Interview with Gwyneth Paltrow

On Iron Man 3, Wearing The Iron Man Suit, Turning 40, Raising Her Children, Being Dominant In Business, And Singing

By Francesca Orsini / The Interview Feed


“I really understand my place in the world and what I’m doing.”

This woman may be made of iron. Despite the chilly spring weather, Gwyneth Paltrow is wearing a white summer dress with half-open back, tied at the waist with a slightly kinky black strap. She seems unfazed by the breakneck interview and conference schedule that does not leave much time to breathe. Her demeanor is gracious as ever, the glance of her bright blue eyes alert, her posture impeccable. So it is only logical that she gets to wear the suit of the eponymous hero in the third Iron Man movie. Still, in real life, it is other battlegrounds that the 40-year-old is proving herself, first and foremost the education of her children.


Question (Q): How was it turning 40 last year?
Gwyneth Paltrow (GP): It was great. It’s been amazing. I really took stock in my life, and I feel really grateful. I can’t imagine my kids won’t do something in music, they are so inclined that way. It’s a hard job to be successful at and maintain success, but it’s also a worthwhile pursuit.

Q: Have you personally changed since the first Iron Man movie?
(GP): I lived a lot of days, raised my kids. I don’t feel my life is transformed since I started the movies. But we have all grown up a bit. But playing Pepper has been this amazing thing to keep going back to. I always look forward to when it’s time to do these movies, because it’s a really good professional experience.

Q: What is the major difference between doing a franchise that you keep coming back to or a movie that’s completely fresh and new?
(GP): It makes it so easy. You played the character before, it does not require a lot of research or thought, because I have done that. The best way to know a character is to play her, and I have played her so many times. It’s a very easy process. In every movie, there is some change and growth, and that’s always the interesting part to explore. 

Q: Pepper Potts can be quite dominant. Are you personally dominant in a relationship?
(GP): I would not say that. In my private professional life —I do a couple of other businesses that I head up. I am dominant in those businesses, like my website. But in a personal way, I am very equal with the people that I relate to. My children are dominant over me.

Q: You do get to wear the Iron Man suit in the movie — do you think it’s time for Iron Woman?
(GP): In this film, I get to do that; it was really fun for me. We had talked about Pepper doing that for a couple of movies, and so in this movie when I realized that I was going to wear the suit, I was thrilled. It’s such a boy thing to do; it’s such an iconic thing. It was great. I really enjoyed being in the suit and doing all the action. It was a nice departure for Pepper.

Q: Do you take yourself always seriously? Can you laugh about yourself?
(GP): Yes, of course. I have a real routine with my kids, I’m a mom. We are always joking around. And in my professional life, too. I am very dedicated, and I work very, very hard. But I also think it’s important to bring a certain levity, to have fun and make fun of yourself and make jokes.

Q: You come for a family of actors and artists. Has there ever been a point where you wished for a “regular“ family life that had nothing to do with the arts?
(GP): I was really lucky, because my education was very traditional and academic. And then my home life, there were a lot of artists. My parents really believed in traditional education, so I think I got the best of both. We are raising the kids in a similar way, a more traditional education. But at home, they get all the free thinking, art and music.

Q: Is there anything that upsets you? Because you seem always so well-balanced…
(GP): Nothing external upsets me. If something in my personal life, if, God forbid, something is going on with my children or my husband, then I feel empathy and upsetness there. But not as a public person. I really understand my place in the world and what I’m doing, and I do everything with 100 per cent authenticity and all my heart. I understand especially when I talk about things that may be slightly cutting edge — it’s difficult for people to change or think: I could really change my life or the way I feel with certain things.  I understand why people push back, because it’s so much easier to stay in a victim state-of-mind.

Q: You also ventured into singing with Glee, you even performed on stage. Did you go on tour with them?
(GP): I did just one for their movie.

Q: Do you want to do more singing in the future? A record perhaps? (GP): I would do singing attached to a film. I did a country music movie that I loved doing. I loved doing the music for that. I am developing a musical movie right now. I would not make my own record, but I would definitely keep doing musicals. 

Q: Are you a techie? Do you e-mail? Are you on Facebook, Twitter etc.?
(GP): I don’t Facebook. I tweet every once in a while. But I am not such a social media person. But I definitely e-mail, because I work heavily on e-mail.

Q: Since you’re most of the time at home, do you miss being on a set every once in a while?
(GP): No. I work enough, so I am satisfied. I find one hopefully great thing to do every year. I do that, and that’s perfect. I enjoy being home and raising my children myself.

Q: Would you recommend to women to cut back on their work for their kids?
(GP): It’s a personal thing. The best thing I can recommend to mothers is to support other mothers and not judge them for the choices they make. We are all trying to do so much. I feel irate when I see people judging mothers for the choices they make or don’t make. I feel like we are all in it together and we should support each other.

Q: Can you remember when your kids realized what you were doing as a job?
(GP): I just had this incident where we were going to see Justin Bieber, and my son put together that Justin Bieber or someone else might know who I am — like someone that he thinks is great, that might know who I am from Iron Man. It’s recent for him where he goes, “Oh, you are in movies.” They didn’t make that connection for a while. HBM

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