September 25, 2008 / 10:05 AM / 11 years ago

Just A Minute With: Angelica Huston on kooky roles

LOS ANGELES (Reuters Life!) - Oscar-winning actress Angelica Huston has played some kooky characters in her nearly 40-year film career.

Actress Angelica Huston poses for photographers at her arrival to the premiere of the movie 'Daddy Day Care" in Los Angeles, May 4, 2003. REUTERS/Brad Rickerby

Think Morticia Addams in 1991’s “The Addams Family,” the steely con-artist Lilly in “The Grifters” and the matriarch of an eccentric family in “The Royal Tenenbaums.”

Her latest movie, dark comedy “Choke”, opens in the United States on September 26 with Huston playing the demented mother, held in an asylum, of a sex addict son who runs a scam in which he chokes himself in restaurants to gain sympathy, and cash, from other diners.

Huston, 57, who won an Oscar for her role as the daughter of a Mafia boss in love with a hitman in “Prizzi’s Honor” (1985), talked to Reuters about her attraction to dysfunctional screen roles and how actresses over age 35 survive in youth-obsessed Hollywood.

Q: You have played a lot of weird characters over the years. Do they simply appeal to you or are you getting typecast?

A: “I’ve been lucky to be able to make my own choices and not feel like I’ve been guided too much other than by my own instincts. I guess I get offered a certain type of role when it comes to mothers — they are generally not your predictable blonde on blonde mothers. They are spikier and more dangerous, and in this case, utterly self-delusional. Putting them together and finding the honest notes is always fun.”

Q: Why were you drawn to the character of Ida in “Choke”.

A: “I responded to the story. I thought the character was fascinating and I liked the idea of playing young and older. It is definite food for thought, this movie. It is about trying to satisfy the great open maw of hunger for love and attention and affection and how this poor guy Victor is never going to get it from Ida.

Q: Is acting as much fun as it was when you first started?

A: “Yes. Every role affords me a new life. Each one has its own set of problems and answers. Acting has afforded me so much — the places I have traveled to, people and directors I have worked with. No two experiences are alike.”

Q: You have no shortage of work, with three more movies out this year and another four in the pipeline next year. Do you have any sympathy with actresses who say there are no good roles in Hollywood for women over the age of 35?

A: “I have sympathy for them, if that’s their truth. But there are things that one can do. Maybe you’re not getting the size of roles you used to, or making as much money. But if you are a really serious actor, you go out and do a play, you do a small part in a series. And if you can’t find anyone else to employ you, you put on your own show. But what you don’t do is sit around complaining that you don’t work.

Q: What do you do to relax?

A: “I walk my dogs, I like to swim in the sea, I ride horses, I listen to music, I write letters, I see friends and I dance. I love to dance.

Q: What is your favorite place to be?

A: “I like bed a lot! Bed and beaches just about trumps everywhere.”

Q: What do you worry about most?

A: “I worry a lot about my jobs, my lines. I have sleepless nights always before I go to work. I worry about the welfare of my loved ones. I worry that this country is going to go to the Republicans again. I worry about global warming and the grim things that befall the planet. I worry that this country isn’t going to wake up and see what is happening before it’s too late and before it’s too late to influence the rest of the world.

Reporting by Jill Serjeant; editing by Patricia Reaney

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