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Gretchen Mol

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Gretchen Mol (born November 8, 1972) is an American actress. She plays Annie Norris on the American version of Life on Mars.

BiographyEdit

Early lifeEdit

Mol was born in Deep River, Connecticut where her mother, Janet, is an artist and teacher and her father is a school teacher at RHAM.[1] She went to high school with Broadway actor Peter Lockyer. They performed in school musicals and plays together. Her brother, Jim Mol, is a director and editor in the film industry. Mol attended The American Musical and Dramatic Academy and graduated from the William Esper Studio. After summer stock in Vermont, she took a job for a while as an usher at Angelika Film Center. She was living in a Hell's Kitchen walk-up when she was noticed by a talent agent who spotted her working as a hat check girl at Michael's Restaurant in New York.[2] Mol's first acting job was in a Coca-Cola commercial.

Personal lifeEdit

Interviewed by the Associated Press in Baltimore in December 2006, Mol commented about how she maintained her confidence as an actress: "It is an ongoing struggle. Confidence is something that sometimes you have and sometimes you don't. And the older you get, hopefully, the more you have some tools to at least fake it".[3] She married film director Kip Williams on June 1, 2004. Their first child, Ptolemy John Williams was born September 10, 2007.

Stage WorkEdit

Mol's acting career had its beginnings in summer stock in Vermont where she played a variety of roles including Godspell and 110 In The Shade [4]. She played Jenny in Neil LaBute's The Shape of Things on stage in both London and New York in 2001 [5], in a role she reprised in the film version, released in 2003. Of her work in the play (which he disliked),[6] the New York Times critic Ben Brantley wrote, "[Mol] gives by far the most persuasive performance as the unworldly Jenny, and you wind up feeling for her disproportionately, only because she seems to be entirely there, in the present tense." In 2004, Mol spent a year singing and dancing as Roxie in the Broadway production of Chicago.

In 1994, Mol was spotted by photographer Davis Powell [7]. 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.

Film careerEdit

In 1998, she 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".[8]

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). By now, she was being typecast as "the girlfriend," which she attempted to change opposite Jude Law in Music From Another Room (1998), a romantic comedy. Unfortunately, no one noticed the film.[9]

For her second film with Woody Allen, 1999's Sweet and Lowdown, she played a minor role which the Greenwich Village Gazette called "notable".[10] 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".[11]

The year 2007 was one of her busiest, with four films in production or in release. They include a remake of 3:10 to Yuma starring Russell Crowe, and Bay of Pig in which her character, Catherine Caswell, has an affair with John F. Kennedy.

In April 2008, she began filming Tenure in Philadelphia, working opposite Luke Wilson and Andrew Daly.[12]

TelevisionEdit

Mol had a small role of Maggie Tilton in the 1996 miniseries Dead Man's Walk, based on the Larry McMurtry novel. She also was in a few episodes of Spin City.[13] She was the star of the short-lived David E. Kelley series Girls Club (2002), a drama about three women lawyers. The series was not well received and it was canceled after two episodes.

She appeared in two TV remakes of classic films: Picnic (2000), in the role of Madge Owens, and The Magnificent Ambersons as Lucy Morgan (2002). She made a Hallmark Hall of Fame television movie in January 2007, starring in The Valley of Light, a story set in post-World War II based on a novel by Terry Kay.[14] It was her second Hallmark production. She had a minor role in Calm at Sunset in 1996.[15]

She played Norah in The Memory Keeper's Daughter which aired in the U.S. on The Lifetime Channel in the U.S. in April 2008.[16]

She is currently playing Annie in Life on Mars (American). The U.S. remake of the British show Life on Mars (British), it started airing in the U.S. in September 2008.

FilmographyEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1996 Girl 6 Girl #12
Dead Man's Walk (TV mini-series) Maggie
The Funeral Helen
Calm at Sunset (TV) Emily
1997 Donnie Brasco Sonny's girlfriend
The Last Time I Committed Suicide Mary Greenway
Subway Stories: Tales from the Underground (TV) The Wife (segment "Love on the A Train")
The Deli Mary
1998 Too Tired to Die Capri (uncredited)
Celebrity Vicky
Rounders Jo
Finding Graceland Beatrice Gruman
New Rose Hotel Hiroshi's Wife
Music From Another Room Anna Swan
Bleach Gwen
1999 The Thirteenth Floor Jane Fuller / Natasha Molinaro
Cradle Will Rock Marion Davies
Sweet and Lowdown Ellie
Forever Mine Ella Bryce
Just Looking Hedy
2000 Picnic (TV) Madge Owens
Attraction Liz
Get Carter Audrey (uncredited)
2002 The Magnificent Ambersons (TV) Lucy Morgan
Girls Club (TV series) Lynn Camden
Freshening Up (TV short) Jannelle
2003 Heavy Put-Away Mary
The Shape of Things Jenny
2006 The Notorious Bettie Page Bettie Page
Puccini for Beginners Grace
2007 The Ten Gloria
The Valley of Light (TV) Eleanor
Trainwreck: My Life as an Idiot Lynn
3:10 to Yuma Alice Evans
2008 The Memory Keeper's Daughter Nora Henry
Boy of Pigs Catherine Caswell awaiting release
2009 Tenure Elaine Grasso filming

ReferencesEdit

  1. Gretchen Mol Biography (1972-)
  2. Broadway.com interview
  3. "Stardom stalled for Vanity Fair 'It Girl'", Associated Press, December 29, 2006 <http://www.cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/Movies/01/02/celeb.qa.gretchenmol.ap/index.html]
  4. Broadway.com interview
  5. http://www.curtainup.com/shapeofthings.html CurtainUp: The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings. Accessed April 4, 2007
  6. http://theater2.nytimes.com/mem/theater/treview.html?html_title=&tols_title=SHAPE%20OF%20THINGS,%20THE%20(PLAY)&pdate=20011011&byline=By%20BEN%20BRANTLEY&id=1077011432784 New york Times, October 11, 2001. Accessed April 4, 2007
  7. New York Photographer in Australia
  8. Broadway.com interview
  9. NYT bio
  10. http://www.nycny.com/movies/sweetandlowdown.htm Greenwich Village Gazette
  11. http://www.the213.net/php/article.php?id=413 The Two One three, "Gretchen Mol: Puccini and Lesbians", interview, February 14, 2007
  12. Killer Movies, "Andrew Daly, Gretchen Mol Get 'Tenure'"April 8, 2008
  13. NYT bio
  14. "Hallmark Hall of Fame Presents The Valley of Light, Premiering Jan. 28 on CBS"
  15. [http://www.cbs.com/specials/the_valley_of_light/bios.shtml CBS bio.
  16. Variety, "The Memory Keeper's Dautghter", April 9, 2008

External linksEdit

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