It doesn't seem that commercial success guides you in choosing your roles.
I don't know what's commercial and what isn't. If I could read a script and say, "Wow, this is going to
make $150 million," I'd probably do it. But I don't really have a clue. I base my decisions on what I
like - parts like the teacher in Dangerous Minds, which I think my kids will be proud of. It's really
not any more calculated than that.

What drew you to A Thousand Acres?
I was blown away by the novel. I had a really visceral response, particularly to the character of
Rose. She's the eldest of three sisters, just as I am in real life.

It couldn't have been easy to play suffering, emotionally unstable character like Rose.
Yeah, I didn't enjoy it. From the day I started it, I couldn't wait for the movie to end.
The only part that was truly a joy was acting with Jessica Lange. I don't think I've ever
had such an effortless experience with another actor. Sometimes, the greatest performers
aren't necessarily the most fun to work with, because they're more into what they're doing.
But Jessica was totally responsive. It was really like waltzing with her, even in those difficult
scenes that sometimes took a couple of days to shoot - it was really kind of like doing a dance.

But the rest of it was torture?
I just felt bottled up and trapped. Normally in a film, you might have one or two scenes you have
some anxiety about doing. Every scene in the movie was like that for me. There just didn't seem
to be any release, because as soon you would get through one emotional trauma, there would be
another looming ahead.

How did your husband react to the film?
He didn't see it with me; he went to a separate screening. Afterward, he didn't call me - two hours
went by. I couldn't stand it, so I called him and asked, "Were you going to call me?" And he said, "I
really needed some time. I was upset because you're my wife, and it was hard for me to watch you
suffering." But he also found it very moving. I think if A Thousand Acres is moving, it's successful.
If it's emotionally provoking, it's successful.

Let's do a little flashback and talk about some of your other films. When you did The Fabulous Baker Boys,
did you know it would turn you into a sex symbol?
I remember it was the first time in so long that I allowed myself to be really sexual - to express myself
in that seductive way on film. It was very liberating to play Susie Diamond, because I had kind of shied
away from that overt sexuality for a long time. It was fun. I remember saying to myself, Well, I've proved
I can do serious work. I made a conscious decision to stay away from roles where I was the "pretty one."
Now, some time has passed, and I don't have to worry about being sexy and its being taken wrong. I
feel I can kind of do whatever I want.

What about Dangerous Liaisons? You got a lot of praise for your performance.
That was actually a really good lesson for me. It was kind of a risk at that time to do that movie. I had
been offered another movie that seemed more of a sure bet, but I went with Dangerous Liaisons because
it was really the best script. It was probably the most emotionally wrenching character I had done onscreen
at that point. But it was a great role, and I learned the importance of going with what you're afraid of - you
can get rewarded for that.

Another unique, odd, wonderful role for you was in Love Field.
I really heard the voice of that character when I was reading the script. It was late at night, I was in bed,
and I was just laughing out loud. I could see her. Sometimes when you read a script, your heart literally
starts to race, and that was the time for me.

What did you take away from The Witches of Eastwick?
Don't ever start a movie without a finished script.

How about Up Close and Personal?
I learned how hard your job is as a reporter. It isn't as easy as it looks. People say that about my
work, too. They think what I do looks easy: "Well how hard could it be - learn some lines, then get up
and speak them." But a lot more goes into acting, and the same is true of being a reporter.

Tell me about it. And as long as we're divulging state secrets, tell me about The Russia House.
Sean Connery was wonderful, but it'll be a long time before I go back to the Eastern Bloc. Conditions over
there were so challenging. It's totally changed now, but we had just left when the Berlin Wall came down.

And Grease 2?
A lesson in humility!

Is there a lesson in your marriage? How do you and David pursue separate high-profile careers and still find
time for each other?
It's not easy. You really have to schedule it in. It doesn't happen spontaneously. We have date night, you know.
We go out Saturday night, and we have a date. I look forward to date night all week. I see couples who don't
do that, and they kind of use their kids to avoid each other. After you do that long enough, it gets too hard to stop.
So, I think the longer you're married, the more important date night is.

Being a movie star and a mother is a juggling act, isn't it?
I learn as I go along, and I think I get better at learning when I can delegate and when I can't. It's just getting
those scales to balance. Something comes along, and there goes the scales, and you have to readjust.

Claudia Rose is four, and John is two. As your kids get older, is it more difficult or more rewarding?
Well, first of all, it's so much harder than you can imagine and so much more delightful than you ever
imagined. Truly. I do think I'm a better parent because I'm able to do what I love. I think it makes me a
more balanced person, which makes me a better mother and role model for my daughter.

Does being a parent influence your choice of film roles?
Probably, but it's not that every movie I make now has to be politically correct or make some kind of
big social statement. I just want to make responsible choices. I just don't want to be embarrassed by my
choices, so at the end, when I'm not around anymore, my kids can look at my body of work and say,
"She wasn't here that day, but look what she was doing. I'm really proud of her. My mom did that."
I don't want them to go to school and have kids go, "Ewww, your mom was in that terrible movie."
And have them come home and say, "Mom, why did you do that?"