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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

November 8, 2010 at 11:12 AM

Debra Winger talks, to the NY Times

I haven’t yet seen Debra Winger in “In Treatment,” but any time this actress turns up on screen — large or small — is generally cause for celebration. (Did you see her in “Rachel Getting Married”? Tiny role; stole the show — Winger has a way of making you feel that her character has a complicated, elaborate life off-camera that deserves its own movie.) Nice feature story on her in the New York Times magazine yesterday by Mark Harris, detailing her background, her meteoric rise in the ’80s, her departure from the movie business in the mid-90s (which lasted six years), and her life now at 55, as she feels her way back into acting again. Especially liked this passage:

In recent years, Winger says she’s started to notice a few more complex roles for actresses in her age cohort. “In Treatment,” she says, was an “amazingly encouraging job to get,” and now she’d like to do more — movies, or perhaps something onstage. “For me, just saying I want to work again is sticking myself out in the wind,” she says. “Because now if it doesn’t happen, they’ll all say, ‘Well, I guess nobody wanted her to work again.’ I always loved working as an actress, but I didn’t understand why I couldn’t just opt out of being famous. And then I realized you can, and I think I did. And eventually, I came to understand that you can do that and also keep working.” This declaration felt less like resolve than like an ongoing internal negotiation, an unfinished argument with herself that she was letting me overhear. How much can an actor give to her work before she starts feeling endangered? How much can she keep her “real” self partitioned from her characters before she just starts playing it safe? The most intriguing aspect of her decision to do “In Treatment” may be her willingness, after all these years, to let us watch her fight that out in public.

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