Age is just a number for actress Naomi Watts. With her recent successful outings, St Vincent and Birdman, the 46-year-old again has our attention as the new once British Airways poster girl, looking hot in a retro swimsuit. Having just finished shooting Farren Blackburn’s Shut In, the doting parent, along with her partner Liev Schreiber, credits feeling young thanks to her sons-Alexander Pete (seven) and Samuel Kai (six) – who tell her ‘unfiltered’ things and make her laugh. Watts is now excited about her latest role as Cornelia opposite Ben Stiller, in Noah Baumbach’s comedy-drama While We’re Young and tells us more about it.
How did you relate to your character?
I think it’s very much a part of society and I don’t know that any woman could ever not think about that at some point – even making the choice not to do it and getting to the place of peace of choosing not to be a parent, there would have still been some struggle in between. It’s hard work being a mum so you’ve got to want it.
Describe Noah Baumbach’s world to us?
A great script to start with that’s pretty much flawless; his writing is really wonderful. The way he plays out each character with a unique voice is really impressive, and rhythmically his dialogue works. Every time you take on a new role, you’re trying to help find that voice and you add your own bits and piece along the way, but with Noah it’s already done.
What was your experience of 20s vs 40s?
I think whether you’ve got children or not you’re just more aware of others as you get out of your 20s. In your 20s-and these are generalisations, of course – I feel like I didn’t care about as many things or as many people, or even myself, as much. There’s more recklessness and more ruthlessness; you’re not as considerate of how things land with other people, I think.
Are you a hobo or a hipster?
Neither! The funny thing is that these people who pose themselves as this incredibly hip young couple turn out to be not as hip as they think they are. That’s what I love about it-this endless fascination with the youth culture is there in all of us and we’re fooled into believing they are so pure and that’s why we think they’re worth loving; that becomes the genesis of our crush on them and then we figure out they’re not as authentic as they promise.
Do you think the ambition when you’re 20 is the same as when you’re 40?
Tough question. I feel like personally I have more drive now than I did then, probably because I care more and also because I’ve reached the mid-life point; what haven’t I done? What do I need to squeeze in? And that fear of ‘is it going to go away?’ I think in my 20s I was just all about having fun.
Do you have some great moves in this film?
I have a bit of a frustrated dancer in me. I’ve always loved dance. I go for BBS-Body By Simone - it’s little mini dance routines and I am often the oldest person in the room although I forget that. I’m fairly fit. I’ve always loved to dance and keep fit but in the last six months, I feel like I cannot keep up any longer and my back starts to hurt. And I get angry and then I have to really learn to forgive myself.
Have you ever been seduced into joining something?
I have had moments of that but I am a very pragmatic person and I am not someone to lean into that. Possibly in my 20s, I could have landed in some version of that because I was perhaps a little lost, but it was almost like I felt I grew up when I was about 28. I feel pretty much the same. I get reminded when I look in mirrors that I am not.