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Modern Luxury – Hawaii


Class Act

By Kai Andersen | Photo: Adam Jung | March 3, 2015

Before appearing in Fifty Shades of Grey in theaters nationwide, Oscar-winning talent Marcia Gay Harden celebrated the actor’s craft right in Honolulu.

The best of performers can electrify a room without saying a single word. And that’s exactly what a lucky few who met screen and stage luminary Marcia Gay Harden learned one afternoon at Halekulani during the most recent edition of Hawaii International Film Festival. In an era where celebrity can be awarded just on the basis of an Instagram account, Harden stood out as a powerful reminder of the enduring relevance of true talent. Not one to limit herself to a genre, she instead seeks out parts that bring out her best: “Roles that challenge me, roles that tell me to go deeper… those are the roles that I like.” No wonder, then, she calls Tony Kushner’s poignant Broadway hit Angels in America “one of the highlights of my entire life.” Then, there’s Pollock, the film in which she brought to life Lee Krasner, the artist and wife of modern-art phenom Jackson Pollock. That role deservedly earned her an Oscar.

While such accolades surely impress, the breadth of Harden’s talent became gloriously evident during her special film festival presentation at Doris Duke Theatre. Over the course of an hour, the audience witnessed a one-of-a-kind event rarely seen in Honolulu, fusing the personal insights of Inside the Actors Studio with the off-the-cuff bravura of an improvised monologue. (One couldn’t help but envy the local actors who attended her invite-only workshop that morning.) As Harden riffed on the lessons learned during her rich career, she expertly invoked a range of emotions and impressions, not excluding riotous laughter. Peppering her presentation with eclectic musings—think mirror neurons or the dramatic power of a consonant—Harden deftly brought the actor’s craft into the real world. “We are here to illuminate the human condition,” she told the grateful audience.

For those who missed the privileged experience, fret not: Harden is gracing the silver screen right at this moment as Dr. Grace Trevelyan Grey, the mother of the notorious male protagonist in the film adaption of the literary scandal Fifty Shades of Grey.

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