Naomi Watts is all over film and TV these days, with a high-profile role in David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks” revival and starring as an out-of-control therapist in the critically acclaimed Netflix series “Gypsy”, but in a revealing new interview with The Guardian she admits to going through a rough period where she had difficulty landing roles.
“I wasn’t getting parts. I was giving myself away. My soul was being destroyed. I was never able to walk in a room and own it by being me,” she says, crediting Lynch with altering her course.
“David changed that,” she adds. “It was having someone actually make eye contact, ask questions he was truly interested in, take the time to unveil some layers.”
Watts also opens up about a childhood tragedy that shaped her early years, when her father — a sound engineer working for Pink Floyd — died of a heroin overdose at age 31 when she was just seven.
In fact, she tells The Guardian that it was only recently that she was able to see a clear photo of her father, given to her by a fan of the iconic rock band.
“You’ve got to understand, I’ve got maybe three photos of my dad, and maybe two memories,” Watts explains. “And all of the photos of him are either out of focus or he’s a tiny speck in the background.”
After her father’s passing, Pink Floyd helped her and her mother financially during that difficult time.
“When he died, my dad hadn’t saved money, and I guess my mum didn’t have any,” she said. “So they, the band, very kindly… ‘Trust fund’ doesn’t sound right at all. I think they gave my mum a few thousand dollars to help get things under way. A lump sum, to help. It was kind that they did that.”
Those early years were not easy for the youngster. “I moved around a lot when I was a kid,” she says. “I mean, I went to nine different schools in England. Started off in Kent. Moved to Cambridge for a little while. We lived in Norfolk, we lived in Suffolk, in Wales – that was where my grandparents were. So, a lot of moving, a lot of new schools, a lot of reinventing myself. ‘How do I get into that group? How do I get accepted? Who should I be? Who do you want me to be?’ That’s part of where the ‘Gypsy’ world taps into my life, that constant reinvention.”
“I’ve definitely done periods of time in a therapist’s office. Got some proper help at points of crisis,” she says, revealing that she actually underwent intense therapy in preparation for her “Gypsy” role.
“Four hundred dollars an hour,” she tells The Guardian. But did she send the bill to Netflix?
“I should have, right?” she says with a quiet laugh. “But then, what they say is, you don’t get anything out of it for yourself if you’re not the one paying.”