Born in Massachusetts, Ann Dowd, 65, appeared in the films Lorenzo’s Oil and Philadelphia, and had various roles in the TV series Law & Order. She received award nominations for her performances in the 2012 film Compliance and the HBO series The Leftovers. Since 2017, she has played Aunt Lydia in the drama series The Handmaid’s Tale, winning an Emmy. Her more recent movies include Hereditary and Rebecca; her latest, Mass, is in cinemas and on Sky Cinema from January 20. She is married to actor Lawrence Arancio; they have three children and live in New York City.
Aside from a property, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought?
My children’s education.
What would your superpower be?
What makes you unhappy?
Chaos – too many things happening at once.
If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?
Who would play you in the film of your life?
My daughter Emily.
What is your most unappealing habit?
Who is your celebrity crush?
Clint Eastwood. I worked with him on Flags of Our Fathers.
Which book are you ashamed not to have read?
Anything by James Joyce. I should have read Plato: my husband’s read it all.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A surgeon. I studied pre-med in Holy Cross College for four years and then I went to acting school.
Would you choose fame or anonymity?
I would choose work and whatever comes with that.
What does love feel like?
It feels like all is possible.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“I’m sorry” and “I mean to say”.
What is the worst job you’ve done?
Trying to sell frozen food over the phone for a company called American Frozen Foods. It lasted about half an hour. I found myself telling people not to buy too much of it because it could go bad, and my supervisor said, “This job is probably not for you.”
If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I would try to be a little nicer to my teachers.
When’s the last time you changed your mind about something significant?
Deciding, senior year in college, to be an actress, not a doctor.
What would you like to leave your children?
A legacy of love and kindness, and a close relationship with the truth.
What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
Leading with joy.
What has been your closest brush with the law?
Stealing lamb chops from a supermarket in Chicago. I was on a strange diet and I didn’t have the money, so … The staff were very nice and let me off with a warning. Mortifying, the whole thing.
How would you like to be remembered?
As a good person.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
That there’s always a way through.
What happens when we die?
Our next life.