May 20, 2013 12:00 PM



You’re earning great buzz for The Iceman. What’s different about acting now than in your teens and 20s?

I’m 41 now. For roles nowadays I can’t tell if people want me to look young or old. I’ve always looked younger. I have to give credit to my grandmother. She was 102 and looked 45. But when people grow up with your movies, they’re attached. If you want to play a lawyer, they say, “But you’re from Beetlejuice!” Kids still come up to me about that. Little kids!

Which of your past movies is your favorite?

It’s hard to pick because I’ve been so lucky. The Age of Innocence and The Crucible were some of the greatest experiences. With Black Swan, it was great to [work with] Natalie Portman. I definitely have a soft spot for Beetlejuice. And Heathers!

You took a break from working a few years back. Where did you go?

I went back to San Francisco. I grew up there; my family’s there. With early success, I admit you get caught up in it all. I was so exhausted at one point. But there I was just a normal person.

Did getting away from it all help?

I think it’s so important to get perspective, for your life and for acting. I remember just sitting down, having the perfect sip of tea, and it was a moment of clarity. I wanted to live more humbly. I know it sounds corny.

Now you’re playing a killer’s wife in The Iceman. That’s pretty dark.

You hear a lot of actresses talking about strong roles for women, but I think sometimes playing weaker people can be just as interesting and challenging. Deborah Pellicotti is in a lot of denial. We’ve all dealt with denial, but not on this level. I’m not perfect, but I’d hope I’d have a radar for a sociopathic killer!

Are you choosier about roles now?

I guess I’m selective. I’m at an age where I really like my life. As you get older and you’re cranking out films, suddenly a whole year of your life goes by. If the work isn’t interesting, you’re better off doing other stuff. A film has to be something special to make me want to leave my life.

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