“She forgets to look up and take in the beauty of her life, and it goes away. She’s left alone to fend for herself. Being the true New Yorker that she is, she learns to drive for the first time at 50,” explains Patricia Clarkson during our recent interview (watch below) about her character of Wendy Shields in the recent film “Learning to Drive.” Wendy is a literary critic whose husband suddenly leaves her. To embrace her independence she starts taking driving lessons from the gentle cab driver Darwan (Ben Kingsley).
She candidly discusses the double meanings of the title and plot: “The very principles of driving are to take in the world around you. You have to be present and awake and alive. You have to take in the world exactly in front of you. You have to want to see and be a listener. These are all the things she has sadly lost track of in her life.”
Clarkson has been working behind the scenes for almost eight years to try and get the movie made. She is proud of the fact that women have many of the key jobs, including director Isabel Coixet, writer Sarah Kernochan, and editor Thelma Schoonmaker, a three-time Oscar winner for her work with Martin Scorsese.
The film will be on the Golden Globes ballots in the comedy/musical categories. Clarkson competed there before for the 2003 film “Pieces of April,” a movie that also brought her nominations at the Academy Awards and SAG Awards. She is also a two-time Emmy winner for her guest work on “Six Feet Under.” Earlier this year, she received a Tony nomination for her supporting role opposite Bradley Cooper in “The Elephant Man.”
Clarkson’s three decade acting career has also included the films “The Untouchables,” “Jumanji,” “Playing by Heart,” “The Green Mile,” “The Pledge,” “Far From Heaven,” “The Station Agent,” “Good Night, and Good Luck,” “Lars and the Real Girl,” “Shutter Island,” “Easy A,” and “The Maze Runner.”
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Photo Credit: Broad Green