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Robin Wright Talks About Saying No to Hollywood Stardom

August 11, 2014

Cary Elwes and Robin Wright in 1987’s The Princess Bride

In her new movie The Congress (on VOD now and hitting select theaters on Aug. 29), Robin Wright plays an aging movie actress named…Robin Wright. The cinematic version of Robin Wright is an almost-star who shut the door on fame and fortune earlier in her career. Though the trippy, partially animated sci-fi movie — directed by Waltz With Bashir's Ari Folman — is most definitely fictional, there's some intriguing echoes with Wright's actual career. Beloved for iconic performances in Forrest Gump and The Princess Bride, the 48-year-old star of the Netflix series House of Cards is almost legendary for the movies she’s turned down. Among her reported declines: a pantheon of late ’80s and early ’90s hits like Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Batman Forever, The Firm, Born on the Fourth of July, and Jurassic Park.

The actress has been open about the ways her chosen path veered off the A-list. “They wanted to make me America’s sweetheart,” she said in an interview recently published on The Guardian. “They wanted to make me the next big ingénue, the studio bosses behind the curtain. But what happened was that I turned down a lot of movies that simply didn’t blow my dress up. Plus I was too busy being a mom at the time.” Indeed she reportedly dropped out of Robin Hood because of her first pregnancy with husband-to-be Sean Penn (they later divorced in 2010) and spent much of the intervening years raising her two kids in northern California.

Wright and Tom Hanks in 1994’s Forrest Gump

As Wright told The Guardian, it wasn’t only movies that she was turning down. “I think it came right after Forrest Gump, when I turned down the cover of Vanity Fair,” she said. “That was blasphemy. You just don’t do that. And I remember, after that, not getting a couple of movies that I really wanted to do. And I was told, ‘Well, you know, if you had done Vanity Fair it might have been different.’ It was like I’d made this big mistake.”

Wright at an AFI Awards luncheon in January

Wright certainly doesn’t seem to regret her decisions. She’s won a Golden Globe Award and nabbed an Emmy nomination for her role as the scheming political wife in House of Cards and has been busy with juicy supporting roles like the one in A Most Wanted Man, the spy drama in theaters now. And while her character in The Congress has a digital likeness created that stays young forever, Wright sounds like she has no such desires. As she told The Guardian: “You couldn’t pay me enough money to go back to being 20. So many tears, what a nightmare it was. It’s much better being older.”

Photo credits: Everett