The actress sat down to discuss her award-worthy performance as an Army veteran and single mother in Fort Bliss and the difficulties of being a woman in Hollywood.
There is, rather unfortunately, a preponderance of evidence that numerous Hollywood stars were generated in a farcical, fame-seeking incubator buried beneath Mount Lee. When you speak to them, they speak at you, regurgitating vacuous mini-monologues about, say, “the great script” or “the amazing time” they had making their latest pile of processed, gold-plated dung. Michelle Monaghan is, thankfully, not one of those people.
Perhaps it’s her small-town Midwest upbringing, emerging from the cornfields of Winthrop, Iowa—population 850—or the knowledge imparted by her blue-collar parents (her mother ran a day care center out of the family home and her father was a factory worker), but Monaghan feels, well, real. And not in the J. Lo featuring Ja Rule sense. She also, as The New York Times’ Manohla Dargis recently put it, is “one of those performers you’re always happy to see” who “radiates intelligence.” For all these reasons and more, the 38-year-old actress has become one of the premier portrayers of working-class women onscreen. Take her first big role as Kimberly Woods, a “Teach For America” instructor in over her head on the Fox drama Boston Public; or as a miner opposite Charlize Theron in North Country; her Bahstin private investigator in search of a missing girl in Gone Baby Gone; the vodka-swilling long-haul truck driver in Trucker.