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What do you think of Gretchen Mol?

2014.01.19

 

Gretchen Mol
Gretchen Mol
- "I see everything while I'm driving around, and I say, 'Oh, that's coming out. I remember I auditioned for that and I didn't get it." -Gretchen Mol
Gretchen Mol (born November 8, 1972) is an American actress.
In 1994, Gretchen Mol was spotted by photographer Davis Powell. He photographed her in New York's Central Park and replaced her unrepresentative portfolio with professional-looking black & white images which landed her on the cover of W magazine within weeks and foreshadowed her "It Girl" and "Bettie Page" looks. Shortly afterwards, she ended her brief modeling career and entered acting full time.
Biography: In 1998, Gretchen Mol appeared in several notable films including Rounders, starring Matt Damon and Woody Allen's Celebrity opposite Leonardo DiCaprio. It was in 1998 that she also came to prominence and notoriety when she was featured on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine. Her appearance was both a triumph and a failure - it brought her great attention, but her movies bombed. Dubbed the "It Girl of the Nineties" by the magazine, her career did not live up to the hype - her early success was not sustained and she faced several lean years before a notable comeback with The Notorious Bettie Page in 2006.
 
While major roles have been sporadic, Mol has been in more than thirty feature films. And though the films have often been small, she has worked for a number of important directors. Her first role came in Spike Lee's 1996 film, Girl 6. She said "I was auditioning for Guiding Light and I was happy I got a Spike Lee movie, which was a tiny part, but all of a sudden I had Spike Lee on my resume. I didn't audition for day player anymore".

After Girl 6, New York filmmaker Abel Ferrara took notice and cast her in two movies, The Funeral (1996) and New Rose Hotel (1998). She had a small role in Donnie Brasco (1998). But by now, she was being typecast as "the girlfriend," which she attempted to change by taking a role opposite Jude Law in Music From Another Room (1998), a romantic comedy. Unfortunately, the film went virtually unnoticed by critics and audiences.

For her second film with Woody Allen, 1999's Sweet and Lowdown, she played a minor role which the Greenwich Village Gazette called "notable". She played the victim of a con in the 2003 film, Heavy Put-Away based on the Terry Southern story. In 2006, she shared the lead in a romantic comedy, Puccini for Beginners, in which her character has a lesbian affair.

Mol worked with Mary Harron for two years as the director struggled to finance The Notorious Bettie Page: "I kind of felt like I lived with it for a while; certainly not as long as Mary Harron did but I got a good chance to really feel like I knew something about Bettie so by the time the role was mine and I was on set I was pretty confident. I felt like I really worked for it".

The next year, 2007, was one of her busiest, with four films in production or in release, including a remake of 3:10 to Yuma starring Russell Crowe, and An American Affair in which her character, Catherine Caswell, has an affair with John F. Kennedy. When released in February 2009, the film was harshly criticized by New York Times critic Stephen Holden, though he said that Mol's part was "quite well acted".

In April 2008, she began filming Tenure in Philadelphia, working opposite Luke Wilson, and Andrew Daly. Though it had received some good reviews after being screened at several film festivals, it was released direct-to-video in February 2010.

Most of the time, when I'm picking movies that I really want to spend time with, they're lower budget creations of love and Mol keeps popping up in them. From the little known Puccini for Beginners (where you can watch her decide that she might be a lesbian) to the more cult-popular The Ten, Gretchen Mol might walk lightly amongst the bigger names, but she'll always stand above them in holding her own.

"Why in your opinion has Bettie become an icon?

Gretchen Mol: Well, I do think it's because of that quality. I think when she was in front of the camera, she had this - She unleashed this purity, this innocence and this healthiness of her spirit. She never was playing sexy. She was never playing with any need for a reaction. She was just fully in herself. And there's that line in the movie where she says she wanted to be lifted up or taken to another place.
 
I always felt that when she was posing, she did go to that place. And when I saw the loops where she's moving around, she's like in her own atmosphere. It's Bettie's world. And I think then that really allows whoever is looking at and admiring and using this photograph, it gives you permission for it to be whatever you need it to be. That's why I think Bettie's appeal crosses borders of men and women and generations."

Gretchen Mol Filmography

An American Affair

Gretchen Mol: An American AffairGretchen Mol: An American Affair

Cast: Gretchen Mol, James Rebhorn, Cameron Bright, Perrey Reeves, Mark Pellegrino, Noah Wyle

An American Affair is an indie starring Gretchen Mol, James Rebhorn, Noah Wyle, Perrey Reeves, Mark Pellegrino, and Cameron Bright, which was released theatrically by Screen Media Films on February 27th, 2009.
Set in 1963, in the swirl of glamour and intrigue that turned President John F. Kennedy's Washington into Camelot, a young teenager, Adam Stafford (Cameron Bright) has an inside view of JFK’s torrid affair with his neighbor Catherine (Gretchen Mol) and secret CIA assassination plans.

3:10 to Yuma

Gretchen Mol: 3:10 to YumaGretchen Mol: 3:10 to Yuma

Cast: Russell Crowe, Christian Bale, Peter Fonda, Gretchen Mol, Dallas Roberts, Ben Foster, Vinessa Shaw, Johnny Whitworth

In Arizona in the late 1800's, infamous outlaw Ben Wade (Crowe) and his vicious gang of thieves and murderers have plagued the Southern Railroad. When Wade is captured, Civil War veteran Dan Evans (Christian Bale), struggling to survive on his drought-plagued ranch, volunteers to deliver him alive to the "3:10 to Yuma", a train that will take the killer to trial. On the trail, Evans and Wade, each from very different worlds, begin to earn each other's respect. But with Wade's outfit on their trail -- and dangers at every turn -- the mission soon becomes a violent, impossible journey toward each man's destiny

The Ten

Gretchen Mol: The TenGretchen Mol: The Ten

Cast: Paul Rudd, Famke Janssen, Gretchen Mol, Winona Ryder, Jessica Alba, Adam Brody, Rob Corddry, Justin Theroux, Liev Schreiber, Oliver Platt, Ken Marino, Kerri Kenney-Silver

Much of the group responsible for MTV's The State -- including director/actor David Wain and performers Ken Marino, Kerri Kenney-Silver, and Joe Lo Truglio -- reunite for this outrageous, irreverent, and raunchy sketch comedy, which skewers the Ten Commandments. In the framing sequences, comedian Paul Rudd (who collaborated with much of the cast on Wet Hot American Summer and The Baxter) stands on a black stage with giant Biblical tablets projected behind him and promises to deliver ten mini-stories, each loosely based on one of the commandments, from "Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me" through "Thou Shalt Not Covet." For all of the storyteller's efforts, however, he is constantly, comically distracted by interferences, particularly those emanating from intrusions by his multiple girlfriends.

The stories are nonetheless told one by one in short-film form, beginning with a sketch in which Stephen (Adam Brody) goes skydiving with his intended, Kelly (Winona Ryder), but forgets to wear his parachute and gets stuck in the mud, waist-deep, which draws gawkers, media, and in time, worshipers. Several of the subsequent stories consist of raunchy, jet-black riffs on sexual perversion, including one about a virginal librarian (Gretchen Mol) entangled in a sultry and messy affair with a Mexican, and another memorable bit about a nutty surgeon who plays a prank by burying a pair of scissors in a patient's stomach and is then sent to prison -- where he experiences brutal sexual abuse at the hands of other men. As an added bonus, the picture packs in a fully animated sequence, narrated by several crack-smokers, entitled "The Lying Rhino."

Puccini for Beginners

Gretchen Mol: Puccini for BeginnersGretchen Mol: Puccini for Beginners

Cast: Elizabeth Reaser, Justin Kirk, Julianne Nicholson, Gretchen Mol

New York writer and opera addict Allegra loves her girlfriend Samantha, but can’t commit. When Samantha leaves her, Allegra rebounds with handsome philosophy professor Phillip as well as the irresistibly beautiful, recently single Grace. Allegra juggles secret relationships with both of them, never suspecting that Philip and Grace have a connection of their own. With a sophisticated blend of humor and irony, this screwball comedy twists and turns with all the drama of classic Puccini.

The Notorious Bettie Page

Gretchen Mol: The Notorious Bettie PageGretchen Mol: The Notorious Bettie Page

Cast: Gretchen Mol, Chris Bauer, Jared Harris, David Strathairn, Sarah Paulson, Cara Seymour, John Cullum

In an incandescent performance, Gretchen Mol (The Shape of Things) stars as Bettie Page, who grew up in a conservative religious family in Tennessee and became a photo model sensation in 1950s New York. Bettie's legendary pin-up photos made her the target of a Senate investigation into pornography, and transformed her into an erotic icon who continues to enthrall fans to this day. Complemented by an ensemble cast of acclaimed actors, such as David Strathairn (Good Night, and Good Luck) and Lili Taylor (High Fidelity), the film brings to vivid life Bettie's fascinating world.

The Shape of Things

Gretchen Mol: The Shape of ThingsGretchen Mol: The Shape of Things

Cast: Gretchen Mol, Paul Rudd, Rachel Weisz, Frederick Weller

The Shape of Things is set in a small university town in the American Midwest and centers on the lives of four young students who become emotionally and romantically involved with each other.

Rounders

Gretchen Mol: RoundersGretchen Mol: Rounders

Cast: Matt Damon, Edward Norton, John Turturro, John Malkovich, Gretchen Mol, Famke Janssen

Academy Award® winner Matt Damon (True Grit, The Bourne Supremacy) and Edward Norton (Fight Club, The Italian Job) star in this story of passion, risk and the extreme price of friendship! After losing a high-stakes card game, Mike (Damon) gives up gambling for law school and a fresh start with his girlfriend (Gretchen Mol – Cradle Will Rock). But then his best buddy (Norton) gets out of prison and in over his head with a ruthless card shark (John Malkovich – Being John Malkovich). From there, Mike’s strong sense of loyalty – and the lure of the game – draws him back to the tables in a game he cannot afford to lose! Also starring John Turturro (O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Transformers) and Oscar® winner Martin Landau (Ed Wood).

Godzilla

GodzillaGodzilla

Cast: Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno, Maria Pitillo, Hank Azaria, Kevin Dunn, Gretchen Mol

Dedicated to Tomoyuki Tanaka (1910-1997), who produced the 1954 original and sequels, the Devlin/Emmerich interpretation displays a redesign of Godzilla, now a large lizard mutated after fallout from French nuclear tests. A blinding flash of white light fills the Eastern sky. Thousands of miles away, the Pacific Ocean churns, engulfing a freighter. On another part of the globe, giant footsteps plow a path through miles of Panamanian forests, Tahitian villages, and Jamaican beaches. In the Ukraine, biologist Dr. Niko Tatopoulos (Matthew Broderick), with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, is examining the impact of radiation on Chernobyl earthworms. Colonel Hicks (Kevin Dunn) and a military team escort Niko to check out giant claw marks on the beached freighter; they're joined by paleontologists Elsie Chapman (Vicki Lewis) and Mendel Craven (Malcolm Danare).

Blood and giant-size footprints indicate "some sort of enormous reptile." French secret agent Philippe Roache talks to the freighter's only survivor, who keeps repeating, "Gojira...Gojira." Tatopoulos et al arrive in Manhattan's Fulton Fish Market where Godzilla surfaces, moving on to the NYC financial district where Mayor Ebert (Michael Lerner) is speaking. Ambitious Audrey Timmonds (Maria Pitillo), who works for TV news anchor Charles Caiman (Harry Shearer), is Niko's former girlfriend, and she uses this to her professional advantage. As the wave of destruction continues, Niko and Roache track the creature through the evacuated city and discover Godzilla's eggs about to hatch in Madison Square Garden. They are followed by Audrey and TV cameraman Victor "Animal" Palotti (Hank Azaria), and soon the hatching Godzilla offspring prowl the Garden corridors, leading to a final showdown.

Too Tired to Die

Cast: Takeshi Kaneshiro, Mira Sorvino, Jeffrey Wright, Michael Imperioli,Geno Lechner, Gretchen Mol

South Korean-born Wonsuk Chin, a NYC resident for eight years, made his directorial debut with this hip comedy, shown at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival. With numerous cinematic references and allusions (Bergman, Godard, Woo,Hartley), the tale begins with a black-and-white silent sequence depicting Death chasing a young man through Old Baghdad. The setting shifts to present-day New York, where a Japanese man, Kenji (Takeshi Kaneshiro of Chungking Express) is seen abed in a sparsely furnished apartment. Kinji goes to a local cafe where he chats with several others: Italian friend Fabrizio (Michael Imperioli) who proclaims, "Lubitsch is the god!"; a literary wit, Balzac Man (Jeffrey Wright); and an enigmatic German woman, Pola (Geno Lechner), who hints at a possible sexual liaison with Kinji. Death (Mira Sorvino) drifts about, assuming various forms -- disco gal, Japanese geisha, Chinese woman, devil with a red dress on, and a French-accented figure dressed as a man. The sad and lonely Death informs Kenji that she has no choice in determining her victims, and he also learns from her that he has only 12 hours left to live. She suggests that he make the most of his remaining minutes, so he sets forth on a series of brief adventures. At the cafe, he chides famous artist John Sage (Ben Gazzara) for being involved with a decades-younger girlfriend, the beautiful Korean Anouk (Hye Soo Kim). Sage invites Kenji to dinner at their home, and Death invites herself. Kenji makes the proposal that since he's due to die, he could be allowed sex.

Donnie Brasco

Cast: Johnny Depp, Al Pacino, Michael Madsen, Anne Heche, Bruno Kirby, Gretchen Mol

In the late 1970s, FBI agent Joe Pistone (Depp) is assigned to infiltrate the New York City–based Bonanno crime family. Calling himself, "Donnie Brasco" and posing as a diamond expert from Vero Beach, Florida, he befriends Lefty Ruggiero (Pacino), a low-level mob hit man whose personal life is in tatters, and Dominick "Sonny Black" Napolitano (Madsen). Lefty can't seem to make any money, his son is a drug-addict and he is continually passed over for promotion to a higher position within the crime family. He continually reminds Brasco of his growing disillusionment about having spent 30 years in the Mafia (and killing 26 people), with little to show for it. In Donnie, however, Lefty sees a young protégé who might be able to succeed where he had failed. He takes Donnie under his wing, and under Lefty's tutelage Donnie quickly becomes accepted by the other Family members, although he is never elevated above the rank of "associate" member (the lowest mafia rank). But the longer Pistone plays the role of a gangster, the more he finds himself actually becoming Donnie Brasco during his rare off duty hours. His change in personality drives a wedge between him and his wife (played by Anne Heche) and three children. Over time, Pistone comes to realize that the slightest mistake in his performance as a mobster could result in the death of him and his family. In addition, Joe Pistone has come to regard Lefty as a close and trusted friend. He knows that when the day finally comes that the FBI arrests his mob associates, he will be ending Lefty's life as surely as if he himself had killed him.