Annette Bening is usually active in political causes, but these days she’s turned her attention to economic matters. Perhaps financial matters are still a vital political issue, but she’s found a showbiz cause to advocate.
“In the last year because of the recession, there's something called The Actors' Fund,” Bening said. “They're these ratings for different organizations, they're really important in show business, to help people. The needs have gone up. It's tough right now. A lot of people are out of work. So I've been raising money for The Actors' Fund here and in New York, because they do help everybody. They help the grips and the stagehands, even producers and composers, choreographers and singers and actors.”
Unfortunately, they don’t extend their support to entertainment journalists. “Journalists, I'm sorry to say, are not [covered]. We always say we're for everybody in show business, but now that I think about it, well, that's not really true. I'm so sorry but they're a really good group.”
Politics remain a part of Bening’s personal interests. “I read Game Change. You want to relive the campaign? I'm telling you, that book is unbelievable. It's the book of that campaign, it brought all the memories back. Everything with Clinton, and Obama, and Sarah Palin, and McCain choosing her, and John Edwards…”
Bening currently stars in the drama Mother & Child opening this weekend. She plays a woman who gave up a child for adoption when she was a teen. The indie film didn’t tax Bening’s schedule too badly.
“I've been lucky, and I have a family so I don't work all the time. I try to be pretty selective, so I've been very fortunate. I'm lucky because the work that I do, I can stop and start, which I love. Being able to do this picture was such a gift so I can't complain. I do plays, too, and I try to find other things. I'm kind of lucky, because I can step in and do something and go away and not have to think about it.”
She can turn it on and off too, playing a traumatized character with convincing depth and then turning on the happy smiles in her off time. “I really had very close experiences with girls who went through similar [experiences]. I can remember one girl, and I became kind of preoccupied thinking about her, a girl that I've known since we were very little and we ended up going through school and high school together. A gorgeous girl, a really vivacious person. What I remember is thinking, 'What happened to her?' because you were never really told explicitly what happened, but suddenly she was gone. And there were rumors and you didn't see her. Well, she was sent away because she got pregnant. So sort of the legacy of that is what I had to understand as best I could for myself. That got me into the present of the film, somebody who had been through that and in some ways had been paralyzed by it. Everybody was, but most people it left a kind of dent or a bruise or a scar or whatever you want to call it. It was hard to get over.”
Mother & Child opens Friday.