"I'm interested in starting the conversation about aging gracefully and how, instead of making it a cultural problem."
I loved the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Olive Kitteridge, which fearlessly featured older, cantankerous, and unglamorous characters. Although I haven’t seen the HBO miniseries yet, I can’t wait to see Frances McDormand as the book’s protagonist. One of my favorite actresses, Frances won an Academy Award for her role in Fargo and was nominated for Mississippi Burning, Almost Famous, and North Country. The 58-year-old also frequently collaborates with her husband, filmmaker Joel Coen in his films.
The character in her latest role, Olive, doesn’t mince words, and neither does Frances.
“The body suit I had to wear on hot days … that didn’t help with hot flashes,” Frances said in an interview for NPR. “We played with different sizes of body suits from the beginning of the storytelling. And we decided to start with my body — I weigh 150 pounds, I’m 5 feet, 5 inches. At the time we shot, I was pretty much on the other side of menopause — though, as we know, it never ends.”
Yes, we do know, Frances, and we totally empathize.
Frances also reflects on menopause when describing her character, Jane, in the movie, Friends with Money, which she describes as a woman in menopause mode. “Menopause in not an overnight event,” she said. “It can take years. And it’s a kind of hormonal activity that makes you crazy and not interested in sitting in chairs, but instead you want to walk around a lot. You really get tired of doing things like combing your hair and being socially nice. You say things out of turn or get too loud and opinionated at times. You experience those kinds of things and that’s where we come in on with Jane.”
Frances is not only honest about menopause but is also blunt about aging and cosmetic surgery in Hollywood. In an interview with The New York Times she announced, “I have not mutated myself in any way.” She added that her husband, director Joel Coen, “literally has to stop me physically from saying something to people — to friends who’ve had work. I’m so full of fear and rage about what they’ve done.
“One of the reasons that I am doing press again after 10 years’ absence is because I feel like I need to represent publicly what I’ve chosen to represent privately — which is a woman who is proud and more powerful than I was when I was younger. And I think that I carry that pride and power on my face and in my body. And I want to be a role model for not only younger men and women — and not just in my profession, I’m not talking about my profession. I think that cosmetic enhancements in my profession are just an occupational hazard. But I think, more culturally, I’m interested in starting the conversation about aging gracefully and how, instead of making it a cultural problem, we make it individuals’ problems. I think that ageism is a cultural illness; it’s not a personal illness.”
As she said in the interview for NPR, “I want to be revered. I want to be an elder; I want to be an elderess.”
Yea! I love this woman. Let’s embrace getting older. I want to be an elderess too!
What we’d like to ask if we’d had a few glasses of wine: Exactly which friends had cosmetic surgery that made you feel so enraged? Inquiring minds would love to know. Names please.
Photo Credit: By Red Carpet Report on Mingle Media TV [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons