was great. Angelina was so raw and wild and magnetic.

    • Kelly says:

      I agree that Brittany Murphy was the best performance of that movie. By a lot. That scene where Angelina’s character goes OFF on Brittany’s and talks about all the issues with her father was incredible. Brittany’s loss is so, so sad. She was incredibly talented and such a unique beauty. I would’ve loved to see her acting nowadays, I could see her scoring a starring role in a series that really showcased how talented she was.

      • tealily says:

        I think about her so much, and wonder what she what be doing professionally these days. Such a huge loss.

      • Golly Gee says:

        I miss Brittany a lot. She was so talented. The nuances in her voice as Luann Platter were so masterful and freaking hilarious.

    • I got nothing here except: Scientology 👎🏽. I do love the cleverness of the photo shoot and the use of mirrors, so kudos to the photographer.

      • Wasabi says:

        It’s been done before though. So not really a unique idea.

      • Carol says:

        @wasabi LOL! everything has been done before. Even if we see something that seems unique in photography has probably been done before. But I do think the execution of a photo story is what makes it intriguing, not its uniqueness, no?

  2. Slowsnow says:

    Could not care less about the Jolie referrence, what I focus on is really how I really really like Moss too, Kaiser. Dammit! Her acting and her persona exhude intelligence: “But I never want to get to the point where someone’s watching something I’m doing and thinking about what my kitchen looks like.”
    Ding ding ding. Exactly. That is why even if certain actors are the most amazing people, I cannot move past their personas, which is a problem.
    Which brings me to our not being able to like Moss: even though she is such a good actress, in the middle of a scene with her I’ll think. “Can’t effing believe she is a scientologist. The mind boggles”.

  3. Kate says:

    I remember at the time that movie was supposed to be Winona driven as the star, and Angelina ended up being the break out performance who got all of the attention. I love that movie so much, always have.

  4. manda says:

    Britney Murphy was the girl who ate nothing but rotisserie chicken, and she had some kind of eating disorder where she took stool softeners all the time. Out of all the characters, she was the only one that seemed to need the treatment

  5. morningjacket says:

    It has been mentioned before, but her lack of self-reflection (or, at least, outward acknowledgment) about the irony of playing a human slave in Handmaid’s Tale while participating in a religion that perpetuates human trafficking/slavery is, to put it mildly, reprehensible.

    • Heylee says:

      One more time for the people in the back! Her cult literally puts hundreds? Thousands? Of people into the types of nightmare living conditions portrayed in Handmaids tale. What type of compartmentalization makes her okay with that? COS literally separates children from their parents as well.

    • ReginaGeorge says:

      Right? While I enjoy watching The Handmaid’s Tale, it isn’t lost on me that she’s a Scientologist and every time I see her it reminds me that she sucks for that.

    • Ashley says:

      Yes! This is my real confusion with her. She seems to go out of her way to play the “woke” parts. The handmaids tale, mad men, tons of other projects. It just doesn’t make sense!

    • doofus says:

      yeah. and the people who still watch her anyway while lamenting that she’s a $ci.

      well, I won’t say what I think of them other than it’s quite hypocritical to rail on Cruise and Masterson and Alley and Elfman and Christiansen etc and boycott their productions and NOT rail on her and STILL put money in her pocket.

      Money that GOES TO $CIENTOLOGY.

      as for Girl, Interrupted…I think that was the first thing I saw Jolie in and HOLY SH*T BALLZ she was amazing. Winona was good but Jolie was, as noted, such a FORCE. I’ve always thought she was hit or miss in her roles and that one was a humdinger. and Murphy…oh my dog that role was so well played by her…gut-wrenching.

    • Heather H says:

      This is why I have no plans to watch The Handmaid’s tale, which is a shame. I avoid watching any COS actor’s work as I choose not to feed that ugly machine.

    • Me Again says:

      EXACTLY!!! I have no love for Moss- until she comes out against Scientology, she can go jump in a lake.

  6. Adrien says:

    Brittany Murphy’s performance was far more memorable than Angie and Winona’s.

    • Say what says:

      I don’t know what you think is good but Brittany Murphy had very few lines. Angelina had the best scene in the movie when she and Murphy collided at Daisy’s home. It was so raw and convincing that people think Jolie is Lisa. I’ve never heard anyone deliver dialogue like that to another person. Seriously it was wrenching.
      Winona was suppose to be the star but got lost with a more dramatic Lisa.

    • ReginaGeorge says:

      Brittany’s character’s storyline and background were the most memorable to me as well.

  7. Mumbles says:

    It’s a fantastic movie. Still holds up. Love Whoopi Goldberg in it too. It’s also nice to hear that Winona was nice to the other girls.

  8. Valiantly Varnished says:

    I think Moss is a fantastic actress and I would be a vocal fan if it weren’t for her being in that cult. That coupled with the cognitive dissonance of being on a show like Handmaid’s while being a vocal supporter of a cult who treats women very similarly is something I simply cant get past.

    • lucy2 says:

      I agree- I think she’s so talented and I do enjoy whatever I see her in, but there’s definitely a disconnect there. I get she was born into it, but I wish she’d be more introspective about it and realize the problems. Big problems.

      GI had quite a good cast, I had forgotten she and Brittany were both in it too.

      • Valiantly Varnished says:

        It’s so funny how so many people dont remember her in that movie but it’s the first thing I remember seeing her in. I didn’t watch The West Wing and when Mad Men premiered the first thing I thought when I saw her was “that’s the girl from Girl, Interrupted!”

  9. TIFFANY says:

    Clea’s turn on VEEP made we go and look up her past material.

    She really should do more comedies.

  10. Sayrah says:

    I haven’t thought of that movie in forever but now that you day she is in it I completely remembered her face with the burn makeup. I would stan her as well except for the COS thing eek

  11. Middle of the road says:

    Fun fact, Girl, interrupted was based off a memoir of the same name. The movie was based off true events, which is scary. Women were basically locked away back then for being what we call day a modern feminist. Wynona’s character was considered “cured” when she agreed to marry a man.

    • Christine says:

      Yes, I remember discovering the book in high school after seeing the movie and was surprised how much the movie sort of glossed over the real issue. That most of the women weren’t mentally ill or had anything wrong with them, but they were treated as such for issues like being gay and acting out or not following the norm.

  12. SJR says:

    Hard no to Elizabeth Moss.
    Mad Men was a good show, well written.
    Every time I see Moss all I can think is CoS and she married Fred Whatshisname from SNL.

    CoS = deal breaker.

    • doofus says:

      “CoS = deal breaker.”

      me too. I love Beck’s music, and when I found out he was in the cult I put all his CDs away and wiped his music from my iPod. SO glad he left.

    • tealily says:

      To be fair though, she split with Fred Armisen.

  13. Renee says:

    I feel like she gets a bit of a pass because people “like” her…..even though she belongs to and defends an evil cult. I don’t get it. Moss is as bats**t crazy as Tom Cruise, Kirstie Alley, John Travolta, Laura Prepon….the list goes on.

    Let’s remember that Moss walked out of the auditorium while Leah Remini was giving her speech for her Emmy win for her show exposing Scientology abuse practices. Why did she walk out? Why couldn’t she have stayed seated and let Leah have her moment? Because Moss is NOT a nice person!

    • doofus says:

      THANK YOU. I’ve noticed that too…some $cibots get a pass while others do not.

      they should ALL be shunned.

  14. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    She’s amazing. Too bad she’s a Scientologist because that’s literally the only ‘religion’ (ha) that has me never watching, listening or reading anything emanating from that person. Shameful.

  15. Shirleygailgal says:

    Funny thing…I bought the movie ages and ages ago because it was on sale and because it was supposed to be a good movie. I’ve never watch it *hangs head* but will this weekend. Not for Moss though, who I gave up when I learned she was Scientologist. I’ll watch for all the other actors. Ms Moss was lost to me when I learned of her Sciento-non-logical “religion”.

  16. mash says:

    im not into organized religions but from my understanding why does COS get such a visceral response from people as if Christianity particularly Catholicism as been and continues to be equally if not more heinous…

    I like moss, she is cool and makes great film/tv choices, impeccable acting has me and many other believing in her characters, and though i dont follow nor believe in her religion, i wont ding her because of that.

    • MC2 says:

      There’s a big difference between a religion and a cult & being a member of a religion vs a higher up member of a cult.

    • doofus says:

      The Catholic Church has issues, to be sure. their covering up and essentially enabling of pedophiles is terrible, but they DO get dragged for it.

      $ci makes you pay to learn about their religion. they make you pay for “counseling”. they force people to abandon their families if their family members are anti-$ci or “Suppressive People”. they chase you down if you try to leave. they will harass you and your family members if you try to leave. THEY KILL PEOPLE’S PETS.

      yeah, other churches have issues, but I don’t know of a single one that does the above like $ci does.

  17. Ange says:

    I have a soft spot for Elizabeth Moss cuz I also grew up in a cult (the COG same as Joaquin Phoenix) and if you haven’t been in that world it’s incredibly difficult to understand the mental chains and fear that holds you down. I left of my own accord when I was 25 and I was so relieved to leave that horrible life behind but I also left behind so many wonderful friends and people I loved and still love regardless of their choices. Unlike her I had no resources or help but I’d still have rather had nothing then give everything to that horrible cult. I hope she breaks free someday…believe me it’s worth it to get your soul back.

    • lucy2 says:

      Really glad you escaped that, and I appreciate you sharing your perspective.

      I do go a little easier on those born into it or brought in as children, I can’t imagine having to make a choice that would cut me off from all my loved ones. But with all the horrors and abuses being exposed, I wish they would question it, at least a little, and work for change if they still believe in the teachings, or at the very least not publicly defend it.

      • Borgqueen says:

        I think Moss is 2nd or 3rd generation COS which makes it harder to leave bc she will be disconnected from her family and that’s a hard decision to make..

  18. Ames says:

    Put me down for a big ol’ nope.

    There’s no amount of rationalizing that can balance the scales when the CO$ is sitting on them. All of them are obnoxious hypocrites, but she’s gone pro with it.

    The most she’s ever said on the subject: “Listen, it’s a complicated thing because the things that I believe in, I can only speak to my personal experience and my personal beliefs.”

    Yep, she can just go right ahead and eff all the way off with that mess.

  19. Cyclical says:

    She sounds so grounded and sensible. So did Tom Cruise for a very long time. It’s hard to believe, for a lot of these people, that they’re Scientologists.

  20. jules says:

    Interesting that she is still friendly with Jolie…what does this mean? Do they talk?

  21. Jessica says:

    So glad I read this article because I missed that Beck has left the cult! I have loved his music for decades now, with much guilt… and skipped his tour this summer because of the affiliation. And now I can openly celebrate!!

  22. Sass says:

    I don’t like her.

    Even before I knew she was a Scientologist.

    It’s her face. It’s weird, ok? She might be a supremely gifted actress but I can’t get past her weird face. It distracts me.

    It is one reason why I never made it past episode 3 of Mad Men OR Handmaid’s Tale.

  23. Marigold says:

    I reserve my anger at Scientology for the institution. The biggest thing I’ve learned from watching Leah Remini is that these followers are abuse victims. There is serious and systematic brainwashing that takes place in that organization, and though I don’t excuse Tom Cruise–the big example–I sympathize with him. I feel sorry for Moss and for all the other celebrities like Remini who spend their lives believing in and defending the organization that was abusing them. It’s the same scenario we see in abused spouses and children who defend their abusers.

    There is systematic psychological manipulation and abuse that goes on in relationships like that, whether the abuser is an individual or an organization.

    I’m not mad at Moss; I just want her to be given a way out. Remini got out because she was blessed with a naturally skeptical and rebellious disposition. It’s clear when you watch her and listen to her. Girl’s got some inborn chutzpah. Not everyone is the same, and the “thing” or “moment” that releases them from mental bondage to Scientology will not always be the same thing. So again, I want that “a-ha” moment for Moss to happen, but I do not harbor anger against the victim for what her perpetrator has done to her.

  24. Jaded says:

    Anyone with an ounce of integrity knows right from wrong. Enslaving people, beating them, feeding them crap, working them 100 hours a week for $50, forcing abortions, sending rebellious members to the “gulag” to clean dumpsters with toothbrushes, any moral person knows this is wrong. Scientology, for the celebrity elite, is nothing more than ego-stroking and “embiggening”. They turn a blind eye to the blatantly obvious and refuse to take a moral stand on what amounts to crimes against humanity. For that reason I cannot watch anything she’s in.