Glenn Close. Maxie & Jagged Edge. September 27, 1985
  • Golden Globe Awards

Oral History: Glenn Close on Women

Glenn Close plays the grandmother in Hillbilly Elegy directed by Ron Howard from a true story. When the HFPA interviewed her in 1985, the actress spoke about her early film roles, and how they reflected the dilemmas of modern women.

“I’ve tried to be realistic about the fact that I was brought to the attention of Hollywood through The World According to Garp, in which I played Jenny Fields, a 45- to 50-year-old woman, so I knew that everyone would then offer me more roles like that. That’s just the nature of the business. I’ve had to be patient to be able to show my range. Maxie and Jagged Edge are my first leading roles, and I was ready to do that 10 years ago.”

“I realized the progression between Sarah Cooper in The Big Chill and Teddy in Jagged Edge. I played Sarah at a time when there were a lot of articles about superwomen, career women, wives, and mothers and how they couldn’t wait to do it all. Anything was possible and there was this new breed of woman. The character was contending with that and spreading herself a bit too thin, she would always feel that she didn’t have enough time for anyone, but, in the eyes of everyone else, she was able to cope.”

“When I was preparing for the role in Jagged Edge, almost like a coincidence, there were a lot of articles about women who had tried to do it all, but had to cut back on their jobs, or take lesser jobs for less pay, so they could spend more time with their families. It was very difficult and pretty impossible to pull off the triple whammy. So, Teddy is brilliant in her career and yet she has not been successful in her marriage, she is not a great cook and she finds it hard to focus on her children at times. And that was very real, a lot of women are probably in that same position right now, so Teddy is a woman that a lot of people would relate to.”

“In Maxie Jan doesn’t know in the beginning how wonderful she is. It’s not that she’s necessarily repressed, because they have a nice life and a good sex life, but she’s not aware of the possibilities of life, and, as the movie progresses, she starts blossoming until, in the end, you feel that she’s really going to get a lot more out of life.”

“That’s been my progression as well because when I was little, I was very shy and it’s something that I continually have to contend with, but as I do more work and as I grow as a person and as an artist, all these factors have an effect on each other. When I went to college, that was the beginning of a very creative time in my life, when I was outside my family, so it was me.”

“I was very idealistic in the ’60s. I wrote songs, I played my guitar, I thought that the world could be changed if everybody held hands and sang together. I was very naïve but very sincere, and I came out of it with a certain degree of disillusionment, which was what a lot of people found, that you weren’t part of a group anymore, and all of a sudden you had to start life for yourself.”