The love is mutual between Patricia Clarkson and the Czech spa town of Karlovy Vary.
In 2019, the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival honored the actress with its Crystal Globe Lifetime Achievement Award. After a warm reception from the festival and local moviegoers, Clarkson returns this year as a jury member for the main competition.
When he presented a projection of monica, the drama starring transgender actress Trace Lysette and herself, at the Karlovy Vary Municipal Theater on Sunday, was again greeted with a wave of applause and recognition. “I’m thinking of moving to Karlovy Vary so we can hang out here together,” Clarkson told the audience.
The festival underscored the special relationship with Clarkson, saying: “The Karlovy Vary Festival has traditionally fostered a cordial relationship with its stars, however it is a rare and special event when a celebrity also values ties to the atmosphere and audience of the festival”.
While watching competition movies, Clarkson took time out for an interview with the hollywood reportersharing how he chooses roles, discussing monicawhich he presented at Karlovy Vary, and lilyhis next film about fair pay activist Lilly Ledbetter.
Robin Wright will be honored by the Karlovy Vary festival in a few days, and you worked with her on house of cards. You’ve worked with so many big names, be it actors or behind-the-camera talent. Someone you’d still love to work with?
So many that I honestly don’t know where to start. But when I look at the extraordinary people I’ve worked with, from producers and directors to actors, I feel knocked out. I have been very lucky in film, television and theater.
And I have this big theater project in London. I’m doing [Eugene O’Neill’s] Long day’s journey into the night opposite Brian Cox. Know [the play’s family matriarch] Mary Tyrone? Bring it on, baby! my two young children [played by Alex Lawther and Daryl McCormack] they’re amazing. So I’m overwhelmed. And Jeremy Herrin is the director.
But recently I worked with Andrea Pallaoro, who is a remarkable, remarkable director. And he brought it all to monica. I had an extraordinary time shooting that movie. And I’m so glad it’s already available in the world. It is a privilege to be a part of that beautiful film.
How do you choose your papers?
What is important to me is the quality of the piece, it is not about the size. I loved being in She said in this small role, but playing this formidable and brilliant woman [New York Times investigations editor Rebecca Corbett], someone I revere. And it’s about the quality of the project and the director.
I was not lost with monica that a transgender actress would get to star in the film. She was not the minor character. She was. She would direct the film. And that was very important to me. That was an easy “yes.”
I have this beautiful film about [anti-employment discrimination activist] Lilly Ledbetter approaches. And that was easy. Who doesn’t want to play her, one of my heroines? I am one of five daughters with a mother who ran a city. Lilly Ledbetter is a one-in-a-million lady. They offer me these formidable pieces, these pieces that take me to places that I’m not quite sure I can do. Like some of the scenes from monica. That scene where I’m crying for my mom. When you think about that scene, when you see it on paper, and then the day comes and you say: Oh, this is the day I have to cry for my mother. And you just have to let it all go, you have to go to the places that require you as an actress. And it never gets easy and it never should be easy.
Can you get into a role and then leave it behind? Or do the papers and material stay with you for a long time?
I had to move on to something else afterwards monicaso that was good. but i got lost monica, I missed the beauty of the set, Andrea Pallaoro and Trace. They became my family, so I miss the closeness of it all. And I loved my fellow actress Adriana Barraza, one of the greatest living Mexican actresses of all time. And here I get to work with her every day. and Joshua Close. He looks so much like my son. I could have given birth to him. and the beautiful emily [Browning]. I become very close to people. I think you can only fake so much as an actor. You really have to have love and respect and have a real connection with people. I’m not methodical, but I have my own method and that requires that I don’t have to go that far. I need to have love and affection close.
tell me a bit more about lily, the film by Lilly Ledbetter. Do we know where and when that comes out?
We’re not sure where we’re headed, we just finished the movie. And now that the post is done, there’s even a beautiful anthem song at the end: beautiful. So we’re waiting to see where we go with that.
My mom was overwhelmed that I was playing the great Lily Leadbetter, as you can imagine. She is almost contemporary with my mother. I age from 40 to 73 in it. Now, I get a little old at 40. But as I go through the ages, 74 got easier (laughs). It’s a movie about a woman’s heroics, and how she kept getting knocked down, repeatedly. And she kept getting up, and eventually very important people in Washington began to realize, “Wait, this is extraordinary.” And President Obama, one of my personal heroes, put her in the spotlight in the most beautiful way possible. [signing as his first piece of legislation the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act].
She has such a heart and soul and modesty and wit. She is really daring. And she has a bit of vanity, which she likes too. Yes, she did dye her hair platinum and became something of a bombshell later in life. I mean, she was a beautiful woman. And it was a privilege to play that. I have high hopes. I think it’s a movie that will be shown all over the United States. I think women across our country, women of all ages, will understand Lilly Ledtter better. Any woman in a workplace or any woman who has been in a workplace and is now retired will understand this.
How important is it for you to portray characters that can be role models or motivate people?
It’s nice because I’ve played some domestic ones. [roles], sharp objects and monica, and now I become a power. And I loved every minute. My mother is a politician. I grew up in a political household. My mother ran the city of New Orleans, she was president of the city council. So I love being able to play like a powerhouse, especially coming out monica, playing this kind of dying, beautiful and fragile character, a woman who truly finds grace, love and acceptance in the final moments of her life. And I went from that to a woman who fought for everything, since she was born. There are some monologues in this movie that will knock people out.
She is from Possum Trot, Alabama, and I have her accent. I grew up in New Orleans, but I had relatives from Alabama and relatives from Mississippi. That accent was not entirely foreign to me. Thank God!
You also play a strong female lead in the AGC and Lionsgate series. Grey, about a spy who comes back from the cold after 20 years in hiding and trying to avoid government agents who suspect she is a traitor. Any news on that?
We are waiting to see where that goes. That is the sexiest lady ever written. John McLaughlin [the writer]I owe him everything for making me an object of desire. God bless you! It is directed by the great Canadian director Ruba Nadda with whom I worked on Cairo time (2009).
In GreyI play this really tough spy, this woman who was at the top of her game, who disappeared from her kids and her husband for 20 years. And the great Rupert Everett, the great Rupert Everett. Did I already say great? He is playing an American with a perfect American accent. Perfection! And he takes his character to new places. He’s the head of this sort of branch of the CIA. He knows where to find me. And he’s after me because I’m an expert on North Korea. He finds me, and I think he knows that I want to go home, I want to go back inside. And I return to the fray. But I’m a bastard. It’s a very emotional part, but it’s also very hard. And very sexual. And very funny, she has her own sense of humor. The great Shawn Doyle, the sexiest man, is another great character. There are incredible Canadian actors. The best of Canada is in this! And then there’s the beautiful Lydia West, the stunning young British actress who plays my co-star.
It’s not really a spyware. It is, but it’s a character study. It is much closer to the great show that Helen Mirren did a long time ago. [Prime Suspect]. It’s not cat and mouse. It’s about these spies and the cost of being a spy in your life. It’s not about the shootings.
Speaking of strong women: What’s your take on how much progress Hollywood has made in fighting misogyny, ageism, and sexism?
It’s withering, it’s fading. Misogyny was brought into such prominence, of course, with Harvey [Weinstein] and many other people, many, many. The heavyweights fell. And we watched them fall, one by one. How the mighty fall. As women, we stood idly by and watched: boom, boom, boom, and we all said “bye-bye!” We’re done. There are still hints of it here and there. You know you don’t fix centuries-old problems in a decade, but now we’re really empowered as women, we really have a say.
You’re not just going to make movies starring young girls. Older women, like Jamie Lee Curtis and Helen Mirren, are now the most attractive people working in Hollywood. Hurrah! Who won all the awards last year in TV and film? They were women over 50 years of age. Come on!
What else can you say about all these female-driven vehicles and female lead parts we’ve seen?
Women in large parts. Yes. Women owners of the night, owners of the day. Women that people are pushing for. And not all of us are heroes. We are not all saints. But they are women-driven stories. They are stories in which we continue to be sexy, alive, powerful, fabulous or murderous, ugly in the southern sense of the word, which is my favorite. My mother would say, “Patty, don’t be ugly.” It means: Don’t be rude, don’t be impolite.
We have started. And we are not going back. We are not turning around. I am one of many, many, many women now in Hollywood. I am doing the protagonists, I am doing wonderful secondary characters, in cinema, television, theater. I’m ready. We are still going forward.
I know I have to finish and let you continue with another job. Anything else you want to share or mention?
How I love this festival. Arriving here four years ago and receiving the Crystal Globe was one of the most beautiful moments of my entire career. This festival is run by experts. Being a juror is hard, but I didn’t make an empty promise. I had such a beautiful time here being honored. I said I’ll be back and I’ll be on the jury. And they probably said, “yes, yes.” Here I am!
I can’t tell you what it meant to me to go present monica here. The theater was packed. I mean, there wasn’t a single empty seat in that theater at one o’clock in the afternoon. This festival is near and dear to my heart. I love being in Karlovy Vary. I signed so many autographs, and I’ll sign a million more. And I love every one of them.