Lynn Redgrave talks about
Q: You’re on screen for only a couple of minutes in KINSEY, but many
reviewers are calling it the most memorable and touching part of the movie.
What did you think when you first saw Bill Condon’s script?
A: Bill Condon took me to supper and told me about his plans for
I was terribly excited because he said there was a role he wanted me to play
and since Gods and Monsters was such a gloriously happy experience I
couldn't wait to repeat it. The script arrived with a little note saying
"The scene is near the end." I did the unthinkable and flipped the pages
looking for it. My very first reaction was disappointment because the role
was so small. Then I pulled myself together and thought "This is Bill's
script. I can't judge anything without reading it properly." Of course the
moment I began reading the script it completely grabbed me. Bill's
brilliance and the fascination of the subject. By the time I reached "The
Scene" again I saw it in a whole different light. I realized that Bill had
written an enormously complex little three act play in that one scene. And
that it was a scene that was vitally important for Alfred Kinsey. I felt
flattered and thrilled that he was entrusting me with the task of bringing
her to life.
Q: Why did you decide to play this role without makeup?
A: Bill and I met to talk about the character. We felt she had been one of
those Westchester soccer moms. Car pooling the kids. Always the same fresh
faced look. Well cut, swingy, wash 'n wear hair. Definitely a 'no makeup' sort
of gal. On film if a I am playing someone who just wouldn't be wearing
makeup then I hate to do that fake cover up. It always looks false to me and
I can spot it a mile off. Also a naked face allows the camera to see the
changes that take place emotionally.
Q: How did you and Liam Neeson (Dr Kinsey) prepare for your “final
A: Liam was enormously helpful because he suggested that we begin each take
with him asking me questions. Interviewing me if you like. Since the
scripted dialogue obviously began in the middle of her story this was
invaluable. So we improvised. Different questions for each take. I never
knew what he would ask me. When it felt natural I would simply blend on into
Q: You’ve talked about how much you enjoyed working with director Bill
Condon when you played James Whale’s housekeeper Hanna in GODS AND
MONSTERS. Did you notice anything different in Bill’s approach to directing
A: I wouldn't say I particularly noticed a difference. What is a constant
with Bill is his focus, his enthusiasm for the process, his clear,
perceptive, encouraging and completely actable notes. He misses nothing. He
makes me feel both safe and free.
Q: Some reviewers have noted that your father, Sir Michael Redgrave, might
have scored somewhere in the middle of Dr. Kinsey’s scale of hetero to
homosexuality. Was he on your mind as you contemplated your role in KINSEY?
A: I can't say he was particularly. I thought more about an elderly aunt
from my childhood. She lived with her "Companion." A woman. Years after her
death I realized what that relationship must have been. And how hard it must
be to have to keep a secret that involves the very core of one's being.
Q: Late in 2002, while preparing to go on Broadway with THE MANDRAKE ROOT,
you discovered you had breast cancer. Is it true that the producers got cold
feet and cancelled the planned run?
A: People are still so scared by the thought of cancer. It was thought
that I would be too weakened by chemotherapy and radiation to work. Of
course I proved them wrong by working on stage all the way through the six
months of treatment. I never missed a show. It was Alan Bennett's
Talking Heads in
New York. Downtown at The Minetta Lane.
Q: Despite undergoing surgery, chemotherapy and radiation you continued to
work on stage and film through it all. This year you won the
for your stage work in Collected Stories. How has your work been affected by
your fight against cancer?
A: Well, the whole cancer experience has in fact helped my work. My
attitude. My concentration. My nerves. I remember standing by the side of
the stage on the opening night of Talking Heads waiting to go on.
And I thought I'm here, I'm about to go out there in front of the audience
to do what I love more than almost anything in the world. I am having
treatment for a life threatening disease, but I'm still here. Why waste one
bit of my precious energy on fear, or panic. Compared to what I have gone
through, what is an opening night? A time to rejoice! It has set me free.