It doesn't surprise me in the least that the glorious red-headed Julianne Moore is one of several actors who have agreed to step outside their comfort zone and venture beyond the red carpet at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival that kicks off today.
Adrien Brody and Uma Thurman and stars of the Arab world, including Khaled Abol Naga, Lebleba, Yehia El Fakharany and Yusra, are also prepared to take part in this innovative venture that will allow members of the public to meet and talk to them as part of a new series of exclusive conversations.
While many movie stars are lost without a script, Moore is most definitely not one of them and comes across as eminently level-headed and intelligent in interviews. She has managed to carve out a highly successful career as well as having a solid marriage to the film director Bart Freundlich, with whom she has an eight-year-old daughter Liv and a 12-year-old-son Caleb. She looks amazing for any age, never mind 50, and says she never worries about the passing years. "I think you're only in trouble if you're my age and desperate to play the part of a 28-year-old. Then you're going to be unhappy," she told a Sunday Times interviewer.
For such a well-balanced and secure woman she seems to have cornered the market in playing unhappy and neurotic women, such as the troubled Los Angeles housewife Laura Brown in The Hours and an unfaithful wife in The End of the Affair for which she received a Best Actress Oscar nomination. In her latest film The Kids Are All Right, she stars opposite Annette Bening in a sophisticated comedy about two children conceived by artificial insemination who bring their birth father into their already complicated lives.
Quick-witted Moore is well-equipped to deal with any questions the public throw at her.
Real-life drama will grip world for months
The mesmerising human drama of the trapped Chilean miners is certainly the most absorbing story of the year and will continue to be so for months to come. The lives of those 33 men will be examined and picked over as they try to return to a world that will surely never be the same for them again.
As one by one, slowly and painstakingly, they began to emerge to joyous scenes yesterday morning, people all over the world who have followed their story anxiously breathed a sigh of relief. Now everyone wants to know their individual stories and book publishers and film and documentary makers will be lining up to get the exclusives about how they survived half a mile under the Chilean desert for more than two months. We will want to know exactly how they spent their days, whether there were fights or emotional outbreaks. Who will emerge as the heroes of the hour, who were strong and who were not so strong?
What were their feelings during those long and frightening days and how will they describe their relief when the mighty drill broke through the earth showering them with debris? In a world where the fictional heroics of screen heroes such as Matt Damon become more and more unrealistic, here is a story of real men faced with a dark and horrible death in the bowels of the earth, along with the unrelenting efforts of their rescuers on the surface.
The movie role of the strongman foreman Luis Urzua, expected to be the last man to be rescued, will be a coveted one. His iron discipline has been a major force in the survival of the trapped miners, who have been given daily routines and tasks on a shift system to keep them occupied. But there will be other heroes - not least the rescuers - who will be winched down the 630ft shaft to help the miners up.
The very thought of climbing into the slender steel capsule to be pulled up with agonising slowness is the stuff of nightmares for anyone with claustrophobia. How could you not feel panic as it scrapes against the sides of the rescue shaft? Above ground there has been euphoria at every successful milestone. The carnival atmosphere is intoxicating, despite the urging of wiser heads for caution. It will be impossible to contain the joy of the entire Chilean nation and the fascination of the rest of the world at what has been a riveting and inspirational story of courage and fortitude in the face of disaster, a real triumph of the human spirit.
Minor faux pas at airport
E-Gate My first foray through the airport E-Gate was a doddle. In fact, the system is so smooth that you fly through immigration ahead of the queues. I wish I'd taken the trouble to do it sooner. There was only one small embarrassing moment when I was asked by the machine to give it my thumb print and I touched the screen instead of the electronic scanner. I could feel the people behind me sighing "first-timer" as the gates refused to let me through, but once I put on my glasses I realised my mistake.
The only downside is that you're through so quickly that you beat your luggage to the carousel. I was hanging around for at least 10 minutes waiting for it to arrive, but it's a small price to pay and it does give you time to wander around Duty Free looking for bargains. My first foray through the airport E-Gate was a doddle. In fact the system is so smooth that you fly through immigration ahead of the queues. I wish I'd taken the trouble to do it sooner.There was only one small embarrassing moment when I was asked by the machine to give it my thumb print and I touched the screen instead of the electronic scanner. I could feel the people behind me sighing 'first timer' as the gates refused to let me through, but once I put on my glasses I realised my mistake. The only downside is that you're through so quickly that you beat your luggage to the carousel. I was hanging around for at least 10 minutes waiting for it to arrive but it's a small price to pay and it does give you time to wander around Duty Free looking for bargains.