The Kids Are All Right - Julianne Moore
The Kids Are All Right - Jules (Julianne Moore) ©2010 Focus Features

Earlier this year Julianne Moore starred in the movie Chloe, in which her character dabbled in a lesbian relationship with Amanda Seyfried’s character. Now she’s starring in the movie The Kids Are All Right, in the role of Jules, a Lesbian married to Nic (Annette Bening) who are raising their two teenage children, Joni and Laser (Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson).

As Joni prepares to leave for college, 15-year-old Laser presses her for a big favor – he wants Joni, now 18, to help him find their biological father, as the two teenagers were conceived by artificial insemination. Enter Paul (Mark Ruffalo), the bio-dad, an easygoing restaurateur whose presence begins a new chapter for the family.

At the press junket for the movie, Julianne Moore spoke of her unique role and doing the love scenes.

You were attached to this project for a long time. What was it about it that attracted you?

The Kids Are All Right - Annette Bening and Julianne Moore
Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore) © Focus Features

I loved (Lisa Cholodenko’s) movies so much. I loved Laurel Canyon and High Art, and I approached her at a Women in Film luncheon and asked her why I hadn’t seen the script for High Art (she laughs). She said, ‘I think you were working,’ and I said, ‘I don’t think I was.’ So I wanted to work with her. She sent me this.

Her movies are about relationships. There’s never an event in her films. It’s all about how people connect and communicate. And what they’re trying to elicit from each other and how they love each other. It’s the kind of film I respond to the most because it’s about human behavior.

Did you know you wanted to play Jules or did you think about playing Nic?

The Kids Are All Right - Annette Bening, Julianne Moore and Mia Wasikowska
Nic (Annette Bening), Jules (Julianne Moore) and Joni (Mia Wasikowska) © Focus Features

I liked Jules right away. She’s the one I responded to. I like how searching she is and in-between she is. I just really responded to it.

Jules is so playful.

She is. And she’s very emotional too. She feels first and thinks second. Her gift is her ability to connect with people.

Someone said to me you have chemistry with everybody and that’s what Jules is. She is the kind of person that people think I really like her. She’s all out front like that.

Did you try to build a family on the set?

No. I always disagree with the thing about building a family on a film set. You don’t. You build a work environment. It’s not a family. Whenever people say, we were just like family, I think, no we weren’t. We were only there for eight weeks and we went home every night.

The thing about families is that they’re with you at the beginning to the end, and through some tough stuff and great stuff. Mia (Wasikowska) said they’re the only people that go through that whole life experience with you. They see everything. There’s something incredibly intimate about that.

That’s why when people say we were like a family, I think, a film set is not a family, it’s just work.

How does Annette Bening compare to other onscreen love interests? You’ve had so many.

The Kids Are All Right - Annette Bening and Julianne Moore
Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore) © Focus Features

I know. I’ve had a lot (she laughs). I’m doing this Steve Carell movie right now and I said to the writer, ‘I think this is the first movie I haven’t kissed anybody in,’ and he said, ‘You kiss Kevin Bacon.’  I’d forgotten.

I’ve kissed so many actors and actresses. Actors and actresses are great kissers. That’s our secret. We’re all really good kissers.

I hear some of the love scenes were cut in this?

It seems pretty stupid. Who knows what (the MPAA) are looking at. I have less of an issue about (love scenes) than I do with things exploding. Sex is OK. Everybody does it. Most of us don’t like to throw bombs.

You had a lesbian scene in Chloe and now Kids. What is it that attracted you to these roles?

Both of those movies are about middle age, which is exactly where I am so it’s no mistake. They’re also about long term relationships. In both of these movies, these women are wondering where they are in their relationship.

In Chloe, she thinks her husband is having an affair and she spins this whole story, and in this one you see these people who’ve been together 20 years and suddenly there’s this tension because one of them doesn’t know who she is anymore.

It’s interesting they’re similar thematically but that exploration of relationships and time is really interesting.

You don’t have a problem showing off your body?

The Kids Are All Right - Annette Bening, director Lisa Cholodenko and Julianne Moore
Annette Bening, director Lisa Cholodenko and Julianne Moore © Focus Features

I don’t know if I’d say that. Chloe was harder, particularly with a 24-year-old (Amanda Seyfried) on top of me. Imagine! She’s a sweetheart. It was easier in Kids, because there was more covered up.

It’s also comic and we were kind of rolling around and stuff. It’s never easy to do.

How do you feel about this movie as a political film?

Films don’t influence culture as much as they reflect it. The reason why we can have a movie like this is because these are the kinds of families we’re seeing now. It’s not shocking.

What does change opinion is proximity. If you’re next door neighbor is gay or the person in the (military) unit is gay and suddenly you’re like they’ve been here all this time? Gosh, I didn’t know they were gay. They’re just like me. That’s what makes people think (it’s acceptable).

The fact the movie presents (this family) as (ordinary) is very helpful but it’s also generational. My kids are growing up in a generation where people have two moms or two dads or even two moms and two dads who’ve split up and repartnered just like heterosexual couples.

They’re living in a world where all of this is happening.

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.