'Awards Chatter' Podcast — Patricia Clarkson ('Sharp Objects')

One of the most respected actresses of her generation reflects on her decision to forgo having a family and focus singularly on acting, how she broke out of suburban mom-type roles and became a queen of the art house and why her part on HBO's acclaimed limited series was among the most challenging she has ever played.
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Patricia Clarkson

"We are no longer the exception, we are hopefully now the rule," says Patricia Clarkson about actresses "of a certain age," like herself, continuing to land plum roles. As we sit down at the offices of The Hollywood Reporter to record an episode of THR's 'Awards Chatter' podcast, the 59-year-old — an Oscar and Tony nominee and two-time Emmy winner who is poised to pick up Emmy No. 3 next month, in the category of best supporting actress in a limited series or TV movie, for her work on HBO’s Sharp Objects — continues, "Look, we do need stories about 25-year-old women, absolutely — they're interesting, they're sexy, they're amazing — but there's also a lot of life, and we get better as we age as actors."

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LISTEN: You can hear the entire interview below.

Past guests include Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, Lorne Michaels, Barbra Streisand, George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, Jennifer Lawrence, Eddie Murphy, Gal Gadot, Warren Beatty, Angelina Jolie, Snoop Dogg, Jessica Chastain, Stephen Colbert, Reese Witherspoon, Aaron Sorkin, Margot Robbie, Ryan Reynolds, Nicole Kidman, Denzel Washington, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Matthew McConaughey, Kate Winslet, Jimmy Kimmel, Natalie Portman, Chadwick Boseman, Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Gervais, Judi Dench, Quincy Jones, Jane Fonda, Tom Hanks, Amy Schumer, Justin Timberlake, Elisabeth Moss, RuPaul, Rachel Brosnahan, Jimmy Fallon, Kris Jenner, Michael Moore, Emilia Clarke, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Helen Mirren, Tyler Perry, Sally Field, Spike Lee, Lady Gaga, J.J. Abrams, Emma Stone, Ryan Murphy, Julia Roberts, Jerry Seinfeld, Dolly Parton, Will Smith, Taraji P. Henson, Sacha Baron Cohen, Carol Burnett and Norman Lear.

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Louisiana-born Clarkson began landing work almost immediately upon graduating from the Yale School of Drama in 1985, making her Broadway debut in the 1986 Broadway production of The House of Blue Leaves and her big-screen debut in Brian De Palma's 1987 film The Untouchables. But it wasn't until more than a decade after that, when she was 38, that she was really given a chance to show that she could play more than what she has called "suburban mom type roles" (somewhat ironic typecasting because Clarkson herself had long before decided to forgo having a husband or children to focus singularly on acting) when Lisa Cholodenko, making her directorial debut, cast Clarkson as a heroin-addicted German lesbian actress, and Clarkson garnered raves.

Suddenly, the actress was in-demand for all sorts of parts, and soon became a queen of the art house in films such as 2002’s Far From Heaven; 2003’s The Station Agent and Pieces of April (garnering a best supporting actress Oscar nomination for the latter); 2005’s Good Night and Good Luck; 2007’s Lars and the Real Girl; 2008’s Elegy; 2009’s Cairo Time; and 2014’s Learning to Drive. Through it all, she has made many excursions back to the theater, including a 2004 Kennedy Center revival of A Streetcar Named Desire and a 2014 Broadway revival of The Elephant Man, and to TV, with memorable parts on HBO’s Six Feet Under (for which she won her two Emmys) and Netflix’s House of Cards.

On Sharp Objects, an HBO limited series adapted by Marti Noxon from Gillian Flynn's best-seller, Clarkson plays Adora, a seemingly delicate Southern belle of a wife and mother who is — spoiler alert — afflicted with Munchausen syndrome by proxy, which makes her, as Clarkson explains, "a character within a character." For the haunting performance, Clarkson has already been awarded a Golden Globe.