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 Kinsey. 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 interview”?

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 the script.

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 KINSEY?

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 Barrymore Award 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.