Glenn Close Portrays a Man

Celebrity Q&A, People
on February 23, 2012

Is the movie Albert Nobbs the first time Glenn Close ever played a man?

—Roger Neal, Oklahoma City, Okla.

Close, 64, actually played a woman disguised as a man for the first time about 30 years ago when she performed the same role in director Simone Benmussa's off-Broadway play The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs, for which she won an Obie Award.

Truth be told, the story stayed with her all these years and was the inspiration for getting the film made. "There's something deeply affecting about Albert's life," she says. "She never stopped continuing to move me. I became very busy in my career but always thought that Albert's story would make a wonderful movie."

It took 10 years and a couple of rewrites for Close to get the script ready to shoot about a woman passing as a man in order to work as a waiter and survive in 19th century Ireland, but she was determined to play the role on the big screen before she retired.

"[The story] touches on complex human issues that reflect on everyone's own life and everyone's own baggage, and gives them something to take away as well," says the Greenwich, Conn., native. "Albert doesn't want to end up in the poor house. At that time, Ireland was extremely poor. Around the corner from the hotel [where she worked as a waiter] was abject poverty. She knows that without her job that's where she could end up."