Michelle Williams: Doing 'Dawson's Creek' Was 'Like Being a Mobster'
By Nicki Gostin Posted Dec 15th 2010 11:00PM
Michelle Williams, the beautiful and ethereal Oscar-nominated actress, will soon be seen alongside fellow indie icon Ryan Gosling in 'Blue Valentine,' which had its controversial NC-17 rating overturned last week. In a new interview with PopEater, she reveals why she was initially indifferent about the quasi-censorship of the film. "I didn't understand the ramifications," she admits. The 'Brokeback Mountain' actress also opens up about playing tragic characters, including Marilyn Monroe in the upcoming 'My Week With Marilyn,' and lighter things like how her daughter prefers Ginger Rogers to 'iCarly' and why she felt like a "mobster" while shooting 'Dawson's Creek' for all those years.
"You set up a shop selling pizza but in the back you're laundering money. You're doing one thing in plain sight and secretly plotting something else," she says. "I was plotting my tastes, my interests, my beliefs and hopes for what I could be."
Hi Michelle, can you just wait a second while I check my tape recorder. Oh shivers.
Did you just say "shivers"? I love it.
I did. I have a three-year-old, so I'm trying very hard not to swear. There are a lot of "shivers" and "fudges."
You should try "mercy." That's what I use.
So, were you upset when 'Blue Valentine' first got that NC-17 rating?
I wasn't because I didn't understand the ramifications of getting an NC-17 rating. I thought it only dealt with whether or not children under the age of 17 should be allowed to go and I thought, I don't know, that should be their parents' decision. But what I came to understand is the issue of censorship and also living in a culture that devalues an honest portrayal of a relationship and a sexual relationship within a marriage but then promotes violent sex and torture. Once I realized those two things were at play, I became interested.
Do you think censors have a problem with depictions of honest female sexuality?
I think about how over time what has been banned and what has eventually seen the light of day and it's [in] good company, you know? In some ways, it's a weird backward compliment because it's real, it's new and it's an audacious approach.
Well, it must have been very hard to work opposite Ryan Gosling. He's just so unattractive.
(Laughs) Hardest part of my job.
► Also Check Out: Ryan Gosling Talks NC-17 Rage and His 'Mickey Mouse' Days
You just finished playing Marilyn. Was it amazing?
Many things -- amazing being one of them. The movie takes place when she was making 'The Prince and the Showgirl' and married to Arthur Miller. I didn't stop shooting that long ago, so I've still got one foot in it.
Did you read 'Fragments,' the book of Marilyn's writings?
Oh, isn't that a beautiful book? You know that was an auspicious day on set. We were filming at Park Side House, which is where she stayed when she was in London, and it was our first day there and it was the day the book came out and there are notes in the book written on Park Side House stationary.
Ever come home from work depressed?
Um, look, there is residue, always, always for me. No matter what the role, there's some residue and rightly so, necessarily so. But my primary commitment in this world is my daughter and I cannot commit myself, not to say I haven't, but I can't stay there.
What's Matilda (her 5-year-old daughter with the late Heath Ledger) up to?
Well, she'd have to tell you.
Is she into 'iCarly'?
No. She's into Fred and Ginger right now.
Fred and Ginger?
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
That's so cool.
I know, we like it equally. Don't get me wrong, she has her pop culture references, but I try to make a balance is all.
'Blue Valentine' is so intense. Was it hard to switch on and off?
It is hard but in some ways it's good because I don't have a choice. One thing about making this movie is, I had between 45 minutes to an hour of driving from where I was staying to the set everyday and it was kind of a decompression chamber. I would use that time to try and shed one skin and put on another.
I hope you take this as a compliment, but watching 'Dawson's Creek' I never thought you'd have such an interesting career.
I do take it as a compliment.
You're sort of like the female Johnny Depp. He started off on a cheesy show too.
That's a damn fine compliment my friend, wow. I said to a friend [that] being on 'Dawson's Creek' was kind of like being a mobster. You set up a shop selling pizza but in the back you're laundering money. You're doing one thing in plain sight and secretly plotting something else. I was plotting my tastes, my interests, my beliefs and hopes for what I could be.
After the show ended you must have been offered a lot of crap.
Sure, but what's hard is the aim and that you're going to fall short a little. It was never an option to me to make a lot of money or do work I couldn't get behind. That's not my nature. What is hard is living up to your own expectations. Yes, it was hard getting jobs I wanted. I was a pop tart. It took patience and baby steps. I did a play in New York that wasn't about being blonde, which led to a role in an HBO thing to a role in a British drama. As F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "Gradually, then suddenly."
Did you have to economize? Like taking the subway instead of cabs?
I don't like to take taxis anyway. I hate the thought of being stuck. I've been stuck in midtown Manhattan.
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 02: Actors Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Williams, and Ryan Gosling attend the "Blue Valentine" screening at CAA on December 2, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John Shearer/WireImage)
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