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Michelle Williams Talks Blue Valentine, Meek's Cutoff, Playing Marilyn Monroe, Female Directors

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood December 3, 2010 at 4:42AM

Michelle Williams has a lot going on. Not only is the actress enjoying her Indie Spirit nomination for Sundance/Cannes/Toronto fave Blue Valentine (while decrying her co-star's Ryan Gosling's omission), but she's fearlessly stepping up to playing icon Marilyn Monroe in the upcoming My Week with Marilyn. She's enjoying working with two women directors, Kelly Reichardt (Wendy and Me Lucy, Meek's Cutoff, which goes from Venice and Toronto to Sundance) and Sarah Polley (the upcoming Take This Waltz). UPDATE: Blue Valentine's NC-17 rating has been overturned and the American Cinematheque is honoring Williams with a tribute on December 11 at Los Angeles's Aero Theater, to include clips of her films, a discussion with moderator Timothy Blake and a screening of Blue Valentine.
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Thompson on Hollywood

Michelle Williams has a lot going on. Not only is the actress enjoying her Indie Spirit nomination for Sundance/Cannes/Toronto fave Blue Valentine (while decrying her co-star's Ryan Gosling's omission), but she's fearlessly stepping up to playing icon Marilyn Monroe in the upcoming My Week with Marilyn. She's enjoying working with two women directors, Kelly Reichardt (Wendy and Me Lucy, Meek's Cutoff, which goes from Venice and Toronto to Sundance) and Sarah Polley (the upcoming Take This Waltz). UPDATE: Blue Valentine's NC-17 rating has been overturned and the American Cinematheque is honoring Williams with a tribute on December 11 at Los Angeles's Aero Theater, to include clips of her films, a discussion with moderator Timothy Blake and a screening of Blue Valentine.

Clearly, this young actress is picking well, from Tom McCarthy's 2003 The Station Agent and Ang Lee's 2005 Brokeback Mountain opposite the ill-fated Heath Ledger (the father of her five-year-old daughter), which earned her Spirit and Oscar noms, to this year's role as Leonardo DiCaprio's daffy wife in Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island. I stopped by the Four Seasons with my flip cam to see what makes this actress tick. I found out, among other things, that she cries easily, once did a play with Mike Leigh, and would love to work with him again...

Here is our Sundance interview with Blue Valentine's Ryan Gosling and director Derek Cianfrance.

This article is related to: Awards, Box Office, Directors, Festivals, Genres, Headliners, Independents, Video, Interviews , Media, Oscars, Winter, Sundance, Drama


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.