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April 11 2010

Olivia Williams: 'It can be unnerving working for Polanski'. Interview with Olivia Williams from the Guardian.

Olivia Williams discusses her career, mainly focussing on 'The Ghost' (with a brief allusion to Dollhouse).

[ edited by mjwilson on 2010-04-11 13:14 ]

What a woman. I wish I could have watched this interview in live action, but I easily imagine her as "she smiles lazily, almost conspiratorially, terrified by nothing, hindered only by the courtesy of the intelligent."
As long as she's preparing her own food and drink, there's nothing to be nervous about around Polanski.
What a class act. I love how honest she is about the state of roles for women above a certain age, while still being grateful for and excited about the roles she has done.
She was Bruce Willis's wife in The Sixth Sense? Wow, how did I not realize that? Well, I haven't seen the movie since it came out in theaters, but still.
Its unnerving that Roman Polanski is still working.
She was excellent in The Ghost Writer. She and Ewan McGregor both did a wonderful job and had great chemistry.
She just so intelligent, such a terrific actress, and so much fun. I look forward to seeing her, whatever she does.
Its unnerving that Roman Polanski is still working.

But less unnerving than the fact that in two separate incidents within the past week, Southern California police have kidnapped and/or raped and/or brutally raped young women. It's unnerving that a dear friend whom I've known for decades recently confessed she had been repeatedly raped by her childhood parish priest and was disbelieved & rejected by her family. Lots of things are unnerving, Polanski's crime (and dearth of consequence notwithstanding.)

And I hate speaking on behalf of said violators. So on Behalf of Olivia Williams I'll just accept that there is some valid reason why actors (and crew_ still choose to work on Polanski productions, and audience at the theaters. I'll leave it at that.

Except to state that I too will be going through Olivia's IMDB filmography to watch (or rewatch) everything of hers I can.
Title of Olivia Williams memoir: "I Was Always Too . . . Genue."

The Dollhouse DVD extras should include her swearing.
I really didn't know much about Roman Polanski until now, and if Wikipedia is accurate (ha) I don't think I would be able to get near him, let alone work with him in the way that Olivia did.

It's a wonder he isn't considered insane. Is he? I wouldn't blame him for being insane, even given the amount of time since he's wife's death.
I am disturbed by every actor I see talking about Polanski like this, especially ones like Olivia Williams that I usually respect. He's a bloody paedophile!!!

[ edited by daylight on 2010-04-12 00:03 ]
I haven't read up on Polanski in detail and I don't wanna defend the guy if he is a pedophile, but despite the conviction, isn't it still heavily debated ? It sure sounded like a weird situation, with some mother apparently dressing her 13-year-old daughter up to look older and there being a rumor that he wasn't aware of how old she was and all that. Why do so many Hollywood types rush to defend him (it can't be just because he makes good films), if there at least isn't a little bit of deniability in the verdict ? (or did he plead guilty?) *shrugs* Crazy world.

Also, this probably really isn't the place for it, but age 13 was considered adult in the past, as weird as that is to most cultures consider nowadays. Not saying folks in 18+ countries should go against the law/social mores just...the whole age thing is a messy thing when it comes to the lawbooks. It's good that there're protections for teens/young adults within a certain age range (like if a 19-year-old messes around with a 17-year-old, he or she isn't gonna get arrested for the 2-year difference just because the younger is a minor--that's nutty, and it has happened in the past), but I'm not sure what the lawful range should be when it comes to older men/older women messing with consenting teenagers.

I say stick with "your own age or older", but that's just what I like in my mid-to-late 20s here, heh. Mileage definitely varies.

ShanshuBugaboo said:
"Whether he knew she was 13 or not really isn't the issue. It would be illegal to drug someone and have sex with them no matter what their age is."

Ah, didn't know about that aspect of it, Shanshu. That casts things in a less potentially forgiving light, yikes.

Sunfire, okay, sorry to veer off topic.

[ edited by Kris on 2010-04-12 03:13 ]
The only problem is he's a damn good filmmaker and while I'm not completely familiar with all his work I've never seen that aspect of himself come across in his work. Not that I'm condoning acting on such impulses but I think in some cases it may be best to not think about the past and focus, instead, on the present. You're never going to like everything about a single person and a lot of times, actors and directors views clash. You can't judge an actor for thinking about the "art" first.

And Olivia really is a talent and a charm. I recently watched "An Education" where she has a small but important role and i couldn't not be taken in by her in every scene. And this is quite the feat considering in every scene she's in she's opposite Carey Mulligan.
Isn't it still heavily debated ? It sure sounded like a weird situation, with some mother apparently dressing her 13-year-old daughter up to look older and there being a rumor that he wasn't aware of how old she was and all that.

Whether he knew she was 13 or not really isn't the issue. It would be illegal to drug someone and have sex with them no matter what their age is.

I would not work with Polanski, but I don't judge Olivia (whom I adore). I am not sure if I will see it yet or not. I am kind of trying to figure out my politics on this situation.

ETA: I should state that I have watched Polanski's films in the past, and I agree that he is very talented.

[ edited by ShanshuBugaboo on 2010-04-12 03:41 ]
Olivia really is wonderful in the film. Her final scene is just wonderful based on the shot selection and how she sells it with her face.
If we could stick to the film and not the director's past, which is quite a sensitive and contentious topic, much debated elsewhere, much covered in recent press, and not on topic for this thread, I would greatly appreciate it.
In amidst all the Polanski-bashing, no one appears to have noted that she gave a Dollhouse shout-out in her career recap:
"My career has completely happened since I was 29. And with an astonishing range. I've been on a submarine, I've been in post-apocalyptic America, I've run a sinister organisation that imprints people's brains… I couldn't ask for any more fun."

Gotta say I loved her on Dollhouse, but anyone who works for or with Polanski or anyone that defends him is pathetic and well kinda sick. But yay for the Dollhouse shout-out, great show, still miss it.
Polanski:

He's a film-maker, he's a person, responsible for his deeds.
Imo, you cannot separate the man from the artist.

If you seek for validated information about the allegations, go here:
http://www.vachss.com/mission/roman_polanski.html
Sunfire did ask very nicely that we stick to the film and not the director's past.
Fun interview to read, but did anybody else find the writing style of the interviewer hilariously affected? The "terrified by nothing, hindered only by the courtesy of the intelligent" line cracked me up as the most over-the-top example. I was interested in him comparing her (sort of) to Kristin Scott Thomas (who I also adore and who also has amazing eyebrows) - though she seems a "softer" type in some ways I can't think of any two other actresses who can do that sort of bloodlessly vicious thing so well, then turn on a dime and seem vulnerable.

I do want to see the film, not going to get into the Polanski thing because Sunfire did ask so nicely ;).
Olivia Williams and Ewan McGregor? Irresistible.

Loved this:
I couldn't get any of the ingenue roles when younger because at 5ft 9in with a deep voice I was always too… genue.
I thoroughly *adore* Olivia's way with words - she clearly loves & has great facility with them. A very incisive wit and great sensitivity - such a winning combo. Well, not to mention her beauty and acting chops.

Yeah, catherine, I also found the writer's style pretty hi-larious - although it did work for me here: "... the odd cut-glass four-letter word."

I wish my swearing came across all judicious and perfectly-placed like a crystal glass on a walnut pie-plate table. Sadly, it's much more like a truckdriver in a bull-shop. ; >

Pointy, I think you've almost hit it there, although I think she could just go with the simpler "Too Genue."

Re: Polanski - contentious, complicated, greyer than some think, with plenty of damage and pain all around. There, I'm done.
*gasp* Quotergal I'm telling. Sunfiiiiiire! Quotergal was talking about Polaaaanski!

I spent a chunk of yesterday with a couple of five year olds. Le sigh.

I like "Too Genue" for a title as well. Now if only she'd decide to write an autobiography and let the title be decided by an on-line poll! That only we knew about!

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