Michelle Williams by Shawn Dogimont
Photos by Mark Segal
Styling Kemal + Karla
Shawn Dogimont. — Which play were you telling me about last week? Something about it or the actors leading back to a theatre school in France…
Michelle Williams. — Yes. When I was working in London this fall, I had a couple of scenes with Toby Jones. The man can employ subtle but jaw dropping contradictions between his actions and his words, the likes of which I’ve never seen. Like a hound on the scent, I found out that he had studied at [L’École Jacques] Lecoq in Paris, as had Simon McBurney. I went to see two productions put on by Complicite, Simon’s theatre troupe and felt like I had the sleep rubbed out of my eyes. It seemed like a new horizon for me. I often dream of quitting acting. Walking away and becoming a laundress or a sous chef or maybe writing other people’s love letters for a living. Clearly, I don’t like to be in charge. And thinking of quitting is just keeping going in disguise. When you have options, anything is bearable. It’s when a situation is inescapable that it becomes hell. It seems to me that as soon as you get good at something, it is a sure sign that it is about to walk out of your life because it ceases to hold your mind and creative energy hostage. What these guys are up to is as foreign as another language to me. I’m mystified and utterly curious. What a lovely feeling of renewal. I’ve been acting for twenty years and watching them work I’m eight years old all over again and watching my first play for the first time. Holding on to the edge of my seat because it might take off. Who knew?
SD Going back to Wendy and Lucy and Meek’s Cutoff, have you developed an affinity with Oregon at all? The first time I met you was in the Ace in New York and so wondered if you spent time at the one in Portland because they were both filmed in that area.
MW I have very fond memories of the Ace Hotel in Portland. Yeah, that is some place where I played with my “perfect world” game. And I thought that Portland might get pretty close. Man, there is nothing like a Portland summer. But then I also realized as soon as you make a place home, you invite entanglements, and Portland seemed like a place that I would want to keep free from that. As long as I don’t make it my home it stays perfection. I can miss it, I can yearn for it, I can fantasize about it and I can visit it and have the best time.
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