Julianne Moore is one of Hollywood’s most accomplished actresses. Her performances in acclaimed films like The Big Lebowski, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, The Hours and The Kids Are Alright have endeared her to numerous fans and critics. She’s won two Emmys, a SAG Award and a Golden Globe; though she has yet to take home the Oscar, she’s been nominated four times since 1998. But Moore admits that she almost never became a thespian–were it not for a high school teacher who believed in her.
“Ms. Taylor, was my teacher in my junior year of high school. She was the one who told me you can be an actor,” Moore explains. “Had I not met her–she was an English teacher who was also a drama coach–I wouldn’t have been an actor. I’d never seen a play, I’d never met an actor. People in movies and TV were not real [to me.] She gave me a copy of The Dramatic Magazine.”
“I told my parents I want to be an actor!'” she says with a laugh, before adding sarcastically, “They were delighted.”
Her latest film, The English Teacher, debuted this week at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. In it, Moore stars alongside 25-year old Michael Angarano as Linda Sinclair, a repressed-but-romantic high school English teacher who convinces one of her former students to let the high school drama department put on a production of his original play.
“She’s someone who’s only ‘lived’ in stories… and really believes that there really is a certain way to do thing. She keeps herself confined and not in a real life–which [can be] messy and difficult,” Moore explains. “It’s through this process that she begins to lose some of her naiveté, in a good way. There’s sweetness to her because she really believes in the best of everything. The process is great because she gets to grow up.”
“I loved her and felt I related to her,” Moore adds. “I was that kid that read all the time and won the summer library reading contest and was more comfortable in books and academia. I didn’t end up in anything else; I wasn’t athletic and didn’t make the drill team. But acting was an extension of reading for me. I could’ve been ‘The English teacher.’ That was a second world that I could’ve been comfortable in.”
Working with the younger Angarano, who many audiences will remember as the precocious 11-year old from 2000s Almost Famous, Moore realized that she and her co-star took very different paths to Hollywood. She acknowledges that things can sometimes by challenging for a former child star if they don’t have guidance.
“I didn’t start working until I was out of college. “There are people like Michael and Joseph Gordon-Levitt and people who were kid actors who made a successful transition into adult acting, [who] I think had terrific parents, have been very well-parented, educated and guided through it. If someone is parenting properly–it can be okay.”