(The above pic is of Julianne Moore as a young girl)
And with her daughter…
Julianne Moore’s children’s book, Freckleface Strawberry, features a 7-year-old girl who’s “just like everyone else” except for her red hair and “something worse … FRECKLES!” Back home in Manhattan after shooting the film Blindness in Brazil, Moore, 46, talked with USA TODAY about being an author, an actress and a mother.
Q: How autobiographical is the book?
A: When I was 7 (in Omaha), the other kids called me “Freckleface Strawberry.” I hated it. But they were just calling it like they saw it, even when they said things like “You look dirty,” and “Can I smell them?”
Q: Did you really wear a ski mask like your character?
A: No. I made that up. But when I wear a hat, people don’t recognize me. When they don’t see my red hair, they walk right by.
Q: The book is dedicated to your “own not-so-freckled strawberries” (son Cal, 9, and daughter Liz, 5, with her husband, director Bert Freundlich). Did they influence it?
A: I wrote it for them. In tone, Freckleface Strawberry is more like my daughter than me. She has a lot more personality than I did at her age. She’s more sure of herself. She’s more of a spunky kid.
Q. And you’re spunky now?
A: I don’t know if I am. But I’m pleased that my character is.
Q: Would you say the book has a moral?
A: I started it when my son was 7 and starting to notice how he looks. It’s a sweet moment, but it’s also an upsetting time — for the next 20 years or so, you can be obsessed by your big feet or your big teeth or your crazy hair — before you come out on the other end and say, “I may not like parts of how I look, but there’s not a whole lot I can do about it.”
Q: You join a growing list of celebrities writing children’s books.
A: There’s something slightly embarrassing about that. But I wanted to be published because I loved books as a kid and I love them now.
Q: As a kid, what did you read?
A: My father was in the Army, so we moved a lot, and in each new town, the first place I’d check out was the public library. I loved Laura Ingalls Wilder (Little House on the Prairie) and Louisa May Alcott (Little Women) because their characters seemed liked real girls. And I loved Judy Blume. I used to think, “‘How can she know this much about kids?”
Q: How does writing compare with acting?
A: You can do it by yourself. Acting never exists in a vacuum. I love it, but you’re part of a collaborative crowd. … I wrote the first draft of Freckleface Strawberry on a plane to London. I wrote it in the margins of my Filofax. That’s how old I am. I still have a Filofax.
Q: Do you have plans for more books?
A: I’m hoping it’s the beginning of a series with the same character. I have an option for the second book and a draft of the third. I showed it to my son, and he said, “Mom, I think you need more of a middle and more of an end,” and I said, “But it’s just a draft!”
Q: And do you have another film project?
A: I have no idea. For now, I’m just taking it easy and spending time with my kids.