Patricia Sheridan's Breakfast With ... Anjelica Huston

February 27, 2012 12:01 am
  • Anjelica Huston as Eileen Rand.
    Anjelica Huston as Eileen Rand.
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I understand you are writing your memoir. Looking back, does it feel like you've had multiple lifetimes?

At least nine. Very much so. There was my early life in Ireland, and then there was my life in England. Then life post my mother's death in '69, when I came to New York and lived here. Then there was my departure and removal to Los Angeles, where I lived for 17 years with Jack Nicholson. Then there was my sort of emergence as an actress in my own right. Then there were various other smaller lives, and then there was my marriage. Now there is this sort of period where I've been in New York post my husband's death (three years ago). It's another new sort of door opening.

You could have been defined by all these powerful men in your life, especially your dad and Jack Nicholson.

Well, I am defined by them, but I'm grateful to be defined by them. The only reason Jack and my father look big is they were more public than, for instance, my husband. But all of them have defined me, and I hope I've left my imprint on them.

In other interviews, you have said your father could be very critical, and on top of that your mother died when you were just 17. Those circumstances could paralyze someone with insecurity. Was that an issue for you?

Well, I was very insecure but also very headstrong, which is a bit of a troublesome dichotomy [laughing]. I'm shy and gregarious. It sort of depends on which -- I won't even say day you find me on -- because it's a bit more mercurial than that even. But I think it is one of the reasons why I think acting is a good profession for me, because I've always had laughter under the tears and tears under the laughter. I have a facility for that, and it's kind of the way I am, you know, sort of the way my personality seems to unfold. My character seems to be planted in two worlds at the same time -- two emotional worlds at the same time, at least [laughing].

Have you ever used your considerable skill as an actress to your advantage in real life?

You know, real life is the one place I don't like to act because acting in real life feels like a lie. You have to be very, very careful. When I was a kid I would lie. I was sort of prone to it, prone to a certain level of dishonesty [laughs]. You know, a parent would ask you, "Did you do ..." and I would reply, "Yes." It was mostly because I didn't. I was lazy about certain things. I just didn't want to really engage. It was the easy way. But I don't advocate it. It's not a good thing.

First Published 2012-02-26 23:22:36

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