Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

TV Makes De Mornay an Ex-Con She Stars in `Getting Out' by Playwright Marsha Norman

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

TV Makes De Mornay an Ex-Con She Stars in `Getting Out' by Playwright Marsha Norman

Article excerpt

SHE has played everything from the vamp of Tom Cruise to the nanny from hell, and now the untypable Rebecca de Mornay moves to TV as a Georgia ex-con struggling to get a life.

"Getting Out" (8 p.m. Monday on Channel 2) appears on the "ABC Premiere Showcase" with a script written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Marsha Norman (" 'night, Mother"). Ellen Burstyn, almost unrecognizable in a frizzy wig, appears as de Mornay's trashy cab-driving mother.

As Arlene Holsclaw, de Mornay confronts a wide range of emotions. Convicted of theft and murder, she attempts escape and fails, gives birth in prison, emerges eight years later to face hostility from her mother, bureaucrats and employers, and deals with frustration in trying to recover her son.

Why turn to TV when her film career is alive and well?

"Marsha Norman is one of America's greatest playwrights," de Mornay replies. "Besides that, I felt like the character of Arlene was a real-life person. It felt like one of those true-life stories, even though it wasn't.

"She seemed like one of those people who have no voice in our society. I was able to speak for the people who have no voice. We get to see them on street corners and hear about them vaguely in shelters somewhere. It was an honor. She's an All-American girl." A rueful chuckle.

De Mornay worked hard on the accent, which she describes as Appalachia-transported-to-Georgia. She already had learned Appalachian from her good friend, Kentuckian Harry Dean Stanton, for a role that didn't happen. She had further coaching from a cast member on the Georgia location.

"That was the only preparation I had for the part," she said. "There was no formal rehearsal at all. But I didn't feel the need for any. I just felt this woman, and I knew as long as I had the accent, the mentality would be there. I basically stayed in the accent the entire time shooting the film - on-camera, off-camera, even talking to my friends back home." Another chuckle.

De Mornay has a light, musical laugh that comes easily. She is self-assured enough to appear for an interview at her publicist's office sans makeup, her blonde hair styled naturally. …

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