By ANGELA DAWSON
Front Row Features
HOLLYWOOD—In “Still Alice,” four-time Oscar nominee Julianne Moore plays a woman who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. As the versatile actress does with so many of her roles, she took it upon herself to research the disease, it’s impact on those afflicted with it and the impact on their families. In particular, one woman, who was diagnosed with the disease in her mid-40s, moved her. The fact that she was a redhead—like Moore herself—struck a chord with the actress.
Though the neurological disease was robbing the woman of her memory, Moore saw a strength in this woman that she decided to imbue in her onscreen character.
Based on the novel, “Still Alice,” by Lisa Genova, the drama is adapted for the screen and directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, whose collaborations have included “The Last of Robin Hood,” which starred Kevin Kline and Susan Sarandon and the Sundance Grand Jury and Audience award winner “Quinceanera.”
Glatzer, who holds a PhD from the University of Virginia was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, while developing the film. Though the disease progressed rapidly, Glatzer managed to co-direct it with Westmoreland, even though he lost the ability to speak by the time production began. For Moore, it was simply a matter of developing a different sort of communication (Glatzer now uses an iPad to communicate) with the filmmaker.