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After scoring an Oscar nomination for last year's Blue Valentine, Michelle Williams is once again getting awards buzz for her turn as Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn (in theaters Nov. 23). But in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the 31-year-old actress admits she considered quitting Hollywood altogether back in 2008.
"I wasn't sure if acting was the right place for me," she says. "Or if I was any good or liked what I was doing anymore."
The timing isn't surprising, considering Williams' former partner Heath Ledger died unexpectedly in January 2008, and none of her independent-film roles that year had the same level of impact as her award-winning performance in Brokeback Mountain.
Williams obviously isn't being melodramatic; she even told Newsweek earlier this year that she "often dreams of quitting."
But, as Williams reveals to The Hollywood Reporter, she felt her joy of acting return with the making of the marital drama Blue Valentine, costarring Ryan Gosling. The shoot became a form of therapy for the single mother.
"It brought me back to life and reminded me, brought me back to myself," she says.
The film was so critically acclaimed Williams was nominated for an Academy Award, and this year could bring her yet another awards season of accolades thanks to her nuanced portrayal of Ms. Monroe.
Williams herself has declared it a fitting tribute that Marilyn would have been proud of, and she says the film offered her the chance to prove she could inhabit such a beloved figure's persona.
"I think I became an adult making this movie. I've always been scared of myself somehow. Or apologetic or something," she tells the Los Angeles Times. "I just felt for a long time that I was grappling with something I couldn't quite master or understand. But I've been a parent for six years now. I have an amazing daughter (Matilda), and at some point in the last year, it dawned on me that has to have something to do with me. And I need to give myself a break."