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No Apologies No Regrets

From the roles she plays to the cigars she smokes, actress Demi Moore makes her own choices.
Mervyn Rothstein
From the Print Edition:
Demi Moore, Autumn 96

(continued from page 3)

"I don't get too concerned because the variables are so great. And the effort I put into making a movie is never different. What I am putting into this is no different from what I put into The Scarlet Letter. I put every ounce of my heart and soul into it. The best thing I can get from a movie is the experience of making it. And the rest is whatever it's going to be. You can't get caught up in the end result. If I do, then I will stop living in the here and now. So for me, even though I've got a very big movie, Striptease, coming out in two weeks, and it's a movie that's had a lot of ink, a lot of focus, and I know already that it's going to have a lot of controversy, I also know that it's already far behind me. Because I'm here making this movie now. It's the process that counts, and I've moved on, and I'm in the process of doing something else. Striptease seems so long ago."

The bad press Moore has often received does not bother her, she says. "I don't give it much power," she says. "I don't allow myself to say or feel that they're not being fair to me. I feel that the press is a big machine that runs of its own will, and to fight against it would take too much of my focus and my energy. All I can really do is try to find the safest way I can to use the press for positive things—promoting what I love, the movies I make. The rest of it, even though sometimes it hurts, sometimes it's disappointing, sometimes it's unjust, I just don't want to get caught up in it. I've seen what the press does to other stars, and I know I'm no exception. Everybody has their day. Sometimes it's a good time for you in the press, sometimes it's just your turn to get hit. There seems to be no rhyme or reason, no matter what you're doing or how hard you're working. Except you do see that sometimes it comes like the tide—if it's been a really good time for you, the press starts looking for reasons to bring you down, and if you're really down it seems as if they start to jump on a bandwagon so they can be the creators and bring you back. So I just try to ride the wave."

Being a celebrity can be difficult, she says—when she remembers that she is one. "When I'm not working, I'm a pretty easygoing, simple kind of person," she says. "I'll be out at a restaurant on the weekend, a low-key kind of place, and we'll be in the middle of a discussion, and it's only when somebody comes up and asks me for my autograph that I'm reminded that that other person, the celebrity, is me, too. And sometimes I watch that other me while it's happening, and it's interesting, because I usually don't see myself that way. It's only when somebody else reflects it that I see it."

She tries, she says, to see "the part of celebrity that's the sweetness and not the part that's a pain in the ass—where you're in the middle of a conversation and you're trying to share an evening with friends, and people are interrupting. They don't mean to. They're excited. They're wanting to come close to something that they only see at a great distance. So I try to have compassion for the part that can be irritating. After all, they're the audience, and without them...."

The only time it's really unpleasant, she says, "is when it invades my family's private time, the time I spend with Bruce and the children, and I get taken away from them. If, for instance, we're at Disney World and people are coming up all the time and making it uncomfortable."

Moore and Willis have been married almost nine years, since Nov. 21, 1987—"Knock wood," she says with a smile, and then knocks wood. She met Willis not long after ending a difficult three-year relationship with actor Emilio Estevez. The couple have houses in Idaho and Malibu, California, and an apartment in Manhattan. They are also among the celebrity partners in Planet Hollywood (others include Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone).

In these days of swiftly vanishing celebrity marriages, the Willis-Moore partnership is, if not a record, at least an accomplishment. Are there any secrets to their relative longevity?

"I have no idea," Moore says. "Marriage for anyone takes a lot of commitment, compromise and just plain old desire to want to be together and walk through the good and bad times equally. I don't think we have any secret. I think we are pretty much just like everybody else trying to go through it. We certainly have extra pressures because we are both in the limelight, and sometimes it feels as if the public doesn't want to allow any normal mistake or struggle you may have without amplifying it and making it into the worst thing possible.

"But I think other than that we're pretty normal. And I think it helps that we stay focused on our life together and not on our work, which we keep very separate. That has so far worked for us. My work is my work and his work is his. We share it as we choose to, but I don't need him to read every script I'm interested in, and vice versa. I think that makes being together much more our priority—the joy of the things we get to do as a couple and the things we do with our children, keeping our interest on each other as individuals. And I think the fact that we live in Idaho, that we don't live in the town where our industry is based, also makes a huge difference."

There are times, of course, when their film careers don't allow them to see each other as much as they would like. But there are also advantages to a film life. "Obviously, our work takes us apart, takes us on location," Moore says. "Sometimes we work in different places at the same time, which means we have no choice but to be apart. But we have very fortunately in almost nine years made a conscious choice not to be apart for more than two weeks. We always get together, even if it's just for a day or a weekend. And the thing most people don't realize is that while our work does take us apart more than those who can be together year-round, we have something that people without our lifestyle don't—we have the opportunity to take two or three months off together. That kind of quality certainly makes up for the times we are apart. We just look on it as an alternative lifestyle—if we worked a 9 to 5 job and saw each other every day, and had only two weeks off a year, we might get sick of each other."

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