Julianne Moore was worried. The Oscar winner had the acting chops for her new film, “Gloria Bell,” but did she have the moves? “In one scene, I had my hands up in the air doing a dance move. It looks like I’m knocking on a door. But when your hands are down, the question was, ‘How do you come back up?’ Answer: One knock at a time,” she said, laughing.
No more knocking on doors in Hollywood for the celebrated redhead, now 58, who is a petite powerhouse combined with the girl next door. There’s nothing pretentious about Moore, who introduces herself by saying, “Hi, I’m Julie.”
Moore and her husband, director Bart Freundlich, are about to shoot “After the Wedding,” based on the 2008 Oscar-nominated Danish film. First up is “Gloria Bell” — parts of which were shot in Las Vegas — a remake of a Chilean film in which Moore plays a single, free-spirited middle-aged woman in Los Angeles who finds love at a local dance club.
What is your idea of a great Sunday?
It’s about family time, which is precious. My kids are getting older. My son, Cal, is 21, which seems impossible because the time has flown. My daughter is 16. You just want to grab the moments if you get them. I spend time with my husband. We love to travel. Or I’ll have lunch with friends. Maybe I’ll sneak in a yoga class.
What drew you to “Gloria Bell”?
It has complicated and interesting people figuring out their relationships and their lives. It’s about a woman reimagining her whole life. I think what’s remarkable is you’re seeing this woman from the perspective of her family, her professional life and her romantic life. You see her with her friends. You see her with herself. There is an intimacy there of really observing someone’s life from each window. This movie allows you to experience Gloria’s life the way you experience your own. That’s the genius of director Sebastian Lelio.
And the dancing?
It was a lot of free dancing. I’m not a pro at dancing, clearly, but I wanted to be someone who enjoyed dancing. I trained with (choreographer) Mandy Moore, which was amazing. I needed to be someone who really felt joy dancing. And dancing is joy.
Why don’t we see more love stories on the big screen with people over 20?
I don’t know. I’m super interested in relationships and romance. But I don’t see it in the movies very often for people who are in their middle ages. I want to see those people trying to find a partner, too. The truth is a lot of us couple up. It’s what we do. And I find myself really attracted to those stories.
What is the goal these days when you look for roles?
So many roles for 50-somethng women involve her walking into a room and saying to a grown child, “You’re home from college!” That’s only one part of it. I want to find stories about real people, real relationships and real families. I want to use cinema to portray who we love and what we value.
What is the best part about acting?
I love every part. I love the rehearsals. I love being with the actors. I love reading the script. I love the whole collaborative process. You can never count on the results, but you can count on the feeling you have doing it.
Your dad was a military judge and you grew up all over the world.
We lived in Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Nebraska, Alaska, New York, Virginia and Frankfurt, Germany. In a way, it was great acting training. I could reinvent myself to fit a new location.
Is it true that you had to change your name when you came to Hollywood?
Yes. I was Julie Smith, but there was already a Julie Anne and a Julie Smith and a Julie A. Smith. I went to join SAG and they said, “You have to choose another name.” My dad is Peter Moore Smith. My mother’s name is Anne Smith. I combined both names, so I wouldn’t hurt anyone’s feelings.
As one of the true redheads out there, do you feel like you’re part of a special club?
I do! It’s funny that whenever redheads see each other on the street, we nod or say hello. There is a redhead collective out there.
True or false: You have been mistaken for Gillian Anderson (“The X-Files”).
So many people are like, “Were you on ‘The X Files’?” People think all redheads look alike.
You’ve been with your husband for 22 years. What’s the secret?
I think it helps to turn the TV off. And you should never take the other person for granted.
You had a long-distance relationship before you married.
There is a spot where he would drop me off at LAX to go back to New York. Many years later, we were all there — Bart, our daughter, Liv, our son, Cal, and me. It brought tears to my eyes because I remember how we had to leave each other there when we were first together and before the kids. It reminded me of how lucky I am.