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Glenn Close Drawing Raves For New Cross-Dressing Film

Glenn Close Drawing Raves For New Cross-Dressing Film

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Glenn Close's performance as a 19th-century cross-dressing waiter in the forthcoming film Albert Nobbs is already being touted as Oscar-caliber, but an incident in her childhood may have helped her understand the character.

Close plays an abused Irish woman who passes as a male waiter "in order to combat rampant gender and class inequality in 19th-century Dublin." The character saves his money in hopes of opening a tobacco shop and later begins to fantasize about settling down and possibly marrying an attractive maid, played by The Kids Are All Right's Mia Wasikowska.

The film, which had its world premiere last weekend at the Telluride Film Festival, was a passion project for Close, who also played the character in the stage play in 1982. Besides starring in the demanding title role, Close also cowrote and produced the movie.

"I don't think she knows [if she's gay]," Close says during an interview with The Daily Beast. "She has no knowledge of sexuality. She disappears for her own protection but she happens to disappear into a job where you're expected to be invisible, so she's an invisible person in an invisible job, and that makes her lose sight of herself."

Close also recalls experiencing a similar identity crisis as a child when her family was recruited into Moral Re-Armament, a Christian cult group. Close was a member from age 7 until she left for college at 22. "That could've been part of [my connection to Nobbs] because to protect yourself you had to -- " Close pauses before continuing. "That's very, very complex. Any kind of group-mandated thing, for a child, is quite dire. It's cult living where you're told what to say and how to act. It's very sexually repressive and yet you're supposed to be remaking the world, but you remake the world in someone else's eyes, so you give up your individuality. As a child, it's catastrophic because that's where you're trying to figure out who you are. I think I still have elements of that."

Albert Nobbs, directed by Rodrigo Garcia, is expected to open in limited release in December to qualify for awards consideration.

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