"She had so little and achieved so much," Moore tells The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith about her character. "Without any kind of grumblings, with a full appreciation of what she had every day and a real enjoyment of her life."
The four-time Academy Award nominee ("Far From Heaven," "The Hours," "The End of the Affair," "Boogie Nights") plays Evelyn Ryan. The film is based on the book of the same name, written by Terry Ryan one of the middle children. And all of the children are still alive.
"They were all on the set at various times, and are wonderful people," Moore notes. "I think that is her greatest tribute. She raised these incredibly loving, smart, generous, kind children, who were so excited to be there, and so glad to talk about their mother, and so happy to celebrate her memory. It's a wonderful legacy to have something like that."
The devoted mother and housewife used her self-described "knack for words" to keep her struggling family afloat.
"It spans a 10-year period from about, like, 1955 to about 1965," Moore explains. "Women didn't receive the same kind of education. You weren't expected to have a job. Birth control was not legal until the early '60s."
Her husband is played by Oscar nominee Woody Harrelson ("The People vs. Larry Flynt"). "He was an alcoholic," Moore says. "He basically drank his paycheck, which was meager. He was a machinist. When you have all those children, it doesn't go very far. So she found a way. She, at heart, was a writer, I think, and wanted to be a journalist and then got married and having children. She started entering these contests. At the time there were these jingle and slogan contests."
And she won unbelievable amounts of money. Moore says, "She won lots of stuff. She'd win these prizes. What she didn't want to keep, she'd sell. She won a trip to Switzerland, she'd sell it and put money toward the mortgage."
One of the funniest things Terry Ryan wrote is not in the film, Moore notes, but "the minute her mother would sit down, she'd fall asleep. I thought that was perfect! She's on her feet all day, doing the laundry, doing whatever and writing this stuff. She said they'd sit down, she'd just like go right out."
The last time Moore was on the big screen, she played a mother trying to find her missing son in the hit thriller "The Forgotten."
Some Facts About Julianne Moore
- Moore was born Julie Anne Smith in Boston, Mass., on Dec. 3, 1960.
- She was graduated from the American High School in Frankfurt, Germany.
- Moore attended Boston University, where she began her career on stage.
- In 1985, Moore caught her first break when she was cast as Frannie Hughes on the popular CBS daytime drama "As the World Turns"; it's the same show that spawned the careers of Marissa Tomei and Meg Ryan.
- In 1988, Moore received a Daytime Emmy Award for her role in "As the World Turns."
- In 1990, Moore landed her first film role as a mummy's victim in "Tales From the Darkside: The Movie."
- In 1992, Moore played the career-driven real estate agent friend of a new mom in the surprise box-office hit thriller, "The Hand the Rocks the Cradle."
- In 1993, Moore had roles in "The Fugitive and "Short Cuts."
- In 1995, the actress portrayed a housewife who develops allergies to everyday chemicals and fragrances in Todd Haynes' "Safe"; she played Hugh Grant's pregnant girlfriend in "Nine Months"; and she played an electronics expert targeted for death in "Assassins."
- In 1996, Moore co-starred in "Surviving Picasso."
- In 1997, Moore played the moody daughter of a highly dysfunctional family in the indie "The Myth of Fingerprints"; the actress played a paleontologist pursuing dinosaurs in Steven Spielberg's "The Lost World: Jurassic Park"; and picked up a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination as a drug-addicted porn star who plays mother to a ragtag film crew in Paul Thomas Anderson's "Boogie Nights."
- In 1998, Moore co-starred in "The Big Lebowski,"' and she had a role in the color remake of Hitchcock's 1960 classic "Psycho."
- In 1999, Moore was in five features: "Cookie's Fortune," "An Ideal Husband," "The End of the Affair," "A Map of the World" and "Magnolia."
- In 2001, Moore took over the role of FBI agent Clarice Starling in the horror feature "Hannibal"; she also co-starred in "Evolution" and "The Shipping News."
- In 2002, Moore starred in "Far From Heaven," and co-starred with Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep in the ensemble "The Hours." The actress received Academy Award nominations for both films.
- In 2003, she married director and screenwriter Bart Freundlich, who directed her in 1997's "The Myth of Fingerprints." She has been with him since 1996. Her son Caleb Freundlich was born in 1997, and her daughter Liv Helen Freundlich was born in 2002.
- In 2004, she appeared with Pierce Brosnan in "Laws Of Attraction".
- Her upcoming films include "Freedomland," for director Joe Roth, and "Trust the Man," with Maggie Gyllenhaal and David Duchovny, under the direction of Moore's husband, Bart Freundlich.