Julianne Moore is no stranger to heavy dramas, and her latest film “Still Alice,” which premiered on Monday at the Toronto International Film Festival, is a particularly hefty one emotionally. Moore plays a linguistics professor with early onset Alzheimer’s in the p.o.v. film, based on a novel by neuroscientist Lisa Genova. “So many movies about disease are about seeing them from the outside so [Genova] wanted to discover what it was like from the inside,” she said. “I had to find a way to articulate it in an emotional way.” The actress received a standing ovation at the premiere, though she missed it because she was eating dinner during the screening. Arriving early for her interview at The Storys Building on Tuesday, wearing a short floral-printed Stella McCartney dress (the second Stella she has donned here), she was in a good mood. “I never get to go outside in Toronto unless I’m shooting a movie here,” she laughed.
She is doing double duty at the fest — her other film “Maps to the Stars” also screened here after premiering at the Venice Film Festival last month.” “That’s a comedy, I guess, compared to [“Still Alice”] she joked of the dark comedy. To prepare for “Alice,” Moore interviewed women with the same condition and even took the same tests to determine whether she had the disease. “I was able to shake it off at night and it made me feel grateful for what I have. I didn’t take [my work] home with me,” she said.
As for the actors who played her character’s children — Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth and Hunter Parrish — she called out Stewart in particular. “She’s so extraordinary and has so much compassion in her performance,” she noted. Ditto for her screen husband, Alec Baldwin, whom she worked with when she guest-starred on “30 Rock.” “I love working with him; he has so much vitality and so much soul. It felt like a real marriage,” she said. Moore’s real-life kids, Liv, 16 and Caleb, 12, also had a cameo in the film, but she said they don’t have designs on acting (Caleb is a musician and Liv wants to be a stylist). She said, “It was my idea to put them in the movie.”