Kathy Bates finally felt like she had “hit the big time” when she worked with Clint Eastwood on Richard Jewell.
The 71-year-old actress, who began her career in Hollywood back in 1970, told Deadline that despite a long and successful career, she only felt like she’d “hit the big time” when she got the chance to work with the Oscar-winning director.
“I said to Clint, ‘I’ve been doing this for 50 years, but I finally feel like I hit the big time,’” she recalled. “And I don’t mean with all the marching bands and the confetti, I mean, working with another incredible director, and doing a story that matters.”
Bates, who won an Oscar in 1990 for her terrifying portrayal of obsessed fan Annie Wilkes in Misery, confessed that despite working with filmmakers such as Rob Reiner, James Cameron and Sam Mendes, she was starstruck and “extremely nervous” when meeting Eastwood.
Recalling her first-ever encounter with the 89-year-old, Bates said she asked him why he wanted to make a movie about Richard Jewell, the security guard who was wrongly accused of planting a bomb at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.
“At first he looked up with those eyes and I thought, ‘Oh God, here we go.’ Then he said, ‘Well, I think it’s a movie I’d like to see.’ He was so angry at how Richard had been treated. He felt this was an American tragedy, and that it needed to be told,” she explained.
Bates, who plays Jewell’s mother Bobi in the movie, insisted that her portrayal was not an impersonation, but was inspired by her real-life character.
“We sat and talked for two or three hours and I recorded her voice,” she shared. “I had to, as an actor, create a character of Bobi, otherwise it would have been robotic. You can’t just go in and try to mimic somebody.”
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