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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 6)

"The dynamic of the scene was that I have been under constant pressure because I'm a woman," she says. "I've been the outcast. So Jordan at that moment is a little hypersensitive to anybody's comments. And it turns into a moment of comfort for me; she is communicating to me, 'Don't lose your sense of humor, don't lose sight of the big picture.' She's communicating that she's my friend. It's what's underneath the lines, the subtext, that matters. Because the scene is ultimately about finding support in a world where I'm really standing on my own. And there were subtle differences in the takes, and the moment when we finally hit it, it just fell into place. It evolved as we were doing it. The joy for me is in the collaboration.

I have to be there to see where the other actor is going, what she is thinking about, what she wants to do. It's my favorite way to work. I rely on my intuition."

Her work as an actress, she says, is "100 percent instinct. I haven't had years of learning in acting class. It just didn't go that way for me. Not because I ever felt I was so wonderful I didn't need it. I'm sure I could use plenty of guidance. Actually, I was too insecure to want to take that path. I always just felt that if I got in a class and somebody said, 'Boy, you're really not good, and maybe you should consider something else,' I would have had to, and I thought that if I could fake it long enough maybe I could figure it out. There's that old saying, 'Fake it until you make it,' and I think I might have been skating on that thin ice for a while in the hope nobody would find me out. I never even really had the ability to put myself in that kind of learning situation until right before I did Ghost, when I worked in New York with a teacher named Harold Guskin. I enjoyed it, but being in a class would probably still be intimidating for me."

One thing Moore does not find in the least intimidating is a good cigar. "I've been smoking them on and off for seven years," she says. "I started just really for the fun of it. I saw people smoking, usually just men because back then you didn't see very many women smoking cigars. And of course my husband smokes them. And I wanted to find out what it was about it that they found so appealing."

Her first serious cigar, she says, was "a large, strong Montecristo, and I thought it was way too much for me. But then I discovered the smaller cigars, and I began to have my romance with them."

She knew her relationship with cigars had reached a new level when her friends "Tom and Nicole"—as in Cruise and Kidman—gave her a traveling humidor. "It's my work humidor. I keep it in my trailer. I keep it stocked with a variety of cigars, ones I like and ones I have available for other people."

These days, she says, "I switch between the small Cohiba Panatela and the little Montecristo Joyitas. But now I've graduated to where I sometimes have a Cohiba No. 2 or a Montecristo No. 2. I like a mild cigar. And I like it not to be too large. I have small hands and a small head, and I don't want a cigar that's bigger than both of those parts of my body. I like the flavor. I like the taste. I enjoy the smell of a good cigar. It relaxes me. It's a great social activity, because there's something about smoking a cigar that feels like a celebration. It's like a fine wine. There's a quality, a workmanship, a passion that goes into the making of a fine cigar."

In an interview five years ago in The New York Times, Moore said that one goal in her life was seeking "inner peace." These days, she says, she feels she is on her way. "It's a never-ending journey," she says, "but I feel that my understanding, my comfort level and my overall serenity has grown tenfold. It's a matter of time, age, experience and acceptance. We spend a lot of the early part of our lives viewing only what we don't like about ourselves. And then slowly we start, little by little, to gain perspective about the things that aren't so bad about who we are. The general feeling that we're never enough is more common than people like to admit, and just that recognition brings about inner peace."

She does not like to think far ahead, so she doesn't really know what her goals are for five or 10 years from now. There's the hope that perhaps she'll be able to make movies that "are maybe a little bit smaller, a little bit more intimate, a little bit more about character and not about how many people they'll reach."

"But I don't really know what I'll be looking for then," she says. "I may decide that I don't want to work, that I want to just stay at home for two years. Or maybe I'll want to travel with my children for a year, take them someplace else to live. I just know I want to try to be in the moment as much as possible. Because it's fleeting. And nothing reminds me more of that than my children."

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