PALM SPRINGS, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 05: Michelle Williams attends the 34th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival's Film Awards Gala Arrivals at Palm Springs Convention Center on January 05, 2023 in Palm Springs, California. (Photo by David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Movies - TV
How Michelle Williams Prepared To Portray Steven Spielberg's Mother For The Fabelmans
It’s safe to say that Michelle Williams never shies away from a challenge and has knocked out amazing performances as Marilyn Monroe in “My Week With Marilyn” and as Gwen Verdon in “Fosse/Verdon.” However, playing the mom of one of cinema’s most celebrated directors in Steven Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans” is another challenge in itself.
Williams has played real-life characters in the past, but Leah Adler-Mitzi Fabelman wasn’t a public figure. The actress told Entertainment Weekly that Steven Spielberg assisted her with a “dossier” on his mother, and both actor and director were in agreement that they were not trying to create a “documentary” version of the character.
Williams said that Leah-Mitzi's musical side was what most compelled her when inhabiting her and said, “She so completely inhabited the space around her, in front of her, above her, behind her, which feels like the movement of a piece of music. She felt like she was always in motion and she was careening through these ecstatic states from high to low.”
The actress also uses “touchstones,” such as stored information on an iPad or a journal, to stay connected with her characters, and Mitzi was no different. She said, “I always keep a notebook. It's the same notebook, and every woman gets a new one. It's like my little briefcase or something that I take to work with me every day, just a place that I can keep going to and keep connected to.”