Role model. Inspiration. Lifesaver. Legend. These were the kinds of terms thrown out to describe Demi Moore when she spoke to the press recently about her thought-provoking indie film The Joneses, which opens tomorrow. For her part, she humbly deflected all of them as they came her way.
“I certainly don’t ever even think of myself in terms of that word – a legend,” she said. “No matter what, throughout a career if you’re fortunate enough to have one that spans a long time, there’s going to be some crap mixed in with the good stuff. So you just hope that with the overall effort you’ve been true to yourself. At the end of the day, I hope what I leave behind has been authentic and honest and, in some way, that I can keep trying to give back more than I’ve been given.”
How about inspiration and role model for older women? “I don’t know if there’s any particular secret,” she admits of how amazing she still looks, “but there’s one thing that I thought of recently. I think that laughter and smiling are the best antidotes to aging that you can possibly have.” It also helps to not even think of yourself in adult terms. “n general, I pretty much think of myself still being about five,” she laughed. “Maybe that’s why my Twitter picture is of me at five. That’s how I feel. I’m honored if I could inspire somebody else. I’m just still trying to figure it all out myself.”
The “lifesaver” label is a little harder to shrug off, considering how good she’s become at preventing suicides via Twitter. But Demi certainly downplayed that as well. “I feel like when you’re given a platform to have a voice, that just naturally comes with responsibility,” she noted. “To say that I saved a life is pretty huge, but I feel that although it’s in the virtual world, my response was just a human response. But what’s amazing about the use of social media is the ability to put out a call to action and the enormous response and people’s desire to care. It really does show that we have a collective consciousness, that we do care about one another as we see such destruction amongst humanity. So it’s a powerful tool and I think you need to find ways to inspire, educate, entertain, but most importantly, just find a way to connect with one another.”
There’s an element of that need for connection that permeates Derrick Borte’s The Joneses where she stars with David Duchovny, Amber Heard and Ben Hollingsworth as an attractive and seemingly perfect new family in an affluent suburb. Behind closed doors, however, it turns out they’re actually a professional sales team hired to advertise a particular lifestyle full of high-end consumer goods. Yet even within this incredibly cynical operation, the Joneses can’t deny their needs to find personal relationships.
The concept has quite a resonant parallel to the lives of celebrities in our obsessive culture as well, and Moore saw that right away. “It was very relatable when I read the script. People send things to us in hopes that you are seen with it or photographed, and that is, in fact, stealth marketing. I think what was so brilliant in Derrick’s script is that he took what we all could relate to just right outside of the box but not so far that you don’t stop and say ‘that’s actually really quite possible.’”
Of course, she’s not going to go so far as to vilify the lifestyle of fame and fortune. “There’s nothing wrong with the desire, wanting and having nice things,” she noted. “It’s when you place that as a measure of the value of ourselves that it goes askew. In the case of the film, it goes to the point of leveraging your entire life. I feel like I have the fortune of privilege, and particularly as it relates to my children, I’ve always really tried to keep a positive perspective on what’s valuable, and the importance of restricting that immediate gratification, and most importantly, who you are isn’t the stuff you have.”
Moore believes the career choices she makes now are reflective of what she really values. “In July, I’m going to do a film with Miley Cyrus and the director Lisa Azuelos. It’s a remake of a French film that is fantastic by the same director called LOL that I’m really excited about. You just want good material. You want to do something good and interesting, and for me, things like The Joneses, which I felt from the moment I read the script that this was just smart and thought-provoking and relevant and entertaining. We all just want to find good material. Good, smart, funny and hopefully with people you have a great time with. At the end of our lives, what we’re going to remember are the experiences we share with one another, not the stuff.”