In the new David Cronenberg film Maps to the Stars, Julianne Moore plays actress Havana Segrand.
A child of Hollywood, she’s the daughter of a movie star who became a star herself but is now, as Moore says, “monstrous and childlike.”
Havana is a bundle of exposed ego and neurosis, a Hollywood stereotype, but Moore promises she’s not based on anyone in particular.
“I swear to you she sprung to life from the page,” she says.
“That was what was great about it. (Screenwriter) Bruce Wagner’s language is so precise, so spectacular, so emotional; it was almost like poetry.
“There was a rhythm to it. I could hear her voice in the rhythm of the speech and how things were supposed to be delivered.
“The key to Havana for me was her arrested development. She’s stuck at the age her mother died. She’s so childlike.
“Everything is all about her mother and not being parented. All this childish, even sexpot behaviour — the ‘Look at me!’ — is all about not being parented. That’s all she wants.”
The film is a wonderfully sadistic portrait of Tinsel Town and its citizens, portraying the wild side of Los Angeles where venal and stratospherically self-involved behaviour plays itself out on the public stage. It’s a dark picture of life in Hollywood, but longtime New York City resident Moore says the conduct isn’t exclusive to the movie biz.
“I‘m sure there can be a certain kind of permissiveness in any business,” she says, “on Wall Street and Silicon Valley and in certain socialite circles.
“People try and pin it on Hollywood as the only place it happens, and of course, it’s not.
“I only lived in L.A. for a while in the ’90s. There was a different quality to socializing than I had ever seen before. I’m pretty bourgeois. I’m not a partier. I don’t really go out, but when I moved to L.A. there was a degree of socialization. I was like, ‘Whoa, there’s a lot of parties out here.’
“I was also single and out in a way I hadn’t been before. Very soon after that I met my husband, we had children and I went right back into my hole.”
She does, however, go out from time to time.
“I have a school event later tonight,” she laughs as we end the interview.