Remember Cathy Moriarty? She was being touted as a Bronx madonna for her role as Robert De Niro’s love in “Raging Bull.” N.Y. Times’ Vincent Canby called her “one of the film finds of the decade.” She was nominated for a supporting Oscar and her future seemed bright.
Seven years and one film (“Neighbors”) later, she’s back in writer-director Donald Cammell’s “White of the Eye” (opening early next year). But although she told us “I’m very picky,” her absence is more than a matter of finding a “good role.”
In 1982, she and her husband were passengers in a car that was rear-ended. “I woke up in the hospital,” she recalled. “I spent months in therapy and recuperation but the pain would keep coming back. You think, ‘I’m young, I’ll get better.’ But finally I had to face the fact that the only way things would improve was to undergo major back surgery.”
Months of convalescence followed. But when she was ready to go back to work, the scripts being offered didn’t interest her. That is, until Robert Towne’s “The Two Jakes” with Jack Nicholson. “It was one sequel that lived up to the original,” said Moriarty. “We rehearsed for a month, everything was set and on the first day of filming (early 1985) the studio pulled the plug. I hope ‘Jakes’ can be revived. I’d do it in a minute.”
In “White of the Eye,” she plays the wife of a man (David Keith) suspected of murder. The $3-million indie production already has stirred positive critical response in England, where it’s been touted as this year’s “Blue Velvet.” (Cammell co-directed “Performance” with Nicolas Roeg and directed “Demon Seed,” which starred Julie Christie.)
Her “Eye” role, said Moriarty, “offers a wide range of emotions to play--fear, anger, love. That’s rare and it’s sad.”
Despite all her lost career time, she added, “I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on anything wonderful.”