Blake Lively says she loves the idea of getting older. The original “Gossip Girl” has gone on the record about enjoying aging out of girlhood. But in youth-obsessed Hollywood, married to Ryan Reynolds in a wedding featured in Martha Stewart’s magazine, new mother of a little girl named James,” on top of the world, can she afford to be frank about age?
“I’m 27, so I can say ‘YEAH. Bring it on.’ But at 27, you haven’t really experienced it. So ask me again in 20-30 years. Maybe I’ll complain. Then.”
Lively has been mulling the age thing thanks to her latest film. The critically-acclaimed romance “The Age of Adaline” (opening April 24) has her playing a young woman trapped in young womanhood, immortalized in her twenties since the 1930s, loving and losing loved ones, watching the daughter she gave birth to reach her dotage while Adaline herself is forever young.
Adaline “longs to grow old,” Lively says. “Maybe there’s something in her that wants to grow old with the various men in her life. But far more important to her is the fear that she’s going to outlive her daughter. To have your daughter in her 80s while you’re trapped in your 20s…for a parent to see her child start to lose her memory, lose her strength and her independence, brings out the protector she knows she’s supposed to be… But age is something you can’t protect them from. ”
Lively plays Adaline through the ages as world-wise. Adaline uses the added years to master foreign languages. But as the decades pass, she’s increasingly world-weary.
“She’s seen what humanity can do to itself, in the 1940s.” She is hunted by a suspicious FBI in the McCarthy Era 1950s. And Adaline has loved and lost. It’s made her wary, avoiding romantic entanglements not just “out of guilt, on her part,” Lively says. “That’s the selfless way of looking at it. The selfish way of thinking about it is that it’s really, really painful to lose someone you love. She’s protecting herself from that. She’s been through it more than once, and it’s awful.”
That grief hits home in the film the moment we see that Adaline has a pet. We know what’s coming, just as she does.
“I’d do a take,”Lively recalls, “and the producers would come to me and say, ‘OK. THAT was a way to go with that. You were very emotional. Maybe try REELING it in a little.'”
“And I was just sobbing. ‘I CAN’T.’ I’ve experienced that, losing a dog…Not much in life rivals that feeling.”
Lively’s sensitive performance in “Adaline” is earning glowing early reviews, as is the film, described as “a generation defining love story that will permeate our collective cultural memory” by Ellen Beck of FilmLink Australia.
The Vogue model and cl0thes-conscious fashionista in Lively has a tip for careful filmwatchers. Pay attention to the costumes. It’s not just foreign languages and romantic leeriness that she carries with her over the course of a century.
“Watch the movie closely for these little fashion ‘easter eggs.’ You’ll see things she was wearing in the ’20s return — in the ’40s and in the ’60s,” Lively says. “Stuff she wore in the ’30s comes back in the early ’60s.
“Some decades were good for me — but not the ’20s or ’60s, with their kind of shapeless lines. The ’40s and ’50s, sharp lines and tight waisted dresses and pants? That worked for me and it worked for Adaline. So of course she’d hang on to those clothes!”
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