Glenn Close is known as one of the most talented actresses in Hollywood, so it’s telling that while filming the movie adaption of Meg Wolitzer’s The Wife, she embarked on a grueling journey to understand the character.
The Fatal Attraction alum, 71, stars as Joan Castleman, the stoic wife to a well-known novelist, who put her own career aside to focus on her husband’s before realizing how doing so has worked against her. Close stars alongside Jonathan Pryce — who plays her cheating husband, Joe Castleman — Christian Slater and her daughter in real life, Annie Starke, who portrays a younger Joan in the psychological thriller. In an era where movie adaptions — like Gone Girl and Girl on the Train — tend to end up just as successful as the novels they originate from, critics are raving about Close’s complex performance, which shows the 101 Dalmatians star showcasing a wide range of emotions.
“I think when you meet [Joan], she is a woman who has gotten used to being in the background. They have gotten used to checking his beard and making sure he’s taking his pills and holding his coat. Actually in some of the scenes, the scene where we arrive in Stockholm and I’m in the background holding his coat, I love that scene. Just standing there. Because it represented her, she was complicitous as well. But it’s the position that she had gotten herself into,” Close told Us Weekly at the movie’s premiere on Monday, July 23. “I don’t have the time to kind of analyze it, but the journey that I went on, the mental, emotional, psychological kind of journey of discovery to figure out who this woman was, was very tricky — and ultimately very rewarding.”
Close’s costars couldn’t help but gush about the Guardians of the Galaxy actress’ layered performance. Slater, 48, told Us, “She’s a brilliant actress. She’s somebody I have grown up admiring my entire career. I also feel that there were so many elements that come into play with something like this … The camera was used in a way to compliment Glenn’s brilliance, her nuances. I think also this is a story about nuance and history and what making an arrangement with your spouse can look like and feel like and be like. It ends up becoming a movie that feels very suffocating to a certain degree where you’re waiting for the explosion to happen.”
“So to a large degree, with her performance and all those other elements that I mentioned, what I’m picking up from audiences is that they tend to be on the edge of their seats,” Slater added at the event, held at the Pacific Design Center. “That’s very exciting.”
Jeff Goldbum, who worked with Close on The Big Chill, also raved about his former costar, telling Us, “She’s so brilliant, she’s so smart and so deep and so mysteriously talented with such enormous range. She’s just spectacular. There is something about her on the inside — and the outside, too — but the inside that just glows brighter than you’re allowed to.”
The Wife will be released in theaters on Friday, August 17.
With reporting by Nicholas White
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