This is the second time I was graced with the presence of Michelle Williams in order to interview her about her role as Glinda in Disney’s Oz The Great and Powerful. While in both interviews she was adorable, stylishly dressed, and a bit shy, between the two interviews I met two totally different versions of Michelle Williams.
While on the set visit for Oz The Great and Powerful in Pontiac, Michigan, I met Michelle Williams, the reserved and serious working actress in the midst of wielding her craft. In a gilded ballroom at the Langham Huntington in Pasadena I met Michelle Williams, a talkative and happy mom. The big difference in the two interviews? On the set, our group was mostly male journalists who cover film. In Pasadena, she was surrounded by moms, 25 mom bloggers from all over the country. And us moms, really did put her at ease, a refreshing change in the midst of a busy press day.
We talked to her about her new role as girl icon, her recent epiphany and mommy blogging.
Check out our interview here:
Are you prepared to have legions of little girls flocking around you?
You know, in all truthfulness, it was maybe the most exciting thing for me to realize, because we made it on a sound stage, and you’re sort of locked down and nobody really comes in and out, but there are these little girls, these little extra – the Quadling children – and I would walk by them in full costume, you would just hear, “awww”, “ohhh”, and they were like really shy and waving. I hadn’t entertained this possibility at all, that I would delight young children.
I was thinking about delighting one young child (her 7-year-old daughter Matilda) and I didn’t realize there would be more than one. And I mean, really, what feels better in this whole world than making a kid smile? So that’s fine with me.
How do you balance your career with motherhood?
I was afraid you might ask something like that. I mean, how do you, how does anybody do it. It is like an Olympian undertaking. Okay, what have I figured out? What have I really learned. They’re all such hard lessons, too, I find. Like, when you really arrive at something that’s true and honest, it’s taken you so long to get there, and you had to work so hard for it.
Because it’s just not what you think it’s gonna be, and nobody really prepares you for it, and nobody really tells you the truth, which is that it’s not possible. It’s not possible to do both things well at the same time, especially not if you are exacting, and maybe a Virgo, and like really critical, and ask a lot of yourself. But I think every mother that I know asks a lot of themselves. So what I’m trying to wrap my head around is to get comfortable with the moments, to get comfortable with the fact that it’s gonna feel like a scale, and I’m never gonna arrive at a perfect balance, and it’s always gonna be a give and take.
Something’s always gonna feel like it’s suffering, like it’s underserved. And that’s really hard on your heart to feel like you’re not being the best parent that you could be, or you’re not being the best at your job that you could be. That’s what I’m really trying to get peaceful with the fact that I’m always going to feel like that and that is the equation for as long as I choose to or have to stay in this position where I work and where I parent. It’s so hard.
It’s just so hard. It’s really overwhelming. I’d be more apt to ask you guys, like, one of you figure it out. What works for you? What doesn’t. What are the tricks, what are the hints? What do you give up? It’s a lot of work to clean a house, and I would rather, I think, you know, do something small like this.
This is a big epiphany for me recently. I was like, ‘I am not gonna wash my dishes before I put them in the dishwasher.’ I find it so hard to make some time for myself. I am not gonna spend fifteen minutes pre-washing. Why would I do that? I’m looking for time everywhere, in every corner, every day, and here I am, pre-washing my dishes? Not any more. Silverware, going in there. Knives, going in there. Wood is not going in there. I try and buy back time where I can, try and figure out how to buy time. Somebody, a friend of mine said something to me once. He said recently that really stuck with me. He said, everybody thinks that you should spend your time making money, but I think you should spend your money making time. I’m like,’ yeah!’
You were amazing (as Glinda). What was your inspiration?
Thank you. I thought a lot about her and I’ve watched that movie passively for years, and watched it with my daughter and I thought a lot about her, a lot about her, but Sam (Raimi) said something really interesting to me in the beginning. He said there’s a reason that Glinda, the Good Witch doesn’t go down the Yellow Brick Road, and that she’s not on the journey, because she’s one dimensional. She needs to learn about herself, and thus she’s like the least relatable character. And I thought, ‘right, that’s a good point’. We don’t wanna do that, you know. We want people to feel like they’re on a journey with Glinda, too, and that she isn’t this sort of crystalized version who knew it all along and we want her to have struggle, we want her to be human. But what does she have to struggle with because she doesn’t have a split nature. How can she still be good, and innocent, and believe the best in people, but still have a struggle?
And obviously, she’s struggling for the freedom of these people, and she’s struggling a little bit with her own self doubt. But, I thought a lot about transformation. She’s not somebody who’s had a perfectly easy ride. She she lost her father. She’s in charge of these sort of refugees, but she doesn’t really know how to protect them and how to make them see.
I can’t say that those aren’t things that I’ve that I’ve weighed in my life. And so I thought a lot about transformation and how Glinda transforms these dark and dire situations. I thought about her as somebody who, who transforms tears into bubbles, that she makes the best out of a rotten situation because of a way that she chooses to look at it. That takes a lot of energy and it’s not entirely human.
It is a super-human quality, although I have seen it in, like, Sam, our director. By the way, one wife, five kids. One wife and five kids. It’s like, amazing. It’s amazing. He’s such a cool guy. But he had that attitude. It’s like a really tough job to make a movie that’s this big. Can you imagine, all those personalities, a hundred and fifty people, all their personalities, all their jobs, all their questions, and Sam is the funnel for all of it. And he maintained this exuberant and this buoyancy, and this belief in the possibility, and he was interested in what everybody had to say.
So in some ways I was inspired, I think a lot about my daughter, well, I just think a lot about my daughter, But I also, I kinda thought a lot about Sam as kind of like Glinda the Good Witch. And I thought about, like, Joan of Ark and, you know, heroes.
As she prepared to leave, she lingered a bit, obviously into being in a room of mom bloggers, she said that regularly reads mom blogs and how she wished she could blog saying:
I never really posted anything on a blog because I don’t really know how to. But I think that every mother has the same question that we were all asking. How do you do it? How do you be a mom, and be a parent, and maybe even try and be in a relationship, and in the end, also be yourself. It’s not mom, or a worker, or a something- how do you make all of that work and provide this kind of conversation about it and this kind of access too… it is awesome. So thank you guys for doing it.
Oz The Great and Powerful opens nationwide on March 8th.
Photos: Jeanne Sager, PR Photos, Disney