How Julianne Moore’s hubby sold her on doing a film together
Julianne Moore won’t make a movie unless she loves the script. It’s a rule from which no filmmaker is exempt — not even Bart Freundlich, her husband.
To get her to sign on to the 2006 Danish drama he was adapting, he screened the original film for her. “She loved it,” he tells The Post. “Then she said, ‘Let me read the script.’ ”
On the plane home from a family vacation in Italy, Freundlich finally handed it over. “I fell asleep,” he says. “When I woke up, she was crying.” She was in!
Out Friday, “After the Wedding” is the fourth movie the couple’s made together, and the first in 14 years. They met while making 1997’s “The Myth of Fingerprints” and have been together ever since, marrying in 2003.
In “After the Wedding,” which Freundlich also directed, Moore plays Theresa, a successful businesswoman whose multimillion-dollar donation to an orphanage in India comes with a very big string attached.
Theresa’s the latest in a line of Moore’s complicated, finely calibrated characters: the morphine addict of “Magnolia,” the Alzheimer’s sufferer of “Still Alice” (the 2015 film that won her an Oscar) and the questing, free spirit of “Gloria Bell.”
Not only does Moore, 58, act in “After the Wedding,” but she also served as Freundlich’s co-producer, having personally recruited, via a letter, Michelle Williams.
Given that “Fosse/Verdon” actress’ full dance card, Moore tells The Post, the only time they could film in India was during monsoon season.
“We were in the south, in a town called Karaikudi — the only place in India that wasn’t completely monsooning,” says Moore. “I absolutely loved it. Traveling is important. I don’t think you learn unless you see something different.”
The daughter of a military man, Moore moved early and often. Armed with a theater degree from Boston University, she arrived in New York in 1983. Two years of waitressing later, she was honing her craft in soap operas, winning a Daytime Emmy for her dual role as half-sisters (one had glasses, the other didn’t) in “As the World Turns.”
She’s rarely left the city since. Even after 9/11, when others fled, she and Freundlich stayed, raising their children in the West Village.
“It was our home,” Moore says. “The wonderful thing about New York is that it’s the great American experiment. You bring people all over the world into a tiny, tiny place and see if they can become a community. And we can! We have!”
She loves Theresa, the woman she plays in “After the Wedding,” because she reminds Moore of her friends: women, many of them New Yorkers, with successful careers and satisfying family lives. Those women, Moore says, are rarely represented on film. Instead, we often see “this mean boss lady who doesn’t have any family.”
Like Theresa, who forwards her calls back to her office while she reads to her children, Moore refused to take work calls after 6 p.m. when her own kids were young. Now that Caleb and Liv are 21 and 17, she says, it was much easier for her and Freundlich to commit to one all-consuming project at the same time.
“I want to work with her all the time,” says Freundlich, 49. “Julie’s one of the few actors who can make me cry during a tribute reel!”
‘It’s corny to say it, but her beauty grows from the inside.’
That said, he’s not wild about directing her in love scenes, including the “After the Wedding” sequence in which leading man Billy Crudup slips into a bathtub beside her.
In those cases, Freundlich says, “I do as few takes as possible.”
It helps, the couple says, that Moore has a knack for compartmentalizing: focusing on work while she’s on the set, and on family when she’s home. She’ll have a glass of wine to de-stress, but sometimes she’ll just tidy up.
“Everybody in my family says I like to clean,” she says, laughing. “It’s not that I like to clean, but I like it clean! I can’t stand it if things are messy!”
She’s made that easier by de-cluttering. “My New Year’s resolution was not to buy anything for a whole year, unless something runs out,” she says. “I have to use all of my sunscreens before I can get another bottle.”
Sunscreen is vital for the fair-skinned author of the kids’ books “Freckleface Strawberry,” her childhood nickname.
“Julie’s a redhead,” her husband says. “She combusts in the sun. She literally runs from the car to the house.”
Whatever she does for her skin seems to be working. Longtime chum Ellen Barkin once said Moore is “more beautiful than anyone on the planet,” even though she’s used “the same f – – kin’ bar of soap for 20 years.”
Moore laughs, hearing that. “It’s not quite that simple,” she says, “but I have been using the same Oil of Olay with SPF 15 for 25 years, so she always makes fun of me.”
Freundlich has his own take.
“It’s corny to say it, but her beauty grows from the inside,” he says. He cites her passionate advocacy for social causes, chiefly gun control, which Moore considers a bipartisan issue and a public-health crisis. She hopes to see the Senate reconvene to vote on universal background checks and red-flag laws.
“Julie is like a normal person,” Freundlich says. “Her job is to pretend to be other people.”