LOS ANGELES—Two-time Golden Globe®-winner, Screen Actors Guild Award®-winner and four-time Academy Award®-nominee, Annette Bening opens up on the importance of family, professional freedom and navigating aging in Hollywood in an exclusive interview for the December/January issue of AARP The Magazine (ATM). On January 11, Bening will receive the 2019 Movies for Grownups Career Achievement Award at AARP The Magazine’s 19th Annual Movies for Grownups® Awards, airing on Sunday, January 19 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) and streaming the following day on pbs.org/gperf and PBS apps.
At 61-years-old, Bening and her career are at their prime. From starring in the 1991 gangster film Bugsy to the upcoming post-9/11 political drama, The Report – in which Bening plays Senator Dianne Feinstein – she continues to prove her ability to morph into any character, including the role of an intelligent cyborg in last spring’s superhero movie, Captain Marvel. To perfect the action-blockbuster role, Bening relied on the guidance of her four children, all of whom are now grown up and moved out of the house.
As a devoted mother and wife, Bening is notoriously circumspect about her private life. After decades of passing on opportunities so she could be close to home for her children, today, Bening is experiencing a growing sense of freedom and a new beginning as an empty nester. At a time when Hollywood seems to have finally awakened to the potential of older actresses in substantial roles, she is taking full advantage and feeling her own potential. Bening continues to evolve and grow as an actress, challenging herself with diverse roles in various film genres.
Although she enjoyed playing a more modern role in Captain Marvel, she is drawn to films that speak to a mature audience. “When you make movies, you want to make an impact on people, not just entertain them,” Bening shares. “It’s great when a movie can speak to someone. Those moments stick with me.”
The following are excerpts from ATM’s December/January 2020 cover story featuring Annette Bening available in homes starting December and available online now at www.aarp.org/magazine/.
On life with an empty nest:
“A lot of women have a period of incredible growth after their children are no longer with them on a day-to-day basis.”
On her son’s gender transition:
“He’s managed something that’s very challenging with great style and great intelligence. He’s an articulate, thoughtful person, and I’m very, very proud of him.”
On protecting her children:
“When I was younger, part of me thought I could save my children from having to suffer, which was, of course, ridiculous. They have to go through their struggles.”
On films in Hollywood today:
“So much of what we hear in Hollywood is that it’s youth focused. But, hey, we’re out here, too, right? We’re looking for films that are stimulating, provocative, intelligent and not exploitative in any way.”
Kevin Costner on working with Bening:
“The way she carries herself, her grace and dignity, the way she handles language and the ways she operates with integrity outside of movie life – she’s our generation’s Hepburn.”
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AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.