Glenn Close has revealed the secret behind the flawless look in her critically acclaimed portrayal of a woman-turned-man servant in "Albert Nobbs". The Hollywood veteran opened up that she was inspired by an Albanian culture called "sworn virgins" to perfect her performance in the drama, which has helped her land the Best Actress nomination at the 2012 Academy Awards.
"Actually I had this picture of a woman from Albania from the National Geographic; I got it in 2002," Close said in an interview on "The View". She added, "There is a culture where, if a family doesn't have a male heir, they designate a woman to act and live a life as a man; they're called 'sworn virgins'. I had a face of this woman that I was fascinated by all these years and I thought, 'You know, the eyes, the hairline, the ears, all that..."
The 64-year-old actress additionally talked about the challenge in playing the androgynous character. "The challenge of doing a part like this on film is that you have a close-up and the close-up is very revealing," she explained. "So it was a question of devising, through rigorous hair and make-up tests, what the face of a woman would look like if she had been basically embedded as a waiter for 30 years."
Close has been receiving positive reviews for playing an 19th century Irish woman, Albert Nobbs, who lives in loneliness with no husband or family and without a job. She disguises herself as a male so that she could work as a butler. After hiding the secret for years, Albert is inspired to try and escape the false life she has created for herself.
"Albert Nobbs", which will open wide in the U.S. theaters on January 27, is directed by Rodrigo Garcia. Mia Wasikowska, Aaron Johnson, Janet McTeer, Pauline Collins and Brendan Gleeson also support the movie, which is written by acclaimed Irish novelist and screenwriter John Banville.