Kelly McGillis Is Not a Role Model

Returning to the silver screen in the vampire thriller Stake Land, Kelly McGillis reveals the even scarier responsibilities that come with coming out.

BY Brandon Voss

April 21 2011 4:40 PM ET

KELLY MCGILLIS MAIN X390 | ADVOCATE.COMStake Land is your first feature film in a decade, and you’ll also appear in Ti West’s horror film The Innkeepers, which is scheduled for release later this year. People are calling 2011 a comeback year for you.
I don’t even know what that means. It’s odd. Does it mean I went away and came back? Because I really didn’t. I’ve always acted; it’s just that my children became first in my life and acting became second. I did act the last 10 years, but not as often. I feel like I never left.

You studied acting at Juilliard. Now that you’re able to focus more on yourself, do you feel as passionately about acting as you did in the ’80s?
I feel incredibly passionate about acting. When I’m doing it, it is the most exhilarating experience of my life. I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s like frickin’ free flying. It’s amazing. But in my 50s, the amount of interesting roles has diminished immensely. There’s also a huge kind of — I don’t know what it is, but it’s a thing, and I don’t know what the thing is, but I’m not in it. I’m outside of it, and I’m not willing to devote to my life to being in it. Does that make sense? I have so many other interests, and I’ve really started thinking about how I want to give back. So it’s not that I don’t have a love for acting, but I also have other things I want to do with my life before I leave.

As you get back into films, you’re approaching the Hollywood machine as an out gay woman for the first time. Does it feel different? Does Hollywood look at you differently?
I have no clue and I really don’t care. I’m not a part of that world at all. If I cared, I wouldn’t have ever said anything. If all that was important to me, I would’ve kept my mouth shut.

You had a very low-key coming out in 2009. In lieu of a “Yep, I’m Gay” People cover or a Today show interview, you made a casual comment about “being done with the man thing” in an interview for SheWired.com. Is that what you imagined it would be like?
I never imagined it happening. I never thought it would happen at all, so I didn’t have any scenario in my head. It was one of those beautiful moments that happen in life where a question was posed and I responded as honestly and openly as I possibly could, because the time was right in my life. I had no image of how it should be, because I don’t live my life like that now. I spent most of my life being miserable thinking that things should be a certain way, and they aren’t.

Tags: film

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