Pas­sion for the screen

Jeanne Trip­ple­horn’s big love is act­ing.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TV - By LUAINE LEE MC­CLATCHY

OC­CA­SION­ALLY act­ing can just be a job, says ac­tress Jeanne Trip­ple­horn. But, for her, most of the time it’s a call­ing. Best known as the kinky lawyer in Ba­sic In­stinct, sen­si­ble Wife No.1 in Big Love and the wa­ter­logged love in­ter­est in Water­world, Trip­ple­horn ad­mits her pas­sion for it waned slightly af­ter she had her son, who’s now nine years old.

“I lost the heart for act­ing be­cause my heart was with my fam­ily and my son so that was re­ally, ‘I don’t know if I want to do this any­more.’ But then they get older and you re­alise you have to flex that independent artiste in your­self again, and I re­alise I’m fully whole be­cause I have my son. I’m so lucky be­cause as an ac­tor I get to be a mother full­time when I do it, and then I go off and work. Then I come back and get the bal­ance. I get to be a work­ing mum when I need to and I can be a full­time mother, which I love.”

That en­nui soon passed, as she proves in Life­time’s Five, pre­mier­ing on Oct 10 in the United States. The project is an an­thol­ogy of five short films about breast can­cer, di­rected by fa­mous femmes like Jen­nifer Anis­ton, Demi Moore and Pene­lope Spheeris. It stars a galaxy of lu­mi­nary ac­tors like Patricia Clark­son, Tony Shal­houb, Jen­nifer Mor­ri­son and Gin­nifer Good­win.

Trip­ple­horn is the thread that stitches all five parts to­gether, as the one char­ac­ter touched by all their lives.

She ad­mits she likes act­ing be­cause it en­ables her to be some­body else. The rea­son she does it is be­cause she can’t help her­self, she says in the bustling lobby bar of a ho­tel in Bev­erly Hills, Cal­i­for­nia. “You have to want it more than life it­self. Any artist – whether an ac­tor, a painter – has to want it more than life it­self. You can’t live a fully re­alised life un­less you do it. Those are the ones that are go­ing to sur­vive be­cause they’re go­ing to do it. They just HAVE to.”

She started out as a ra­dio DJ and wet her feet in lo­cal the­atre. She even dropped out of one col­lege, hop­ing to at­tend Juil­liard. “I went to New York and I au­di­tioned for Juil­liard two weeks af­ter I ar­rived in New York. Right af­ter I got out of Juil­liard, I did a TV movie-of-the- week with Ja­son Ro­bards and Camp­bell Scott. Then I got Ba­sic In­stinct, and I was off to the races.”

She sup­ported her­self mainly through stu­dent loans.

“In my third year at Juil­liard in the sum­mer I did a com­mer­cial for AT&T. That gave me a lit­tle money, but not much. So I tried to do com­mer­cials on my off-time. I worked at the Mu­seum of Tele­vi­sion and Ra­dio dur­ing the sum­mer; I was a cat­a­loguer.”

Cap­tur­ing the role in Ba­sic In­stinct (be­fore she fin­ished school) con­vinced her that she would be able to make a liv­ing in her dream pro­fes­sion.

“My par­ents were so proud and we didn’t have a lot of money. My mother was in Tulsa and you had this project where you present your work and a cou­ple weeks later you have your phys­i­cal grad­u­a­tion with the gown and diploma. And my mother had to choose be­tween them. She couldn’t af­ford to come to both. She said she’d rather see me per­form, to see what I’d been do­ing for four years, but she didn’t see me grad­u­ate. It was her So­phie’s Choice.”

Trip­ple­horn lost her mum, but fi­nally found the man of her dreams when she met ac­tordi­rec­tor-writer Le­land Orser, to whom she’s been mar­ried 11 years. She says for a while she had com­punc­tions about mar­ry­ing an ac­tor.

“Just be­cause be­ing with an­other ac­tor is re­ally tough. And ac­tors, by their na­ture, can be com­plex peo­ple. I don’t con­sider my­self com­plex in my ap­proach to life so I had given up find­ing some­body who had my out­look and bal­ance. And luck­ily I found some­body. I think if Le­land weren’t as bal­anced and hon­est and as solid a per­son as he is, I prob­a­bly wouldn’t be mar­ried to any­body in our busi­ness. But it’s worked out be­cause we trade off (on each other) and we’re able to do what we both want to do and have a grounded enough life for our child.” – © Mc­Clatchy-Tri­bune In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices n Catch Trip­ple­horn on BigLove on HBO (Astro Ch 411) ev­ery Mon­day at 10pm.

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