The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Paltrow is back, sadder and wiser

London, Oct. 13 (Reuters): Gwyneth Paltrow is back.

The star of Shakespeare in Love and the upcoming literary drama Sylvia confesses she had lost the joy of acting after a decade in the celebrity spotlight.

But her father’s death, a stint on the London stage and her most challenging film role yet as doomed poet Sylvia Plath have brought a sadder, wiser Gwyneth back to the screen.

Expect her to appear in fewer films in the future, but in more challenging roles, like her tormented turn as Plath, she said.

“I spent my 20s just working back to back to back. I don’t even know how many films I did: I think, close to 30 in 10 years,” the 31-year-old actress said. “Then I took a year off when I was 29, and I sort of lost the joy. I lost the thread of why I was doing it.”

“I think also the whole celebrity part of it really just put a bad taste in my mouth, all the time,” said the former girlfriend of Brad Pitt and Ben Affleck, currently hounded by tabloids for her relationship with Coldplay rock star Chris Martin.

It took a role like that of Plath, who killed herself in 1963 and posthumously became a literary icon, to remind Paltrow “why I became an actor in the first place”.

“I think that the experience of playing her really changed me. It was so difficult and so harrowing, but I got so much back from it, that I thought: I really don’t want to waste my time doing things that are mediocre.”

It’s not as though she’s spent the last decade zooming around the galaxy blasting aliens, but does anybody remember her in the critically-panned stewardess comedy View From the Top' “I’d rather have two lines doing something really special than make a ton of money blowing things up, or pratfalls,” she said.

Does that mean no more zipping herself up inside a fat suit, like in the oddball gross-out comedy Shallow Hal'

“Probably. I’m glad I’ve done everything I’ve done because it’s all part of who I am and all part of my experience, but I have changed the way I see things.”

Parents Bruce Paltrow and Blythe Danner, film producer and actress, raised Gwyneth to assume she could “do anything”, she says. Danner plays Plath’s mother in Sylvia.

But it was Bruce’s death from cancer a year ago that Gwyneth says gave her the sadness to play Plath and changed her career plans, too. “I thought, from now on I want to do things that are worth my time. Because we are all dying.... Get something out of your life and make your life worth something.”

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