"Somebody like Albert, who is not used to real human contact, and been invisible for 30 years, talks to herself, and that's about it," she says. "It's always fascinating to me, as an actress, to try to figure out what those private thoughts are, and whatever else is going on, no matter what is perceived by the world.
"Albert Nobbs talks about isolation and survival, and the types of connections that people need in order to lead a fulfilling life. It's an unexpected way to tell what I think is a very deeply human story."
In the film, Albert confides her secret to just one person — a hotel handyman who, it turns out, is likewise a woman who has disguised herself as a man in order to make her way in the world. She's played by Janet McTeer, who like Close received an Oscar nomination for the film.
"Glenn spent 15 years trying to bring Albert Nobbs to the screen," McTeer said. The magic of her performance, she added, came in "how she places us on both sides of Albert's curtain of secrecy. We witness Albert's assured impersonation of a painfully reserved little man — and also her perpetual fear of discovery."
Although the broad outline of Albert Nobbs' story seems like the recipe for a sad film, "There's a lot of unexpected humor," says Close. "And I also think that with the film's epilogue people understand that Albert has not lived in vain, that people will be saved and connections will be made because she existed.
"The film is about someone who many of us would say has a very little dream. But one thing this journey has taught me: There is no such thing as a little dream."
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