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McDormand, Frances - On taking drugs, particularly LSD and mushrooms

Identifier

025875

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

We have no entry for Frances as she does not give enough description here of what happened to merit a full entry.  It is however, interesting to know that she took drugs and why she took them – basically rebellion.

A description of the experience

Daily Beast - Frances McDormand on ‘Olive Kitteridge,’ Dropping LSD, and Her Beef With FX’s ‘Fargo’ by Marlow Stern;   09.03.2014 ;   5:50 AM ET

Thirty years ago, Frances McDormand, the adopted daughter of a traveling Disciples of Christ minister who spent her formative years in the small Rust Belt city of Monessen, Pennsylvania, made her film debut in the Coen Brothers’ Blood Simple. The role of Abby, a two-timing Texan wife who becomes embroiled in a murder-for-hire plot gone awry, was originally offered to her Yale School of Drama classmate, Holly Hunter. But since she was busy on another project, Hunter suggested McDormand for the part, and the rest is history. The actress met her husband, the film’s director Joel Coen, on Blood Simple, and the pair have since collaborated on seven films, included her iconic turn as pregnant Oh Ya-ing sheriff Marge Gunderson in the crime classic Fargo, which earned her the Best Actress Oscar.

McDormand has also received three Best Supporting Actress Oscar nods for playing an abused wife in Mississippi Burning, a comically overbearing mother to a budding rock journalist in Almost Famous, and a miner with ALS in North Country. She’s also appeared in a bevy of other fascinating films, from Robert Atlman’s Short Cuts to Curtis Hanson’s Wonder Boys to Lisa Cholodenko’s Laurel Canyon, and won a Tony Award for 2011’s Good People.

On Monday evening at the Venice Film Festival, the 57-year-old actress was honored with the Persol Tribute to Visionary Talent Award, with fest director Alberto Barbera praising McDormand for her steadfast portrayal of heady, courageous women which “stands in contrast to today’s dominant system of values.”

The glamorous fete was followed by the premiere of the 4-hour miniseries Olive Kitteridge, which will premiere on HBO Nov. 2. Adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Elizabeth Strout, the film centers on Olive (McDormand), a prickly Maine math teacher who marches to the beat of her own drummer, and her strained relationships with her husband (Richard Jenkins) and son (John Gallagher Jr.) over the course of 25 years. Directed by Cholodenko and executive-produced by McDormand, the riveting character study boasts the actress’s finest turn since Fargo.

I sat down with McDormand over coffee in Venice for a long conversation about her fraught upbringing, storied film career, experimentation with drugs, and much more.

Did you always conceive of Kitteredge as a TV miniseries?

Always. Think about it… 90 minutes? It would have never worked. Originally, we were signed to the ongoing series department at HBO, so the first assignment Jane Anderson, who wrote the screenplay, was given was to build a bible like David Simon does with The Wire or Treme.

It’s rare to see a big project like this written, produced, directed by, and starring women. It’s really a breath of fresh air, in that respect.

It wasn’t the intention, or like we were trying to make some feminist statement. In this case, it turns out that we were all just the best ones for the job. But it’s very sweet. Politically? Come on. I love it. I started to be asked when I was 38, “Do you think there are roles for women after 40?” and I said, “Yes, but they’re always in the support of male protagonists.” I’ve always known that I’ll have a career for the rest of my life because they’ll always make movies about men, and men need women in their lives. But, when it comes to telling a woman’s story, they’re complex, circular, and not genre-driven. We wrote Olive Kitteridge as six hours and they asked us to make it in four. I have a project I’m working on that follow a woman’s life from 15 to her death. Stay tuned.

Who’s directing that one? The hubby?

Nobody yet! But with that, I believe I have a part in their next film and I’m very excited about it. It’s called Hail, Caesar!

Olive must have been tough to portray, because she’s a very thorny mother and wife, but you feel compassion for her because she’s in a precarious situation. Did she remind you of your own mother?

I can quote my husband on this. He said, “She’s an emotional Dirty Harry.” She takes no prisoners, and lets no one off. But she reminded me very much of my mother. It goes with the job, man. In most cases, the Dad comes out smelling like the rose—unless they’re some horrible fuck—but with mothers, it’s just this fuckin’ thing and you cannot escape it. There’s a biological imperative. I’m adopted, as is my son, and the minute you smell them there’s a pheromonal reaction between the parent and their child. My son smelled like a cinnamon bun, and that smell entered into my biological being, and it became an imperative that I keep him alive at all costs, so then there’s this monster—this tiger, or lion—that comes forward in you to protect them. And it doesn’t stop. It doesn’t matter if they become men or women. The whole point of a teenager driving you insane is because they’re supposed to wear you down so you can fuckin’ die sooner and get out of the way, because it’s their place.

Were your parents very strict? I read that your father was a Disciples of Christ pastor.

It’s hard to measure to today because very few people are connected to that kind of life. I don’t know too many people today who go to church, the mosque, or temple every week. My father was a minister, and it was more my mother that had the responsibility of making sure the family put out an outward of appearance of living what he was preaching. She was the PR. It didn’t matter if it wasn’t working at home; when we showed up, we had to be clean and courteous. It’s a show. My Dad was not good at family problems, but he was really good with other people who came to him with their needs.

Did you rebel?

I did. Thankfully for them, it happened after I left home. When I left home at 17 for college, I had a list: Virginity? Check it off, and get rid of it as quickly as possible. Every drug that didn’t involve a needle? I wanted to try it. And I systematically went about doing that in the comfort of a four-year liberal arts education, and it was heaven. And I never really looked back.

Which one was the most fun to check off?

[Laughs] Well, unfortunately virginity wasn’t the best one! It progressed, and got much better in the practice.

What about the drug experimentation? Did you have any profound drug experiences?

It was always recreational, and it never became a part of my daily existence. But I really, really enjoyed LSD. And I really enjoyed mushrooms very much. It’s unfortunate, I think, that drugs were not handled properly. Politically, they’ve been used to separate the economic classes. Thankfully, it’s all getting fixed now with the marijuana laws. But with LSD, because it was countercultural, and because it was used as an experimental drug, it was not marketed properly. It if had been marketed properly, we would have it.

They needed your mom out there doing PR for it.

[Laughs] We needed a PR person for that LSD! It was very profound. Very profound. I liked LSD.

The source of the experience

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