Glenn Close

Offscreen, she's shy and doesn't cook rabbits.

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Illustration: Rob Kelly

There's something commanding—even ballbusting—about Glenn Close. On the stage, in movies and on TV, the actor has brought to life a veritable coven of strong, mysterious femmes, among them Norma Desmond, Cruella de Vil, Marquise de Merteuil and, of course, bunny boiler Alex Forrest. In the chilling new FX series Damages, she plays fearsome Patty Hewes, a manipulative litigator whose hands may or may not be clean. In real life, though, Close—who grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut, and now divides her time between Maine and New York—couldn't be more different, as we learned when she called us from the Upper West Side apartment she shares with her husband.

Is it true that you have the knife from Fatal Attraction hanging in your kitchen?

I do! On velvet. It's one of my prized possessions.

After that movie, did people treat you differently?

Well, I didn't get a lot of dates. [Laughs]

Did people keep their rabbits from you?

I think they kept all their pets from me! It's hard for me to say, really. I was busy raising my daughter as a single mom and it wasn't like I had a hot dating life, but I would think that it would give people pause. Men at least, not women necessarily.

Do you feel like people still react that way?

I've been told I can be intimidating, although that's the last thing that I personally feel. I feel like I'm an absolute wuss.

Really?

A reed blowing in the wind on shifting sands. [Laughs] I was morbidly shy when I was a kid and I still have big doses of that. My least favorite thing to do is to enter a room full of people who I don't know.

Kind of the opposite of your Damages character. What made you want to do the show?

The writing. A lot of times we sit around the table reading the next episode and you hear people going, "Oh my God."

The pilot is so intense.

Yeah, it's kind of shocking.

Do you like filming in New York?

I love it. I feel very at home here. And I like going on public transportation and seeing what everyone's doing, tuned out on their iPods.

Do you have one?

I do, but I always forget to juice up and I can never remember how to turn it on and off. [Laughs]

Are you going to get an iPhone?

I just got a new BlackBerry, so I don't know. Not for a while. I'll wait for this thing to break down.

Tell me, what is shoe golf?

Oh, shoe golf! How did you hear about shoe golf?!?

I read something about how you were auctioning off a night of bocce ball and shoe golf.

Yes! Yes, it's a game that my husband and his brothers invented when they were little. We play it all summer long in Maine. Everyone gets a shoe that they can flip off their foot and, like, you have to hit a tree trunk and go over the fence and all the shoes fly across the road. You have a bunch of targets and whoever hits them in the least amount of flips wins.

Are you good?

It depends on what shoe I have. The other day I was down in New Jersey with my husband at a picnic and I won using a pair of wedged slip-on Prada summer shoes. I almost ruined the shoe, but I won!

Impressive. But not as impressive as mooning a whole restaurant in Los Angeles. Did you really do that?

Oh my God, yes, I did! It was when Woody Harrelson, Laura Dern and I were doing a play together in L.A. and we all went out to dinner one night and we were given a table on a balcony overlooking a restaurant. We had a couple of drinks and somebody dared me, which is not a good thing to do, and I did it.

How was it?

It was fabulous! I don't know how it was for the people below, but it was hysterical for the people above.

That's hilarious. Do you have a favorite New York place?

Central Park. I have these two little dogs and you can have them off-leash between 9pm and 9am, so I try to get out with them before 9am to give them a good run.

What are their names?

Jake and Bill.

I love dogs with human names!

It's actually William Hamilton and Jacob Charles, but we call them Jake and Bill. My daughter named them. Jacob Charles just came out of her head, and William Hamilton, I think, was after Clinton and Alexander Hamilton, whom she was studying at the time.

Last names?

Close. But they go by their first names.

Damages premieres Tue 24 on FX.

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