"I have always been seduced by really good writing," confides award-winning actress, Glenn Close, who now stars in the FX original series Damages, in which she plays Patty Hewes, a tough and ruthless attorney in New York. "Very early on in my career, I made the decision to go where the writing was at a time when I was told, after doing The World According to Garp if I did anything on television, it might really affect my career in film. And it just didn't make sense to me. I kept thinking, well, if the English can do it, why can't we do it?" British actors continually meld television and film careers without any repercussions. "So that's basically how I have made my choices -- is what I read on the page. And, of course, you know, the chance to do it. So if I get a wonderful script for a film and I get the same kind of reaction, that's what I would do. But to have the chance to do a show like this with this incredibly complex character and be and make it in my own backyard was pretty exciting." She also admits she turns down a lot more roles than she accepts.
However, although she is experienced in both television and films, Close confides there is a big difference in the two. "I'm used to beginning, middle, and end. And, you know, whether it's theater or film or other things I've done on television. So the idea of not knowing everything at the beginning, it can be a challenge," she says about her new series. "And I have great confidence that they'll flag me on things that ... for example, if there's something in episode 3 that ... you find out about in episode 7 that they'll let me know about that. But in some ways it's very freeing because you have to just live in the moment, which is basically what we do anyway."
Before she began filming the series, Close took a look at her character and did her homework. " I had a wonderful time talking to some very high-powered, successful female lawyers in New York and to just kind of ask very specific questions, because for me the whole interest was the gender, that this person was a woman at the head of her own law firm in a very, very high-powered male-dominated world. And I can't say that I know exactly every step of how she got to where she got to, but I know she has a lot of war stories. And I love that about her."
In the series Ms. Hewes is married. Actually, Ms. Close admitted that when she read the initial script her character was married to the same man all her married life, but the actress went to the writers and explained that she didn't feel her character would still be on her first husband. "But I felt, with a kind of compulsion and ambition that a character like Patty has, that it would be extremely difficult to maintain your first marriage, and so it became a second marriage." She loves the change. "I think it's a very interesting dynamic because so far we seem to have a very good marriage. And I have seen couples that one is kind of known as a real ballbuster, and somehow somebody who loves them. And I think that's kind of a common occurrence. And I think this is one of those cases that he knows where she's vulnerable, he knows where she needs comfort. Now whether he can give it to her all the time we will find out. But there is a very good balance there." Her husband is played by Michael Nouri
"One of the aspects I really love about her is she knows that she's failed -- that she's not a good mother. She's never been a good mother. She probably never should have had a child. But she has this teenager now and their dynamic is -- I can't wait for that particular storyline because I think she has spawned a child who can give it back to her the way she's given it to everybody else, a real smart kid who's already a master manipulator." She smiles fondly as she describes a scene. "So to have a couple of scenes where it's me on the phone with my son and how I privately react when I put the phone down, to me is gold because it's a private moment, it's something that the audience will see that no one else in the story is aware of, and it really I think adds to the complexity of the character. And so that's one of the fun things. It's like in the Big Chill crying in the shower and nobody knew about it. It's that kind of a scene, and it's great."
The show is shot in New York, which was a big benefit to her because that is where her family lives. Another big plus when she accepted the role is that there are only 13 episodes in the season, which frees her up to do other work and also be with her family.
Damages airs Tuesdays at 10 PM on FX
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