"Age of Adaline" director Lee Toland Krieger claims that Blake Lively came in insisted she was the best person for the title role, but Lively herself begs to differ. "I didn't say I'm the best person for it, I just said that I really wanted it," he explains. "I could give you a whole list of people that would've been better for it. But I was the most aggressive, I'll tell you that much."
It makes sense that Lively would approach the role with such vigor, considering she had to be passionate enough about it for her to cancel the hiatus from acting she'd put herself on following the end of "Gossip Girl" in 2012. "I was on a TV show for six years. We shot 10 months a year," Lively explains. "I was just exhausted, and I didn't feel good at it anymore. When you have to do something so much, it's just muscle memory, and I wanted to take a break. I started my company, Preserve, because I thought, what else do I love? What else do I feel good at? What else can I be creative at while taking a break from acting?"
But she didn't block out Hollywood completely, with scripts still coming in. "I read 'Adaline' and thought, I can't not do this movie. I still wanted to be on a break, but I just thought I have to, have to be in this film," Lively remembers. "And then because it was such a special movie and such a special experience, I was reading other scripts and thought, how do I live up to that? And then I got pregnant, so I didn't have to."
It's a good thing she got over those feelings of inadequacy, too, because the role of Adaline — a woman born in 1906 who stops aging at age 29 due to a freak accident and tries to go unnoticed in San Francisco for the proceeding 80 years — proved to be full of very unique challenges for Lively as an actress. I always look for the closest thing to a character that I'm playing, and I try to meet that person and talk to that person. It's very hard to meet someone who's been alive for 100 years, and it's even harder to meet someone who's immortal," Lively admits. "So I thought, OK, when is a woman most defined by? When does she really blossom into who she is? And it's when they come of age. So if she came of age in the 1920s, I need to capture a woman from the 1920s who has that formality and who is stoic and very proper and very reserved and conservative, and then try to weave in some influence from the '60s. That's very, very different from where women came in the Edwardian era. She can't be alien, so she has to have this timelessness to her and she has to look like a mixture of all these decades, because she wouldn't just go shopping at Zara and speak like I speak."
And don't worry, she did find another script that measured up to "Age of Adaline," as she already has her next starring role carved out: "I'm doing a movie called 'All I See is You,' with Marc Forster directing and Jason Clarke," she says. "It's about a woman who loses her eyesight at a young age and then has an experimental surgery and gets her eyesight back, and how it effects their beautiful relationship and their marriage, which was so healthy when she was co-dependent, but now that she's not … It's a very character-driven story." That should make for some interesting research as well.
Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter: @nedrick
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