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Why ‘Shakespeare in Love’ was ‘disorienting’ for Gwyneth Paltrow

After a whirlwind of a career after 1998′s ‘Shakespeare in Love’, Gwyneth Paltrow looked back on that time in her life.

After a whirlwind of a career after 1998’s ‘Shakespeare in Love’, Gwyneth Paltrow looked back on that time in her life.
Kevin MazurWireImage

‘Shakespeare in Love’, which opened in theaters in early December 1998 just days after screening to critics, became the sleeper hit of the awards season that year.

The 1998 period romantic comedy grossed nearly $300 million worldwide — a staggering achievement for an independent movie. However, Gwyneth Paltrow, who was 26 at the time, says the film’s success was startling for her.

“[When] you win the biggest prize, like, what are you supposed to do? And where are you supposed to go?” Paltrow said on the ‘Call Her Daddy’ podcast about her Academy Award for Best Actress for her leading role as Viola de Lesseps.

“It was hard, the amount of attention that you receive on a night like that and the weeks following.

She called the experience “disorienting”, adding: “I was like, ‘This is crazy. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know which way is up.’ It was a lot.

“Not that I would give it back or anything. It was an amazing experience, but it kind of called a lot of things into question for me.”

She also explained how the British press seemed to turn on her after her win.

“I felt a real pivot on that night because I felt like up until that moment, everybody was kind of rooting for me in a way,” said Paltrow. “And then when I won, it was like too much, and I could feel a real turn.”

Paltrow has spoken about the film in the past

This isn’t the first time Paltrow has spoken about how things never felt the same after making ‘Shakespeare in Love’.

While speaking with Variety in 2019, she said: “It just changed my life. I don’t think it ever went back to normal.”

She even revealed she originally turned down the initial offer to appear in ‘Shakespeare in Love’.

“The movie had many iterations,” she said. “Julia Roberts was going to do it for a long time, and then that version fell apart. It ended up in Miramax, and I was the first person they offered it to.

“I was in the middle of a terrible breakup” — with Brad Pitt — “and the idea of going to England and being far from home just seemed …I didn’t even read it. I was just like, ‘I can’t read anything right now. I’m having a really hard time.”


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