ANDIE MACDOWELL ‘MY DAUGHTER GOT ME THIS JOB!’
THE MAID STAR’S NEW TV ROLE IS A DEEPLY PERSONAL ONE
For Andie Macdowell, signing on to star in Netflix’s acclaimed new series Maid was a no-brainer. Not only did she get to act opposite her real-life daughter, Margaret Qualley, but she got to sink her teeth into a complex character that hit very close to home.
In Maid, Andie plays Paula, the artist mother of Alex (played by Margaret) who has undiagnosed bipolar disorder.
The Four Weddings and a Funeral star, 63, tells New Idea that her own mother – whose pet name, coincidentally, was Paula – also suffered from mental illness, being diagnosed with schizophrenia shortly after Andie was born. Andie was able to draw on this experience to deliver a captivating performance that’s being called the best of her 37-year career.
“[My mother] had shock treatments and then came home to be really just left alone,” Andie tells New Idea. “They didn’t have the support system back then. It was an embarrassment to have any kind of mental illness back then, so I grew up in this really crazy environment.”
The youngest of four girls, Andie was very close to her mother growing up, and describes their relationship as “wonderful” and “loving”. She says her mum always encouraged her creativity, telling her she could do and be anything.
“She was just sick, that’s all. I wish she was still alive and that she’d never become an alcoholic, but I loved her and I never resented the fact that she was ill, or that I ended up taking care of her because she couldn’t take care of herself.”
It was this familial history that prompted Margaret, 26, to suggest Maid producers cast Andie as Paula.
“She knew that I have had personal experiences with mental illness and was like, ‘Oh my God, I know who is perfect for this.’ It was a gift because I don’t think anybody would have thought about me to play this character. I’ve never done anything like this before, and before you do something people don’t know you’re capable of doing it.
“I was actually astounded that she wanted me to play this character. It’s been really important for her to make
‘I WAS ASTOUNDED SHE WANTED ME TO PLAY THIS CHARACTER’
her own road and to have her own journey, but I feel like she feels secure that she’s already acknowledged herself independently from me.”
Margaret is Andie’s youngest child from her former marriage to rancher and model, Paul Qualley. The couple also share daughter Rainey and son Justin. Getting to work together was a gift for Andie.
“It was really an amazing opportunity. I didn’t go about
it in a way that was terrifying or anything like that. I went about it in a very joyful way,” she reveals. “Another dimension was that I could actually be a mother for my daughter because I never get to do that anymore – she doesn’t let me!
“I got to cook for her at the weekend and that brought me joy. It’s cathartic, just chopping vegetables, cooking for someone, nurturing someone. There’s great beauty to that.”