Actress Michelle Monaghan sat down with Working Mother to discuss her role as a U.S. Army mom in Fort Bliss and how she fully immerses herself in her acting roles. The mother-of-two, to daughter Willow, 6, and Tommy, 1 year old today, also reveals her top tips for overcoming fear.
On playing a U.S. Army mom in Fort Bliss: “It’s about a side of moms we very rarely hear of. There are more than 200,000 women in active military, and 40 percent of them are mothers. I play an Army medic, and I was fascinated by the idea of a woman’s passion to serve her country—but at what cost to her and her family? I wanted to understand from a psychological standpoint how someone could make one of the most difficult decisions I can imagine, which is to leave your family knowing you may never come back.”
On how she prepared for the role: “I made a research trip to Fort Bliss in El Paso and trained with Army medics to learn the basics of performing field surgery, how to insert an IV, how to evaluate a wounded soldier. Those became so essential for me to have technical confidence in the character I was playing. I wanted to make sure that every aspect of the character was honest. In fact, the script was so authentic that we got the Army’s full support. We were able to shoot at the base and they provided us with locations, vehicles, subject-matter experts and soldiers who were extras.”
On immersing herself in her role as a truck-driving mother in Trucker: ” Something I really appreciate about my job is that I get to learn a little about a lot of things. This was one of the greatest roles I’ve ever had. I loved being able to embed myself in that culture and the women who choose to ‘drive truck,’ as they say. They’re incredibly passionate about their job and have this incredible zest for life. Deciding to learn to drive a truck was the boldest thing I’ve ever done. I came so close to not doing it, but I wanted to do this role and that superseded my fear.”
On overcoming fear: “Remember you’re not alone. Those women who learned to drive trucks before me, they were scared, too, but now they do it every single day—and parallel park!”
For more from Michelle, please visit Working Mother…