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Oscar Watch: Janet McTeer Talks Gender-Bending Albert Nobbs and Glenn Close

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood November 14, 2011 at 4:28PM

Janet McTeer didn't mean to steal the gender-bender drama "Albert Nobbs" from its writer-producer-star, Glenn Close, who developed and willed the $8-million period film into being. But McTeer does, partly because the tall powerful stage actress (Oscar-nominated for "Tumbleweeds") has the showier part as free-wheeling house painter Hubert. Actors will recognize the degree of difficulty for the diminutive Close, whose character is locked in a 30-year prison, passing as a man in 19th century Dublin. While Nobbs is closed in, lonely and isolated, hiding behind a mask, frightened of any disturbance in her world, Hubert owns the physicality and freedom of a man--and lives with a woman. My video interview with McTeer is below.
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Glenn Close and Janet McTeer in "Albert Nobbs"
Glenn Close and Janet McTeer in "Albert Nobbs"

Janet McTeer didn't mean to steal the gender-bender drama "Albert Nobbs" from its writer-producer-star, Glenn Close, who developed and willed the $8-million period film into being. But McTeer does, partly because the tall powerful stage actress (Oscar-nominated for "Tumbleweeds") has the showier part as free-wheeling house painter Hubert. Actors will recognize the degree of difficulty for the diminutive Close, whose character is locked in a 30-year prison, passing as a man in 19th century Dublin. While Nobbs is closed in, lonely and isolated, hiding behind a mask, frightened of any disturbance in her world, Hubert owns the physicality and freedom of a man--and lives with a woman. My video interview with McTeer is below.

Here's an "Albert Nobbs" review round-up; I also interviewed Close here and Mia Wasikowska here. The movie will open limited on December 31 in advance of a wider January release.

This article is related to: Oscars, Awards, Interviews , Women in Film, Awards, Toronto


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Thompson on Hollywood

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.