The utter subjectivity of acting is what I love. I love trying to get behind someone’s eyes.” Annette Bening- AFI Fest Tribute
Annette Bening, star of 20th Century Women and Rules Don’t Apply, was honored last night at AFI Fest in Hollywood. The actress was lauded before a screening of 20th Century women for which she is receiving rave reviews and enthusiastic Oscar buzz.
Speaking with director Lisa Cholodenko, who worked with her for The Kids Are Alright, Bening said it was an honor to be there and thanked the AFI for the “professional milestone.” She also thanked her husband, Warren Beatty and her family who were also in attendance.
On working with Mike Mills, Bening said, “I was delighted.” She explained the the collaboration began with some uncertainty. “He just wanted to meet with me, he didn’t know if he wanted me to do it.”
Upon reading the story, Bening says she felt she knew the characters immediately as she had grown up in San Diego, “I loved the story, I loved what Mike had to say about the time… I was intrigued by Dorothea and I didn’t quite know what to make of here, which is what I liked.”
Once she was on board, Bening said her process was straightforward, Mills started talking about his mother, and she became “the springboard for my character.” She was quick to add a caveat. “I wasn’t doing an imitation of her.”
Cholodenko then asked Bening about how it all began. She said she had seen a Shakespeare play and she “loved live theater, the sweat, the intelligence, and the energy of the actors.” Adding, “I loved that combination of passion with great thinking.” She started doing plays in college and had aspired to be a stage actress. Bening’s stage career began in 1980 with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. It wasn’t until 1988 when she appeared in John Candy’s The Big Outdoors.
Reflecting on her favorite film, Bening said, “We have four children, you love them all, they’re a part of that period of your life.” After a brief pause, Bening then answered, “I met my husband when I made Bugsy, and that holds a special place, and that was made 26 years ago.”
The couple starred together again in 1994’s Love Affair, a remake of the 1957 classic, An Affair To Remember, and they also appear together in Rules Don’t Apply which premiered last week at the AFI. “I was so thrilled to watch him on the set. I did get to act in the movie and that made me very happy.” Bening went on to say, “He was very enthusiastic and encouraging of what I was doing.”
Mills who introduced a montage reel of Bening’s career highlights, sung her praises, saying he adored her. “She’s so smart. Getting to work with her, I got to peek into her actor’s toolkit. It can be so varied and so deep.” Watch his introduction here, posted on the Awards Daily Facebook page.