San Sebastián: Glenn Close Discusses ‘The Wife,’ Finding Inspiration, How to Celebrate Award Wins

The Wife’ makes its way from Toronto to the San Sebastián shores, accompanied by cast and crew

SAN SEBASTIAN — There are few careers that boast the diversity and longevity of that of Glenn Close. There is neither medium nor genre that the actress has not worked in on some level. Typically recognized for her dramatic roles, think “Fatal Attraction,” Close has appeared in comedies: “The Stepford Wives,” “Louie,” animation: “Family Guy,” and “Tarza,” and big budget action films like Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” series.

The actress was in town this week to promote her latest feature “The Wife,” in which Variety described her performance as “a marvel of twisty understatement.” Along with co-star Annie Starke, director Björn Runge and producer Claudia Bluemhuber, the four addressed the press Saturday morning.

“The Wife,” is a story told from two perspectives, as described by Runge. “The young couple is creating a life together and the older is reflecting on that life. It’s the same characters, but they are on opposite sides.”

In the film, based on the Meg Wolitzer book of the same name, Starke and Close play two versions of fictional writer Joan Castleman a lifetime apart. In the film, the character reflects on a life built on a lie, born from the prejudice of a long past generation, but which has festered for decades. Castleman must decide if she is satisfied to let the lie continue, and maintain the status quo, or if the time has come for her to stand on her own two feet and tell the world a truth which could irreversibly harm her family.

Speaking in front of the assembled press, when asked about the character’s ultimate decision, the representatives of the film explained the struggles they faced when deciding on how to handle the ending.

“We could have had different endings to this film. We do have a different version, but (whatever ending) we made, the decision was that she isn’t the accomplice anymore,” said Bluemhuber.

Close then added: “If she tells her story it has to be on her terms and a way that her family isn’t involved. “

When asked how she crafted the character, Close said she drew inspirations from relationships in her own life, but also from her mother. “(My mother) was married to my father in the ’40s and raised us in the 50s and 60s, so I understood a lot of the psychology.”

As to what drew the actress to the film, Close said: “ I think what’s interesting is how complex this story is. She (Castleman) is part of the lie as much as her husband is. They fell into it and started a life together until it morphed into something different and became something she felt was so untrue.”

“The Wife,” which premiered at Toronto, is an international co-production between U.K.’s Tempo Productions Limited, Anonymous Content and Sweden’s Spark and regional fund Film i Väst, with sales rights handled by London-based Embankment Films.

In the final question of the morning, Close was asked if she were to win an Oscar for the film, if she would copy her character’s celebration by jumping on the bed and shouting. “I would jump on the bed, strip naked and run down the street!”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Gareth Jones

    Samuel Goldwyn Films Takes North American Rights to Berlin Competition Title 'Mr Jones'

    Samuel Goldwyn Films has taken North American rights on Agnieska Holland’s “Mr. Jones,” it announced Thursday. The period thriller debuted in competition at the Berlin Film Festival in February. Set on the eve of the Second World War, “Mr. Jones” stars James Norton as the eponymous character, an ambitious young journalist who travels to Moscow [...]

  • Live Action Mulan

    China Uses Disney's 'Mulan' to Attack Hong Kong Protests

    Although Twitter and Facebook have taken steps to stop what they say is a Chinese state-backed misinformation campaign about the anti-government protests in Hong Kong, similar content from suspicious accounts continues to proliferate widely, some of it co-opting Disney‘s new “Mulan“ to try to discredit the demonstrators. At the same time, China‘s government-controlled media are [...]


    San Sebastian Adds Alice Winocour, Malgorzata Szumowska, Sarah Gavron to Main Comp

    The Darren Aronofsky-produced Brazilian title “Pacified,” by American director Paxton Winters, Alice Winocour’s French-German astronaut drama “Proxima” and Polish film director Małgorzata Szumowska’s religious thriller “The Other Lamb” are among the six final competition selections for September’s 67th San Sebastian Film Festival. Also vying for San Sebastian’s Golden Shell will be U.K. drama “Rocks,” from [...]

  • Jamile Wenske

    Jamila Wenske Leaves One Two Films to Head Achtung Panda! in Berlin

    German producer Jamila Wenske has left One Two Films to head Achtung Panda!, a Berlin-based film production company. Wenske succeeds former managing director Helge Albers, who left Achtung Panda! to become the new CEO of regional funder Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein. Wenske partnered with Sol Bondy and Christoph Lange to launch One Two Films in 2010. [...]

  • Tuva-Novotny

    Tuva Novotny Questions Monogamy in 'Diorama' Pic (EXCLUSIVE)

    HAUGESUND, Norway  — Actress-turned-helmer Tuva Novotny thrives on big challenges. Her feature debut “Blindspot,” Norway’s entry for the 2019 Nordic Council Prize, was shot in real-time in one take and illuminates mental health issues. Her sophomore mainstream Swedish pic “Britt Marie Was Here” –slated for a Sept. 20 U.S. release via Cohen Media Group –  [...]

  • Seizure

    Writer Megan Gallagher On Her Viaplay Supernatural Nordic-Noir 'Seizure'

    With outposts in Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo, Miso Film has become one of the most influential film and TV outfits in Scandinavia. On August 19, the company’s Norwegian arm lifted the curtain on its series venture, the supernatural police drama “Seizure” by premiering the show’s first two episodes at the Haugesund Film Festival ahead of [...]

  • Thoma-Robsahm

    World Partners Board “a-ha The Movie” as Helmer Tells It All (EXCLUSIVE)

    HAUGESUND, Norway  — Pitched at Haugesund’s New Nordic Films confab, Thomas Robsahm and Aslaug Holm’s doc “a-ha -The Movie” won’t hit screens before November 2020, but an array of new production and distribution partners have already boarded the project. Clementina Hegewisch of Neue Impuls and Matthias Greving of Kinescope Film in Germany are now co-producing [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content