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LENA OLIN / ACTRESS

For Lena Olin, playing with Gabriel Byrne as Claire Danes’ parents in writer-director Theresa Connelly’s “Polish Wedding” is the latest in a career of rich characters, including her Oscar-nomiated role in 1989’s “Enemies, a Love Story.” The actress, 43, lives in New York with her husband, director Lasse Hallstrom (“What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”), a son, 11, and daughter, 3. Next up: Roman Polanski’s “The Ninth Gate.”

AC-CENT-U-ATE: “This is the second time I’ve played a Polish immigrant, having done ‘Enemies, a Love Story.’ I’d forgotten about that, and working with the accent coach, she said, ‘Oh, you’re so natural.’ Then I remembered, but I didn’t tell her because I wanted her to think I was a good student.”

UNIVERSAL THEMES: “This is a film about family and very strong love and crazy people in Chicago, not about Polish people. [Connelly] is using her background and childhood. A lot of people said to her, ‘You shouldn’t call it “Polish Wedding,” because it’s really not about Polish people.’ But she kept the title.”

SHADOWS: “I do seem to end up doing dark stories. I’d like to do something lighter, a romantic comedy. I don’t get a lot of comedy scripts sent to me. When I do, it’s always dark comedy.”

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COVETED PROJECT: “My husband wrote a script that I really want to do--not a light comedy, but a wonderful script, called ‘Sebastian’s Love,’ about a mother and her son. He’s doing ‘The Cider House Rules’ now.”

HOME LIFE: “I stay totally out of his work. I don’t ask. I just see the film when it gets done. But I’m so full of what I do, I have to talk about everything. The director said this and I said that. He always says, ‘You’re totally right.’ I wonder if he will stay the same if I work with him.”

MATURE DECISIONS: “Being afraid to play a mother because you’ll be seen as not young anymore, that fear is really not adequate. Same as when I did ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being.’ Some think they have to be accepted as serious, so they can’t be sexy. That’s really crap to me.”

NAKED TRUTH: “If a serious actress takes her clothes off, it doesn’t change anything. Or if you go, ‘I must look nice in every shot,’ or, ‘I can’t seem mean,’ that’s so diminishing for actors.”

STAR QUALITY: “Claire Danes has already had her break, but she’s a wonderful actress. She has such a maturity for being so young. That maybe can get a little in her way, but it’s a great quality for her future.”


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