Patricia Clarkson Takes the Wheel


It is unmistakably Patricia Clarkson on the phone, that husky, honeyed purr and laugh too distinctive not to recognize.

"I'm a New Orleans native, so I know 100-percent humidity," she says, as she discusses shooting her latest film, Learning to Drive. "But filming in that car -- with the windows up in the middle of summer -- that was brutal. And I wasn't in a turban and long pants, like Sir Ben. I was lucky."

"Sir Ben" is Ben Kingsley, her co-star in Isabel Coixet's film, Learning to Drive, which has been building audiences each time it expands its run since it opened in mid-August. Clarkson plays a literary critic whose husband leaves her for another woman; a New Yorker who is reliant on others for transportation, she takes her mobility into her own hands and signs up for behind-the-wheel training with a Sikh emigre played by Kingsley. Life lessons ensue.

"She's a character who's of my generation, and we have had it all," Clarkson, 55, says. "We've taken huge strides. We have jobs and partners and spouses and children. I mean, I have a career and a very good life. But sometimes we forget to look up and don't realize what we have.

This interview continues on my website.