By ANGELA DAWSON
Front Row Features
HOLLYWOOD—In “Thanks for Sharing,” Gwyneth Paltrow plays a perfectionist and fitness freak that falls for a man who seems unable or unwilling to get physically romantic. She soon discovers the reason for her guy’s intimacy issues are because he is a recovering sex addict. Though challenged by her beau’s unusual addiction, Paltrow’s Phoebe does her best to make sense of it. Mark Ruffalo, who co-starred with the Oscar-winning actress in last year’s “The Avengers,” plays Adam, who, despite his addiction, is a successful professional that would make a pretty good catch.
Directed and co-written by Stuart Blumberg, who also wrote the Academy Award-nominated “The Kids Are All Right,” “Thanks for Sharing” is another heartfelt story about the human condition told with humor.
Paltrow, who has two children with Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, recently spoke about her latest role, playing a perfectionist and why she really doesn’t understand sci-fi.
Q: When you were talking to the BBC about “Iron Man 3,” you said you didn’t really understand the sci-fi element. Why aren’t you interested in sci-fi?
Paltrow: It’s not that I wasn’t interested, it’s that I don’t get it. I don’t know. I’m just not such an aliens fan. I’m not intelligent enough to appreciate sci-fi. I’m missing something, or maybe I just have a vagina. That might be the problem. A movie like this, that’s really about something, is very intriguing. I love doing the “Iron Man” movies, don’t get me wrong. I love working with Robert (Downey Jr.) and it’s great. But this kind of thing is just a whole other kettle of fish. I love the fact that this movie is about what we should all be doing, which is bumping up against all our damage and seeing what’s holding us back and keeping us from being whole people. You can look for metaphors and stuff in a movie like “Iron Man,” about triumph and different archetypes. (But) a movie like this, it’s nice to do something that’s so intelligent and also so original and kind of forward.
Q: Do you prefer one genre to another?
Paltrow: No. I really don’t. I loved doing “Iron Man.” I loved doing action. I had an amazing time doing special effects. I had never really done that kind of thing and I absolutely loved it. I absolutely love working with the actors (in “Thanks for Sharing”) and saying these amazing words. I’m very lucky that I get to do both.
Q: What did you like about playing your character in this movie?
Paltrow: I loved the script when I read it, but one of the things I really was really interested in was the fact that Phoebe is a person who is holding all of these judgments, and all of these judgments have helped her make this construct around herself. Through the course of the film, through compassion and empathy and a situation she never would have imagined herself in, she starts to understand. She starts to have real self-awareness and reflectiveness. I think it’s such an amazing and essential part of the human process to be brave and start to address your own shit. And Mark Ruffalo’s shit looks dirtier, but actually it’s all the same. I thought that was a really interesting piece.
Q: What’s been the toughest addiction, whether it’s serious or not serious, that you’ve had to grapple with or maybe you’re still trying to get out of your life?
Paltrow: I’m just straight up Internet porn. (She laughs.)
Q: Would you be able to understand if your spouse was a sex addict?
Paltrow: I’m an extremely open-minded person, so I think if it was something that I knew going into (I would be OK with it). Like my character in the movie, it’s something that she learns at the beginning when someone said, “Look, this is part of who I am and what I’m dealing with,” it wouldn’t keep me from exploring a relationship with somebody, if I felt like everything else was lined up. It would be hard for me to be one of those wives that 20 years in you find out that it’s been going on behind your back, for your whole life, and so you’re questioning. What is your life? What has it been? What is what? That would be harder for me, but if there is authenticity and honesty at the beginning, then I wouldn’t hold a judgment about it.
Q: If he relapsed, would you be able to forgive cheating, because it is a disease?
Paltrow: In life, the idea is that if you’re committed to someone and you’re in a relationship that’s important to you, you surmount things. For different couples it takes on different challenges, and I would like to be that I would be forgiving. It’s also something, in that scenario, that I would know going in what I was signing up for.
Q: Can you talk about your experience working with Mark Ruffalo again?
Paltrow: Mark and I did a really classic movie together, a long time ago, that was shockingly snubbed by the Oscars, called “A View From the Top.” I had had an amazing time working with him then and we have good chemistry. It was very easy. He’s a lovely man and he’s an excellent actor. I loved every minute of it.
Q: One of your character’s interesting quirks is that she doesn’t let her food touch. Do you have any personal experience with that? Do your children do that, where you have to keep the food separate?
Paltrow: No. We’re a mixed food household. (She laughs.) We let it all go crazy on the plate. I think that was a fascinating part for me when my character reacts, “What? Why would you do that?” It’s just such an interesting manifestation of her control issues and a kind of eating disorder that she wasn’t facing.