Sigourney Weaver treasures the opportunity to work with “younger” actors. We put younger in quotes due to the fact that Weaver points out to Movie Fanatic that once the director calls action, “we are all the same age.” Abduction -- directed by John Singleton -- finds the cinema legend playing a specialized therapist trying to help Nathan, the film’s star Taylor Lautner. He has discovered a photo of himself on a missing person's website. Is his entire life a lie?
Weaver has weaved a career over the last three decades that has included some of Hollywood's best and biggest films. From Alien and Avatar to Working Girl, the actress seems to always be in the middle of the action. In Abduction, it is no different. Without giving away too much, her character is integral to the story’s success.
Movie Fanatic: What was the biggest selling point for you to be in Abduction?
Sigourney Weaver: I liked the script. I thought it was a very exciting, scary story of two normal kids being yanked out of their world and having to find the resources to deal with lots of dangerous things. And I think after being in therapy for so many years, I was enticed by the idea of playing a psychiatrist [laughs]. I love working with young actors. My husband and I, we have a theater in New York called Flee and we have a young company every year. It’s very exciting to work with the younger generation where you are all equals. I find I get a lot out of it. I love the inter-generational quality of the business. I was very excited to work with Taylor and Lily, and the rest of the wonderful cast. And John Singleton, I think he’s a wonderful filmmaker. He’s very excited about this project.
Movie Fanatic: Have you learned something from this role that you will take to the next?
Sigourney Weaver: I found it a challenging role. It’s a complete about face in many ways. Suddenly, the velocity of the story -- once you find out what’s really going on -- that’s really my character’s job to start that arc with the change of tone in the car. I found that very exciting.
Movie Fanatic: You mentioned working with young actors. There’s that great scene with just you and Taylor in your psychiatrist’s office. How did you find him as an up-and-comer and what do you see as his strengths?
Sigourney Weaver: He’s very professional, very hard working. I thought he was very open to the different demands of this character and this movie. I have seen the Twilight movies, because I play a vampire for Amy Heckerling (in Vamps) and I tried to watch the whole vampire lore just to see what was up with these movies [laughs]. I think he’s very good in those and this is a very different set of challenges for him. I thought he rose to the occasion beautifully. There’s a love story with Lily, and I thought they were wonderful together.
Movie Fanatic: From Avatar to Abduction, you’re always playing such diverse characters. Does that help keep it fresh for you?
Sigourney Weaver: I love that. I actually have about five movies coming out this year all playing very different things. I think what I love, I love to do bigger parts, but I also love zooming in performing an important function in the story. Like James Mason, these wonderful British actors who come in and they do what they have to do and go out. I actually learned a lot this year playing very different things. A couple were leads and a couple were supporting roles. I love mixing it up. I did Abduction, an action movie, or a thriller I think, I did another one with Henry Cavill -- in both cases, very different people. I love the different demands. I’m not looking to repeat myself -- so boring. I like to just go for it.
Movie Fanatic: Is it difficult for actresses above 40 to get great parts? That seems to be more myth than fact, do you agree?
Sigourney Weaver: There are plenty of parts. Is it easy to get interesting parts for anyone? That’s a different question. For women over 40, there are lots of lovely parts actually -- because stories don’t function based on just young people. There are always parts. I say this, coming from the theater. Abduction has a great range of characters. A good story always has a good range of characters. I’ve always loved going from playing the lead in one thing and supporting in another, comedy or drama. That’s what gives me a workout so that I can be a real acting athlete. That’s my goal, I like the different challenges.
Movie Fanatic: As an actress, is it a challenge for you as you are portraying the character where there’s a lot more to them than meets the eye? Do you yourself have to be conscious of not revealing too much too soon in your performance in Abduction?
Sigourney Weaver: I didn’t think of it that way. For my character, that’s been kind of wrapped away for so long, she’s not on her guard. I think she is a therapist. I think she has other patients. I don’t think she’s just seeing Taylor. It’s not until this crisis happens that her training pushes itself into gear. I play the moment and trust that the audience will figure it out later. It’s true that she does not want him to investigate that dream too much [laughs]. I’m not saying she’s a perfect therapist. But, she’s doing what’s right for Nathan.
Movie Fanatic: Originally the part was written for a male. Why were the changes made?
Sigourney Weaver: Too many men! There was too much testosterone [laughs]. I think it’s obvious it should be a woman’s part.
Movie Fanatic: Are there too many roles for men versus women in Hollywood?
Sigourney Weaver: There are always going to be more parts for men. But I do think what is very exciting about a woman my age playing these parts -- a lot of parts I play were written for men -- and they kind of look at the tapestry of the cast or the story we need a little more... je ne sais quoi. Then I get the call. I like that. I love not changing a word to the script. I think people are very much what they do. What’s fun is the action of the person that defines the character.