The Red Sea International Film Festival, in addition to watching the films in competition and the many previews, offers the public the opportunity to participate in various meetings with entertainment personalities. Gwyneth Paltrow was the protagonist of one of these, for the first time in Saudi Arabia (“I have just arrived in Jeddah and have seen little of the city but I hope to be able to visit it before leaving again,” she said).
Interviewed by the president of the Red Sea Film Foundation Jomana-Al Rashid, Paltrow spoke about her career, from the beginning to the success, and the choice, 15 years ago, to become an entrepreneur, creating Goop, a company in the field of wellness, lifestyle and beauty which, he said, “I hope to soon expand outside the United States, into the Middle East and Europe.” Confirming, on the other hand – fans won’t be happy about this – of I have no intention of returning to acting for now: «But never say never. If a friend of mine were to call me and ask me to do something together I might change my mind.”
Becoming an actress, she said, was in some ways her destiny, «because my mother was an actress, even though she mostly worked in the theater, and I grew up seeing her shows. In life she was a rather insecure woman, but on stage she transformed and became a true force of nature. As a child, I witnessed her transformation and wanted to do the same, I thought that acting was a way for a woman to feel strong, to have a voice. I started with school shows, like many girls and boys. But every time I told my parents that I wanted to be an actress when I grew up, their answer was no: you’ll have to go through our bodies. Until one day, I was 17, I was sitting in a café during a break from school and an officer approached me. He told me they were making a film and asked me if I wanted to audition.”
Paltrow, without saying anything at home, he introduced himself and passed the first selection. «But, I think from her surname, they understood who my mother was and called her. When I returned home I found her looking at me with a look halfway between irritated – because I had gone to the audition without asking her permission – and proud because I had been good enough to convince them to call me for a second audition.”
In the end, he explained, he didn’t get the part, «but I started doing a few summer shows and someone noticed me. Until I got my first role in a film.”
Success for Gwyneth Paltrow
A few years later Gwyneth Paltrow was already a star. Thanks to films like Seven by David Fincher, «one of the directors with whom I got along best. But I also really loved working with Anthony Minghella in Talented Mr. Ripley and with Wes Anderson in The Tenenbaums: It’s amazing how popular this last film is still among kids, my daughter’s friends love it.”
And, again, other successful films such as Emmabased on the novel by Jane Austen, Sliding Doors, Shakespeare in Lovefor which she won an Oscar for best actress in 1999. Until Iron Man, which opened the doors of the Marvel universe to her. «But the first Iron Man, the one from 2008, was anything but a blockbuster,” he said. «The production was convinced that it wouldn’t go well. They cast Robert Downey Jr. in the lead role which, at the time, no one wanted to cast (Downey Jr. was convicted of drug possessioni, ed.) and that he had reached the lowest point of his career and, then, they called me. I replied that I had no intention of being in a superhero film. But they explained to me that the budget was limited and that, therefore, it would be like working in a small independent film, that we would have fun and that I wouldn’t have to take part in the action scenes. And so I accepted. Every morning we met with the director to write the day’s scenes. We basically improvised almost all the time. But after the enormous success of the first Iron Man working on subsequent films became a whole other thing. I honestly stopped following the sequels, the spin-offs, the various ones Avengers because at a certain point I lost track of who and what… I want to be honest, I’ve never even seen it Avengers: Endgame (From 2019, the last of the series in which he took part, ed.). I’ll probably have to do it sooner or later.”
I saved myself from Hollywood
During the meeting with the audience at the Red Sea International Film Festival, the actress spoke about her experience in Hollywood, especially in the early years of her career. And she explained that she was somehow protected from the dark side of that world, not always easy for women, as a daughter of art, with an actress mother and a director father «who, in turn, had friends in the world of entertainment. I know I was privileged in this respect, because Hollywood can be difficult for young actresses. But if I could go back, there are a few things I wish I could change. My problem is that I never fully believed that I deserved success. And this lack of self-confidence made me make some mistakes. For example, she made me say no to directors who I should have worked with instead, and vice versa.”
But, reflecting on those choices which, in retrospect, may not seem exactly right, he added: «It is true, however, that I also learned by working on horrible films like the one I made with Jessica Lange. Today I can say it: it was really bad (It doesn’t mention the title but it’s Obsession, from 1998), yet it was useful to me, because it allowed me to observe her on set, study her acting technique.”
Cinema, she reiterates several times, she doesn’t miss. «I still have a lot of work to do with Goop. The fact is that when my daughter Apple was born, for the first time in many years I had to stop for a while. And during that time I allowed myself to ask myself if there was anything else I wanted to do. The truth is that I like to let people know about the things I love. I’ve always made lists of things to do, places to see and so on for my friends… This is how the idea for Goop was born. At the time, social media didn’t exist yet and people didn’t understand what I had in mind. The point is that each of us goes through different chapters in our lives, from a young woman busy building a career to a mother, grandmother… We change and our interests change. I wanted to do something completely different and I’m happy with my decision. I learned things I never imagined I would have to deal with, from how to use Excel to inventory management.”
Source: Vanity Fair
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