The actress returns to the screen after a ten year hiatus, in The Omen
Mia Farrow returns to the silver screen after ten years. She plays "Mrs. Blaylock", the nanny who protects Damien. Her take on the character is drastically different from the original film. She plays her as a quiet menace, whereas Billie Whitelaw was outwardly evil. Mia was looking for a "fun" role after her hiatus. She had spent her time raising children with disabilities and this was the first opportunity to leave home for an extended period of time.
Why make this film after ten years away from the big screen?
Mia Farrow: John Moore [the director] asked me and I said yes. I was doing a play with Julia [Stiles] last July and the call came in from John. He's a young, passionate guy and a brilliant filmmaker. Billie Whitelaw, for anyone in my generation, was one of the icons. She interpreted all of the Beckett plays and she was amazing in that film. John said "She was great, but I want it played differently. She tipped her hand, and I don't think the audience, or that couple, would hire a nanny that scary". So then my job when I come to get employed by that couple is to convince them that I'll be the most affectionate and responsible person to take care of their child.
Was working with Julia Stiles again a key selling point?
Mia Farrow: That was a definite plus. I couldn't believe my good fortune because I absolutely adore her. John had thrown in the name of Liev [Schreiber]. I think he's the Olivier of our young actors. But I just knew that it would be fun. I'm just starting to go back into movies because I raised a group of children, many with just profound disabilities. This is the first year that I could leave home for any significant time. What luck to get asked to do anything really, but to do something that I knew could be really good. I just lucked out.
Are you a fan of horror movies?
Mia Farrow: No I'm not. I get much too scared. Not even in the safety of my home would I see those movies. I scurry right by when I see them on TV. Nope, don't want to see them.
How do you prepare to play a psychotic, Satan-worshipping nanny?
Mia Farrow: Really the same way you approach any other part. Just define those elements that are the same. She had her faith and I have mine, it's just the prism and magnification and all of that that you would do to make it fit her objective. But actually the components are not dissimilar to ones that you or I might have. So you know, people say "How do you go about playing an evil person?" You really can't set about it in that way, you wouldn't get very far.
Do you believe in the idea of the Antichrist?
Mia Farrow: It was interesting for me because I was brought up as a Catholic, and my first catechism books, thirteen years of Catholic education, had pictures of a little devil that would be telling you things in your ear, tempting you, leading you astray. Then you'd be having an angel pulling you the right way. And I think that in this world today, that it's more appropriate that it should be a child's faith to personify that. We know the duality of human nature. We're capable of altruism and such goodness, but you don't have to look further than the darker region of Sudan to see that we're capable of terrible destruction. I believe in genocide education. I have seven sons and unfortunately, it's men really who are victimizing women around the world. It's men leading us into battle, and whatever it is that helped a species survive, we've outlived that usefulness. So one of my mantras with my children is to find a peaceful resolution to conflict, the other is responsibility. We need to accept that the enemy is us. It's not that devil that I saw in my catechism book; it's our own human components.
How do you feel about remakes? Are you worried they're going to go back and try to do "Rosemary's Baby" again?
Mia Farrow: They might, but you know there are some things that I hope they won't touch. I can't picture a remake of Gone with the Wind being anywhere near as good, "Lawrence of Arabia", some of the Hitchcock movies. I think that "Rosemary's Baby" is one of those that you have a master filmmaker and is shot to perfection. Another can tell the tale, but would they tell the tale in such an expert way? I think that film buffs love that film, not just for the chill, but because it's really masterfully made.
You have a great fight scene with Liev. What was it difficult to film?
Mia Farrow: Yeah, but that was the first day. We used wind machines. It was freezing cold and rain machines. I couldn't hear anything and I'm on this car with a sledge hammer, really a giant croquet mallet, which by the way John Moore gave me. Now I have it in my living room lest we have an intruder, watch out. Yeah, I didn't know anybody, like how do you do, and jump on a car and start hammering, so after that it was a real ice breaker.
Will you let your children watch this film?
Mia Farrow: My youngest is now twelve and a half, but the rest are all seventeen or eighteen that are living at home. So I think I'm going to totally let them see it. I don't think little kids should come see it, but they're looking forward to seeing this one. I went way up in stock.
The Omen is in theaters now!