The Wife has garnered Glenn Close her seventh Academy Award nomination. She portrays Joan, the wife of literary giant Joe who is granted the Nobel prize.As the story unfolds, years of deceit and sexism (internal and external) come to a rolling boiling of an ending.
But The Wife took 14 years to make, and Glenn Close told NPR it almost didn’t happen because of the very sexism The Wife spotlights.
Close said: “Think about it. Actors – star actors – have big egos… nobody wanted to be in a film called The Wife.”
Eventually, British actor Jonathan Pryce agreed to take on the role of Joe Castleman.
Close added: “But Jonathan Pryce, he allowed that. He said, ‘Too bad it’s not called The Husband.’
“But that’s the thankless part of the film. Here I am with all this acclaim, and he has not gotten anything out of it.
“And that’s why I love Jonathan Pryce for what he did. And he’s my date to the Oscars.”
“We were both thinking the same thing: ‘We’re pros, we’ve been doing this a long time. Let’s just get down to it,’” she said.
As explained in our review for The Wife: “the film’s feminist standpoint is linked inseparably to Joan’s own character, to her particular wants and motivations and is, therefore, deeply personal and nuanced.
“This may not be a brand of feminism which suits anyone else, but is somehow still universal and will leave any woman feeling both vindicated and horrified, heaving a deep sigh – that familiar feeling settling into their bones.
“A trenchant cameo from Elizabeth McGovern hammers the point home: ‘You’ll never get their approval. The men. The ones who decide who gets to be taken seriously.'”
The very problems Close and screenwriter Jane Anderson encountered while trying to get The Wife made are the problems Joan lives through in the film itself.
Close has already won the Golden Globe for best actress in a drama and is a frontrunner for the Oscar.
When she accepted the award, Close said: “I’m thinking of my mom who really sublimated herself to my father her whole life.
And in her 80s, she said to me, “I feel I haven’t accomplished anything.” And it was so not right.
And I feel what I’ve learned through this whole experience is that — you know, women, we’re nurturers, that’s what’s expected of us, we have our children, we have our husbands if we’re lucky enough, and our partners, whoever.
“But we have to find personal fulfilment. We have to … follow our dreams. We have to say: I can do that, and I should be allowed to do that.”
Close’s performance in The Wife is certainly Oscar-worthy, and this year the Best Actress category is truly the one to watch.
The 2019 Academy Awards will be air on Sky on February 25, 2019, at 1.30am GMT.