"We're so afraid of death in our culture, but I think if we understand it better, then we'll appreciate the life we have more." ~ Naomi Watts
A definite tone of these articles and for Women In Horror in general is fearlessness. It seems that society has long told women that there are certain things expected of them. Be sweet. Be polite. Don't offend. Don't say this. Don't say that. It's "unlady-like". I find nothing more inspiring than a woman who doesn't only bend these rules. She shatters them.
"Pain is such an important thing in life. I think that as an artist you have to experience suffering. It's not enough to have lived it once; you have to relive it. Darkness is not a pejorative thing."
Naomi Watts is as brave as they come. Her choices in roles are that which many would not have the strength to play. I think we all felt it when we saw MULHOLLAND DR. A shocking, provocative, and disturbing piece where she truly shined. At that definite tone shift in the film, you find yourself at a loss of what is reality and what is a fabrication and her outstanding performance is no small part of that. It was this role that would give her critical acclaim and place her as a staple in films both disturbing and horrific.
"Yeah, I suppose I am ordinarily drawn to the darker stuff. You won't find me in a romantic comedy. Those movies don't speak to me. People don't come to talk to me about those scripts, because they probably think I'm this dark, twisted, miserable person."
Her performance when playing off the wonderful Viggo Mortensen and directed by Canadian treasure David Cronenberg was absolutely brilliant in EASTERN PROMISES. Maybe not a horror film per se, but an outstanding film.
A personal favorite film of hers is FUNNY GAMES. If you haven't seen it, go do that. The moment you finish reading this piece. I'm not one to spoil things for you, but it is one of the greatest "horror" films I have ever seen. Now, I do have a different definition of horror than most. I feel anything that is horrific is horror. PASSION OF THE CHRIST is, in my humble opinion, a horror film. It's a lot of other things, too, sure, but horror is definitely one of those things. Here's a little taste of FUNNY GAMES...
Naomi Ellen Watts, born 28 September 1968, began her career in Australian television. Her film debut was the 1986 drama FOR LOVE ALONE. In 1996, she appeared in Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering. For this role, she made a mere $5,000. She's come a long way, especially in a business where women commonly make less than their male counterparts for the same job since then. In 2005, she reportedly made $5,000,000 for her role in KING KONG.
"It was the character that drew me to this project. It's a genre film, and you get all those moments that you get in a genre film, but you get a little bit more. I think it's more psychological. And the character has her own personal journey to go through, and I particularly liked it for that reason. Rachel starts out as a flawed person and not the greatest mother. She's not asking the questions, she's a little bit driven and focused on what she thinks is the right thing to do, which is work, work, work, survive, survive and provide for my child. But it's only after all the drama and the chaos happens that she realizes that it's not just about that. It's about spending time and asking the questions and recognizing what your child needs before he states it." ~ Naomi Watts on THE RING
Naomi made waves again in the American adaptation of RINGU, THE RING. Though I am not a huge fan of foreign films being remade in the North American market, THE RING had a profound effect on horror. It launched several more North American foreign film remakes and a movement where people sought out the originals of these films. That in itself is a milestone. It encouraged many to look outside the North American box and seek out foreign films, where some truly amazing films were being made but not receiving the recognition they deserved. Naomi also did a sequel to the film.
I am a believer that with great power comes great responsibility. I find it sad how few celebrities use the power they have exclusively for self gain or the ever popular nothing at all. Naomi does in fact use her powers of fame and influence for the benefit of others. In 2006, Naomi Watts became a goodwill ambassador for Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, it helps to raise awareness of AIDS issues. She has used her high profile and celebrity to call attention to the needs of people living with this disease. She participated in events and activities, including the 21st Annual AIDS Walk. She is presented as an inaugural member of AIDS Red Ribbon Awards. She has participated in campaigns for fundraising. On 1 December 2009, Naomi was meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and joined the AIDS response at a dramatic public event commemorating World AIDS Day 2009. During the event, she said: "It has been both unfortunate and unfair for HIV infection to be considered a shameful disease, for people living with HIV to be judged as blameworthy, and for AIDS to be equated with certain death. I have personally seen that dignity and hope have been strongest among those whose lives were changed by HIV."
And she's a women who is far from done. After working with such famed directors as David Lynch, David Cronenberg, and David O. Russell (three of my very favorite Davids), Naomi does not intend to go gently into that good night. It is commonly known that aging actresses are treated differently from aging actors. Where one is embraced, the other is merely replaced. She, like many of us, would like to see that come to an end.
"If I have to produce movies, direct movies, whatever to change the way Hollywood treats older women, I'll do it. If I have to bend the rules, I will. If I have to break them, I will."
Here's to a woman who never lets fear stand in her way.