Michelle Williams Wants to Disappear In Her Acting—Even When She's Singing and Dancing

The Fosse/Verdon actress talks about returning to her musical theater roots.


'That's what amazing to me, is that when you go to work and you have this safe and fair environment where you feel completely supported, and you can actually jump higher and take more risks.' Happy birthday, Michelle Williams!

The Fosse/Verdon actress talks about returning to her musical theater roots.

, I did some singing and dancing. And it recalled for me that original joy, and I remember clocking it at the time and thinking, "I need to find a way to get a little bit more of this." And then

Were you conscious of Gwen Vernon's contribution to

I didn't know about that, no. I didn't know until I started making this show what her legacy was and what her invisible hand print was on his work.

It's nice because the book was just about him and now it's her name in the title. Was that always the working title?

Absolutely, and when men hug you they pick you up off the floor. And that doesn't happen anymore. I don't know exactly what the right word is. But being small has had an effect on how I've been treated.

Were you interested in darker characters when you were young?

and I would make these pilgrimages up to New York City. I would drive up, even if it was just for the night, to go see a play or to go see something that was a Film Forum. I always loved acting because it was disappearing and escaping. But I didn't really understand the form, like I hadn't been exposed to art very much when I was younger. And then when I started coming here and seeing what was possible inside of this thing that I did, that's when I got excited about the possibilities of what was out there. And for me, yeah, that tended to mean something that had a darker leaning.

Most of the movies that I make, I'll do a small part in a big movie, so I'm in and out within a few weeks. Or I'll do a big part in a small movie. I'm in and out a few weeks. This sort of duration is much more akin to doing a play. And so when you are inside of somebody day in, day out, you identify so strongly with them that it all just starts to feel incredibly natural and just. And again, because Sam and I got along so well I felt like we could have done anything. With each other, for each other, to each other. We worked well together. So, I didn't have any misgivings about what might happen in a scene or if I yell at him or if he yells at me. We were fair game for each other.

That movie was kind of a wonderful thing that that became a success against all odds with people.

I haven't done karaoke in a long time. My daughter used to. For her 13th birthday, we had a karaoke party. But it's all just pop music. I guess that counts as karaoke, because we sing a lot in the car and she only listens to pop music. So I also only listen to pop music now. So I can sing a lot of pop songs. Ariana Grande, Ed Sheeran, Shawn Mendes, of course.

But she didn't hand down these things that have lived in my family for generations. And so I yearn to do some of these things. But I don't know, really, how to do any of them. My mom sewed all of our clothes when I was growing up. She can make curtains. She can recover sofas. And my hands are tied. So embroidery felt like, "Well, maybe that's something that I could do." That would fulfill this desire that I have.

Read more: W magazine

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09 September 2019, Monday News

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