Women we love: Sarah Paulson – an actress who definitely has our attention
Sarah Paulson has revealed that she was determined to land a key role in the film adaptation of The Goldfinch – the novel by Donna Tartt.
It was a novel that Paulson has said that she was obsessed with, but she knew she wouldn’t be the director’s first choice when it came to casting the role of Xandra – the role that Paulson wanted.
Donna Tartt’s novel won the Pulitzer Prize in 2014. The film adaptation is directed by John Crowley.
“I’d read it years ago, when it first came out…” Paulson told the BBC. “I just remember saying out loud – ‘If they make a movie of this, I would love to play Xandra’. I wasn’t the choice of John Crowley at the beginning. I think he had a particular image in mind, which is the image you see in the movie, which is not how I usually present.”
Xandra – Paulson’s character in The Goldfinch – is the gum-chewing, scantily-clad, spray-tanned girlfriend of protagonist Theo’s father. It’s a type of character that we haven’t really seen Paulson tackle before.
“I hired someone to put a wig on my head, I got a spray tan…” explained Paulson, talking about how she prepared for the audition. “I brought cigarettes into my audition, spent an hour in my car screaming to make my voice have a bit of a rasp – because that’s how Donna Tartt describes Xandra’s speaking voice. I did all that and made the tape. They weren’t expecting that. Sometimes I think you have to change your physical appearance.”
The film had its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, and has had mixed reviews.
Paulson was born in 1974 in Tampa, Florida.
After her parents’ separation – when Paulson was five – she relocated with her mother and sister to Maine, then to New York City.
After high school, Paulson studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Paulson has been working solidly since high school – across theatre, television, and film.
Although she had already been nominated for a number of awards and was widely respected in the industry, it was probably her 2011 appearance in American Horror Story that brought Paulson to a wider recognition as an actress to watch. Paulson continued with the American Horror Story franchise, playing key roles and was seen as a big part of the success of that series.
In 2015, Paulson appeared in the film Carol by Todd Haynes. Paulson played the role of Abby Gerhard – the close friend of Carol, played by Cate Blanchett.
Beginning in February 2016, Paulson starred in the true crime anthology series American Crime Story, The People v. O.J. Simpson, portraying prosecutor Marcia Clark. She received widespread praise for her performance and won various awards, including a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film.
Paulson’s next major film role was as part of the all-female ensemble in the heist film Ocean’s 8, released in 2018. Followed by Bird Box, released later that same year.
Paulson spoke publicly about her sexuality in 2013. Paulson talked about dating both women and men, and having had serious relationships with both women and men.
Since early 2015, Paulson has been in a relationship with actress Holland Taylor.