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Annette Bening

Annette Bening

Birthday: 29 May 1958, Topeka, Kansas, USA
Birth Name: Annette Francine Bening
Height: 173 cm

Annette Carol Bening was born on May 29, 1958 in Topeka, Kansas, the youngest of four children of Shirley (Ashley), a soloist and church singer, and Arnett Grant Bening, an insurance salesman. She is ...Show More

Annette Bening
My mother is not somebody who's troubled by aging. My mother is not somebody who's troubled by aging.
I'm still very critical of myself in film. I'm still very critical of myself in film.
If anything, I want to please people too much. If anything, I want to please people too much.
There's so much of our psychological makeup which is impermissible for us to explore because it's in Show more There's so much of our psychological makeup which is impermissible for us to explore because it's inappropriate or perverse or scary. I'm interested in exploring that in myself. I try to be honest with myself about everything that I feel. I'm not saying I'm able to do that all the time, but it's something I'm interested in. Hide
Most people are looking for something to give their life meaning. Most people are looking for something to give their life meaning.
I act, but I am a mother first and wife second. I act, but I am a mother first and wife second.
To me idealized characters are so boring to play, especially having grown up in the classical theate Show more To me idealized characters are so boring to play, especially having grown up in the classical theater. That's a great experience, but as a woman, especially, you've played a lot of idealized characters. So when you've got someone who has weaknesses as well as strengths, that's interesting. Hide
I don't see myself as having to compete with younger actresses; I don't feel that. I don't see myself as having to compete with younger actresses; I don't feel that.
I've tried to take roles with great demands. I've tried to take roles with great demands.
I'm interested in writing that explores all sides of human beings. I'm interested in writing that explores all sides of human beings.
Anybody who has children and children who are well feels a sense of responsibility towards parents a Show more Anybody who has children and children who are well feels a sense of responsibility towards parents and kids and families that are struggling and that aren't well. Hide
The time I spend with my kids informs every fiber of who I am. The time I spend with my kids informs every fiber of who I am.
I don't see myself as competing with other actresses. I mean, I went through a time when I was in Ne Show more I don't see myself as competing with other actresses. I mean, I went through a time when I was in New York, and I was going to lots of auditions and trying to get parts, but even then, you're not really competing with the other actresses. There is a competition going on, but it's not like something you can win in that way. Hide
I never felt like I had made it. I never felt like I had made it.
I don't really have a choice. I'm getting older. I don't really have a choice. I'm getting older.
I'm certainly not a perfect mother, but I am an avid mother, let me put it that way. I'm certainly not a perfect mother, but I am an avid mother, let me put it that way.
Getting all dressed up and putting on fancy clothes - all of that's a great thing, but oddly, it doe Show more Getting all dressed up and putting on fancy clothes - all of that's a great thing, but oddly, it doesn't really have a lot to do with acting most of the time. Hide
I feel that certain things are best kept inside a family and not discussed with anyone else. I feel that certain things are best kept inside a family and not discussed with anyone else.
I didn't picture myself as a movie actress. I began to think about it around college. I remember thi Show more I didn't picture myself as a movie actress. I began to think about it around college. I remember thinking, "Well somebody has to be in them", so maybe I could do that eventually. It's all been a surprise. Hide
I never thought my private life would be newsworthy. I never thought my private life would be newsworthy.
I read "Game Change". If you want to relive the campaign, that book is unbelievable. It's great. It' Show more I read "Game Change". If you want to relive the campaign, that book is unbelievable. It's great. It's the book of that campaign. It brought all the memories back of everything with Clinton and Obama, and Sarah Palin and McCain, and choosing her, and John Edwards. It was an interesting book. Hide
It's always 'busy' with four children; it's chaos. It's always 'busy' with four children; it's chaos.
Five billion people have played Hamlet. "To be or not to be". And how do you do that and find your w Show more Five billion people have played Hamlet. "To be or not to be". And how do you do that and find your way into your own journey, your own way of telling it? Hide
When I started in the theater, I'd do plays by Shakespeare or Ibsen or Chekhov, and they all created Show more When I started in the theater, I'd do plays by Shakespeare or Ibsen or Chekhov, and they all created great women's roles. Hide
I remember hearing someone say that good acting is more about taking off a mask than putting one on, Show more I remember hearing someone say that good acting is more about taking off a mask than putting one on, and in movie acting, certainly that's true. With the camera so close, you can see right down into your soul, hopefully. So being able to do that in a way is terrifying, and in another way, truly liberating. And I like that about it. Hide
[on working with Michel Hazanavicius in The Search (2014)] I knew The Artist (2011) of course, shot Show more [on working with Michel Hazanavicius in The Search (2014)] I knew The Artist (2011) of course, shot in L.A. It's a marvelous film. I was very impressed when I learned the director was preparing such a different film. It's very brave of Michel to have taken the time to throw himself into such a project. Michel is very direct, unpretentious. It's very easy to communicate with him, as it is with Bérénice [Bejo]. Both are professionals who, like me, also like to have fun. Even during the most serious moments there's always a place for laughter. They have a real love of life and a great curiosity towards the world. Me too. We had some excellent times together. I was delighted to be part of such an important film. Hide
There are so many different kinds of relationships, so it's sort of difficult to define what is cons Show more There are so many different kinds of relationships, so it's sort of difficult to define what is considered normal. Hide
I knew I wanted children in my life. The acting was always in relation to it. Life at home is chaos. Show more I knew I wanted children in my life. The acting was always in relation to it. Life at home is chaos. They're wonderful. They're such interesting human beings. I just love it. I'm lucky. Hide
If you can open people's hearts first, then maybe people's minds get opened after that. If you can open people's hearts first, then maybe people's minds get opened after that.
I find the reality of our emotional lives interesting. I find the reality of our emotional lives interesting.
I think when you're at your best as an actor, it is cathartic. I think when you're at your best as an actor, it is cathartic.
I'm lucky: almost all my family has lived to be very old. I have one grandfather who lived to be 100 Show more I'm lucky: almost all my family has lived to be very old. I have one grandfather who lived to be 100. Hide
Most women would say they relate to 'Hedda Gabler' - there's a part of her in them. Ibsen was writin Show more Most women would say they relate to 'Hedda Gabler' - there's a part of her in them. Ibsen was writing about a deep ambivalence that many women feel about domesticity. I think about myself and friends of mine - we have some of Hedda's qualities and traits. Hide
What makes us love a character is a character that tries. What makes us love a character is a character that tries.
There's love for your parents, your family, your spouse, your partner, your friends, but the nature Show more There's love for your parents, your family, your spouse, your partner, your friends, but the nature of the connection you have with your child, there's nothing like it. It has its own character and it's so serious and so powerful, and so it's a prism through which I see everything. Hide
With movies, so much of it is, "Who is the human being that is going to be directing it?". Because i Show more With movies, so much of it is, "Who is the human being that is going to be directing it?". Because it is their medium. In a way, you are serving the director, and when it is someone that you feel you can have a lot of confidence in, it can make a big difference. Hide
Everybody has a public life, and they have their own private life. Everybody has their secrets. Ever Show more Everybody has a public life, and they have their own private life. Everybody has their secrets. Everybody has their own private, you know, agonies as well as joys. And that's what great drama, whether it's the movies or the theater, that's what it shows. Hide
Yes, I know I've played these women, but I'm not really conniving at all. Yes, I know I've played these women, but I'm not really conniving at all.
It's easier to see in someone else, another actor, how they kind of disappear and then this other pe Show more It's easier to see in someone else, another actor, how they kind of disappear and then this other persona appears. A great actor is a thing of mystery. Hide
I've always been pretty levelheaded. In show business, you need to have a certain internal stability Show more I've always been pretty levelheaded. In show business, you need to have a certain internal stability. Hide
I've made some movies that I really loved that nobody saw. I've made some movies that I really loved that nobody saw.
I think you sort of shed skins as you go along in life. You get into your 40s, and you feel like "Ok Show more I think you sort of shed skins as you go along in life. You get into your 40s, and you feel like "Okay, no more pretending." You get to just be who you are. Hide
[on Valmont (1989)] Milos Forman is one of the great directors alive. He was incredible. I learned s Show more [on Valmont (1989)] Milos Forman is one of the great directors alive. He was incredible. I learned so much from him. I was working in New York on a play and I auditioned for Milos over a series of months. So it took a long time. I had only done one film before that. And so it was a long process. I read with all kinds of different people. I read with Val Kilmer and Kevin Spacey. So when I got this part, I'm playing this French aristocrat. I had never been to Europe. I mean this was such a dream come true to do this film with Milos Forman, this beautiful big period movie. And Milos taught me so much about acting. Because he's Czech and he doesn't have the politesse that some American directors have - he's much more blunt; he was an excellent acting teacher to me. And we all were sort of traumatized by working with Milos because he was so tough on us. And Colin (Firth) was also new. He'd done a few more movies than I had, but he was also new. And so we would start doing the scenes and we're in these period costumes and everything. So we would be sort of stiff. And so if I was to say something to you like, "Would you like a cup of tea?" Milos would say "No, no, no, no, no." And then he would make fun of the way that you said it - "would you like a cup of tea?" (exaggerated). And then he would say, "Natural, natural, just 'would you like a cup of tea?'" Then he would do it. And he was right. He was right and I learned a lot. I got used to it, and began to ask him to do that, and would say 'Show me what you mean.' He's incredibly loyal, and funny, and I adore him. Hide
I still remember the five points of salesmanship: attention, interest, conviction, desire and close. I still remember the five points of salesmanship: attention, interest, conviction, desire and close.
I think people have a right to their point of view. I think people have a right to their point of view.
There's no question that you can explore aspects of yourself through roles that you play, and you ge Show more There's no question that you can explore aspects of yourself through roles that you play, and you get a chance to investigate yourself; that's healthy, and it's therapeutic in a way. But if you're indulging yourself, exploration at the cost of the story or the project, that's not good. Hide
My character in Running with Scissors (2006) is manic-depressive. She starts out as a wonderfully ec Show more My character in Running with Scissors (2006) is manic-depressive. She starts out as a wonderfully eccentric person, and then descends into a terrible illness. Hide
I like things that I feel comfortable in. I like things that I feel comfortable in.
I feel very lucky I don't have to be a critic. I feel very lucky I don't have to be a critic.
The movie business is tough. It's driven by economics and economics are about trying to get a lot of Show more The movie business is tough. It's driven by economics and economics are about trying to get a lot of people into the theater. That's the reality of the business, the culture we're in. Hide
I think what's interesting about the whole paparazzi thing is that unless you're Brad Pitt or Madonn Show more I think what's interesting about the whole paparazzi thing is that unless you're Brad Pitt or Madonna, you can pretty much avoid it. You know when you're going to an opening that you will be photographed, so that's fine. And you know the restaurants that have paparazzi, so you don't go to them. Hide
We all get lost along the way, but hopefully we figure out some sort of path. It helps if you can im Show more We all get lost along the way, but hopefully we figure out some sort of path. It helps if you can imagine the process as well as the goal. Those kinds of dreams are easier to achieve. Hide
I didn't do a movie until I was almost 30. I'm grateful for that because it gave me a chance to be a Show more I didn't do a movie until I was almost 30. I'm grateful for that because it gave me a chance to be an adult in the world and do work in the regional theater that very few people cared about. I loved it and I wanted to do that stuff. Hide
I feel really lucky that I'm able to pursue the work that I love. I want my children to see that. I Show more I feel really lucky that I'm able to pursue the work that I love. I want my children to see that. I want them to have that for themselves, something that they love, that they do, that they pursue in their lives as a way of growing and learning. Hide
Having a life outside of movies is like pure oxygen. It makes the work more precious and informed. Having a life outside of movies is like pure oxygen. It makes the work more precious and informed.
What really motivates you to try to work things out as an actor is in large part fear, because you w Show more What really motivates you to try to work things out as an actor is in large part fear, because you want to get into that narrative and bring the audience along. Hide
I am in awe of Ruth Draper. I am in awe of Ruth Draper.
I like that I've been through things, that when something happens, it resonates with something that Show more I like that I've been through things, that when something happens, it resonates with something that already happened. It's not that things like loss are more or less painful. But they're deeper. I find that fascinating. Hide
I feel very, very lucky to have come from the family I did. We have our dysfunctions and our problem Show more I feel very, very lucky to have come from the family I did. We have our dysfunctions and our problems, just like any family. But my parents are extremely loving people. Hide
I had never been attracted to younger guys. I had, from my late teens, always liked men who were old Show more I had never been attracted to younger guys. I had, from my late teens, always liked men who were older than me. Hide
I think in the past, around the time that method acting became so prevalent, it used to be that Amer Show more I think in the past, around the time that method acting became so prevalent, it used to be that American actors were thought to be the kind that would work more from the inside out, and that the English actors worked more from the outside in. Hide
And if there's anything movies can do in a way that I just love, and I love as an audience is, "Show Show more And if there's anything movies can do in a way that I just love, and I love as an audience is, "Show me something I don't know about. Show me something I haven't seen.". Hide
A lot of directors in my experience are very receptive. They see what you do first, and then they wa Show more A lot of directors in my experience are very receptive. They see what you do first, and then they want to find a place to put the camera, and they tweak you here and there. Hide
We all perform our lives in a way. And the actor is a perfect metaphor to get at that theme of "how Show more We all perform our lives in a way. And the actor is a perfect metaphor to get at that theme of "how do we find our authentic selves?". And that we all - whether we're actors or not - perform ourselves. As a way of searching. As a way of fumbling around and trying to say, is this my voice? Is this who I am? Hide
To me, I didn't think of acting as being a young thing only. To me, I didn't think of acting as being a young thing only.
The tension I feel is the moment they say, "Action!". Movies are like lightning in a bottle, and you Show more The tension I feel is the moment they say, "Action!". Movies are like lightning in a bottle, and you always want to find when you possibly can catch a surprising moment. Hide
Right now, I love the fact that I have so many opportunities, but I know this privileged position ca Show more Right now, I love the fact that I have so many opportunities, but I know this privileged position cannot last. That doesn't mean that I'll stop working. I picture myself as an old actress doing cameos in films with people saying: "Isn't that that Bening woman?". Hide
My husband and I have very similar backgrounds even though we're years apart. So there are a lot of Show more My husband and I have very similar backgrounds even though we're years apart. So there are a lot of things that we basically share. Hide
We still want to idealize moms, and sometimes we want to idealize actresses who are moms, too. I kno Show more We still want to idealize moms, and sometimes we want to idealize actresses who are moms, too. I know that's something I've experienced, but we're all just doing the best we can and we're all trying to raise our kids and talk to them about everything that needs to be discussed. Hide
My parents were very supportive. They went to every show. And they never told me not to do what I wa Show more My parents were very supportive. They went to every show. And they never told me not to do what I was doing. Hide
When I look at women, older than I am, in their 50s, 60, 70s, 80s, and I see women that I admire, I Show more When I look at women, older than I am, in their 50s, 60, 70s, 80s, and I see women that I admire, I think, "Oh, I get it; that's how I'm going to be." I'm not scared. I want to be that. Hide
I love the luxury of the camera. The camera does so much for you. I like the secrets a camera can te Show more I love the luxury of the camera. The camera does so much for you. I like the secrets a camera can tell. Hide
My sister and I fought a lot when we were kids. I was the little bratty sister, and she would kind o Show more My sister and I fought a lot when we were kids. I was the little bratty sister, and she would kind of walk away, not wanting to be associated with me. Hide
I saw a Shakespeare play when I was - I guess I was in junior high. And I just fell in love with the Show more I saw a Shakespeare play when I was - I guess I was in junior high. And I just fell in love with the theater because, for me, it was a combination of big ideas and feeling. Hide
It's kind of a mystery to me, as far as my own life experiences and what I've witnessed - why some p Show more It's kind of a mystery to me, as far as my own life experiences and what I've witnessed - why some people can just move on through traumatic experiences, in childhood particularly, and why other people are just paralyzed by it. I just don't know how and why that is. Hide
I have perfected the art of putting my feet on my husband's lap during awards ceremonies so he can r Show more I have perfected the art of putting my feet on my husband's lap during awards ceremonies so he can rub them. Hide
By the time I was in high school, Roe v. Wade had passed, so that was also happening; girls were get Show more By the time I was in high school, Roe v. Wade had passed, so that was also happening; girls were getting pregnant and getting abortions - and that happened in my school too. Hide
Acting is not about being famous, it's about exploring the human soul. Acting is not about being famous, it's about exploring the human soul.
I always wonder about people's history and their lives, especially people that are a little bit more Show more I always wonder about people's history and their lives, especially people that are a little bit more distant, who obviously have had some kind of a thing, and you know there's some reason why they're not able to connect. It's not because they don't want to. They don't have the ability. Hide
Every person's opinion, in a way, does matter. Every person's opinion, in a way, does matter.
Even with a stable character, you want something surprising to happen, hopefully because that's what Show more Even with a stable character, you want something surprising to happen, hopefully because that's what the camera loves the most. That's what is great about film. Hide
Critics have a responsibility to put things in a cultural and sociological or political context. Tha Show more Critics have a responsibility to put things in a cultural and sociological or political context. That is important. Hide
I think for all of us, as we age, there are always a few moments when you are shocked. I think for all of us, as we age, there are always a few moments when you are shocked.
I wanted to be a classical actress. I plodded along. I went to junior college in San Francisco, I wa Show more I wanted to be a classical actress. I plodded along. I went to junior college in San Francisco, I was in a Repertory Company. My hero was Eva Le Gallienne, who was a great theater actress at the turn of the century who created her own company, and she wrote these hilarious autobiographies at the time. Hide
Our children see us a certain way, and we want to be seen by them in a certain way. I certainly want Show more Our children see us a certain way, and we want to be seen by them in a certain way. I certainly want to be a strong, stable, loving, consistent presence in my children's lives. But we are human beings, too. Hide
I think where I've instinctively found myself is that I am somewhat guarded in my public life. Being Show more I think where I've instinctively found myself is that I am somewhat guarded in my public life. Being interviewed or being photographed or just in public attention I have a certain reserve. But when I'm working I feel like I'm very open. At least I like to believe that I feel like nothing is held back when I'm in front of a camera. That's my job. Hide
It's hard to make a living in this business. Unions aren't as strong as they used to be. For a journ Show more It's hard to make a living in this business. Unions aren't as strong as they used to be. For a journeyman actor - someone who doesn't have a famous name but has consistent work in theater or film or television - it has become harder to get through, harder to raise a family. Hide
Sometimes you're reading something, and you don't know it will be important in your life. You're rea Show more Sometimes you're reading something, and you don't know it will be important in your life. You're reading this script, and you start to get involved. It's not an intellectual experience. Hide
It used to be the one or the other, right? You were the 'bad girl' or the 'good girl' or the 'bad mo Show more It used to be the one or the other, right? You were the 'bad girl' or the 'good girl' or the 'bad mother' or 'the good mother,' 'the horrible businesswoman who eschewed her children' or 'the earth mother who was happy to be at home baking pies,' all of that stuff that we sort of knew was a lie. Hide
I am really looking forward as I get older and older, to being less and less nice. I am really looking forward as I get older and older, to being less and less nice.
I have huge chunks of time when I'm not working. I have huge chunks of time when I'm not working.
Find the story you want to tell. If you don't want to write it, find somebody to write it. Find the story you want to tell. If you don't want to write it, find somebody to write it.
I do have to take care of myself, not only because I'm in the movies, just for mental health reasons Show more I do have to take care of myself, not only because I'm in the movies, just for mental health reasons. I exercise for me. You know, maybe it would be nice to not have to do that in order to feel good, but I do. I feel like I have to, to feel good. To clear my head and all of that, so. Hide
I just want to be educated. I just want to be educated.
I love being busy, and I love having a lot going on; it's exciting. I love being busy, and I love having a lot going on; it's exciting.
Glamour is really fun. Glamour is really fun.
When I started, I was a theater actress, and there were roles that I couldn't imagine not playing, l Show more When I started, I was a theater actress, and there were roles that I couldn't imagine not playing, like Rosalind in "As You Like It". I used to think I would die if I could play that. But then I started doing movies, and I had children, and I moved to Los Angeles. And now I kind of can't remember what those roles would be. Hide
I think we as celebrities have a lot more control. I think we as celebrities have a lot more control.
When I watch my kids, and I see the primal level at which the sibling relationships are formed, then Show more When I watch my kids, and I see the primal level at which the sibling relationships are formed, then I completely understand what these unresolved adult sibling problems are based on. You know, "Mom liked you better" and, "You got your own room and I didn't". Hide
I never speak for my husband, and I never speak for my children. It's a rule. Believe me, it is. I never speak for my husband, and I never speak for my children. It's a rule. Believe me, it is.
I've played parts that were just likable people, and there's a certain pleasure in that. And that's Show more I've played parts that were just likable people, and there's a certain pleasure in that. And that's that. Hide
Anyone who is drawn in broad strokes either negatively or positively is generally not very interesti Show more Anyone who is drawn in broad strokes either negatively or positively is generally not very interesting to play. Hide
If you're an actor, you have to find a way to make peace with all the media attention. If you're an actor, you have to find a way to make peace with all the media attention.
My dad was in the life insurance business, so I learned about selling when I was about 14 because I Show more My dad was in the life insurance business, so I learned about selling when I was about 14 because I started working as a secretary. Hide
Somebody said something really smart: It's like you end up being the defense attorney for your role. Show more Somebody said something really smart: It's like you end up being the defense attorney for your role. Your job is to defend their point of view. You're fighting for what they want. You learn that in acting school - it's Acting 1A: "What do you want? What's in the way?". Hide
I love the craft of acting, I love learning, I love everything that comes with the new project; the Show more I love the craft of acting, I love learning, I love everything that comes with the new project; the whole process is totally intoxicating to me. Hide
Annette Bening's FILMOGRAPHY
as Actor (69)
Annette Bening Annette Bening'S roles
Gloria Grahame
Gloria Grahame

Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil
Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil

Lucy Mabrey
Lucy Mabrey

Virginia Hill
Virginia Hill

Kate Craig
Kate Craig

Sydney Ellen Wade
Sydney Ellen Wade

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