Michelle Williams will never disavow ‘Dawson’s Creek’, she learned so much there

Michelle Williams has been nominated across the board for her work in The Fabelmans. It’s based on Steven Spielberg’s childhood, and Michelle plays Mitzi, the mom, a former concert pianist who encourages her children to be artistic and passionate about the arts. Michelle made news last year when she rejected the idea that she’s playing a supporting role in the film, and she said she’ll be submitting herself in the lead categories. Usually “category fraud” goes the other way, but Michelle insists that she feels like her role is the lead. Spielberg is backing her up, as is the studio. Anyway, Michelle recently spoke to the New York Times about The Fabelmans and her organized Virgo energy. Some highlights:

Michelle’s inherent Virgo-ness: “I’m a Virgo… In my real life, I’m very practical, I’m very organized. I’m always making lists and feeling great if I check them off, and my work life is a place where I let all of that go and I allow myself to live unbound from time and order and right and wrong. I want to give myself more of that in my everyday life. It doesn’t have to be so linear, and Mitzi is my best reminder for that: Once she knew what she wanted, she wasted no time taking that for herself. It’s how we should all live, don’t you think?

The mother-son dynamic is center-stage in “The Fabelmans”: “I couldn’t believe it when I started turning pages in this script. My husband was in the room with me, and I kept saying, “It’s just getting better.” Very often when you have a script, you have a great scene and you think, “Oh, that’s going to be splashy.” And this was just page after page of that, just this undulating, gorgeous aliveness. When I finished, I said to my husband, “It’s a feast. They made her a feast.”

She shifted into playing less naturalized and more stylized characters: “I think one of the things that I realized about naturalism — and it’s still a place that I live, I just made my fourth movie with Kelly Reichardt — is that I also wanted to make work that left a mark and that wasn’t open to projection. I wanted to make work that an audience member had to deal with, where there was less interpretation on their part because the interpretation was really my work. I feel like Mitzi belongs there, and Gwen and Marilyn belong there, and the work that I’ve done in theater belongs there. But it took a lot of learning and a lot of mistakes along the way to be comfortable leaving my own skin.

She’s never disavowed Dawson’s Creek: “Maybe there’s a connection between firstness and lastness, so I’m constantly reconnecting with my time on “Dawson’s Creek” because every project that I end somehow recalls that to me. But it was an incredible kind of training because you’re also learning these really fundamental things, like how to have a conversation with somebody where you’re looking them in the eye but some part of you is also scanning downward to hit your mark. It’s that kind of technical stuff that seems sort of silly and small that still comes in handy for me.

Deciding to campaign in the lead-actress race and not supporting: “I think that was a conversation that was happening outside of the core group that made this movie, and I don’t really know why there was a disparity. Although I haven’t seen the movie, the scenes that I read, the scenes that I prepped, the scenes that we shot, the scenes that I’m told are still in the movie, are akin to me with experiences that I have had playing roles considered lead. So for myself, or for anybody involved in the movie, I think we were all in unspoken agreement.

[From The NYT]

I’d just like to say that I enjoy Michelle a lot these days. The turning point for me was Fosse/Verdon – it felt like that was the project where Michelle “grew up” the most personally and professionally. And she was SO GOOD as Gwen Verdon. She deserved all of the awards for that miniseries. I like her even more knowing that she’s an organized, list-making Virgo. I am too! OMG. Anyway, I have no idea if Michelle has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the Best Actress Oscar, but I love that she’s playing the game and really campaigning. Good for her! I kind of think the lead-actress race is between Michelle Yeoh and Cate Blanchett (and my money is on Cate).

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid..

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6 Responses to “Michelle Williams will never disavow ‘Dawson’s Creek’, she learned so much there”

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  1. Dksro says:

    I agree on Fosse/Verdon: she is AMAZING in it. Just amazing.

  2. Noki says:

    I never seem to remember much about her performances but I remember she was my least favourite character on Dawsons Creek, she was just meh.

  3. RoSco says:

    As an OG Dawson’s Creek fan, I love that she’s not disavowing it – we will never turn on DC either, and I’m glad she celebrates it with us.

  4. Kitten says:

    I’ve always really liked her and I’m thrilled she’s carved out such a fantastic career for herself. I always thought she showed tons of raw talent on Dawson’s Creek so I’m not surprised. I feel like she’s a Kirsten Dunst-type actress in that she doesn’t make a lot of headlines for her personal life (besides the tragic loss of Heath Ledger) and kinda flies under the radar. Yet like KiKi, she picks amazing and diverse roles that really allow her to shine.

    Love to see it.

    • Lightpurple says:

      @Kitten, speaking of Kirsten, have you seen “Dick?” Michelle and Kirsten play teenage girls who get Richard Nixon hooked on pot brownies. They had great chemistry together and the movie was lots of fun.

      • smlstrs says:

        Yes, ‘Dick’ is light, clever fun – and Michelle and Kirsten are fantastic in it! Speaking of a good winter weekend rewatch candidate …