CANNES, France (AP) — Julianne Moore sometimes identifies with the characters she plays but when it came to playing a bad mother in "What Maisie Knew," she couldn't relate.
In the recently released film, Moore portrays a rock-star mom going through a bitter divorce who's having trouble connecting to her 6-year-old daughter, Maisie.
The role couldn't have been farther from her heart. Moore, who has a 15-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter, said motherhood was something that came easily for her and a role she always craved since she was a little girl.
"I thought, 'I don't know if I will get married, but I do want to have children,'" Moore said in an interview on the opening day of the Cannes Film Festival. "I said, 'I'm going to have a boy and a girl.' You know, all those ridiculous fantasies that you have when you're 10 years old — for me, the fact that that came true, it's kind of unbelievable."
It's partly because of her devotion to her family that her time in Cannes was decidedly brief. She arrived Monday and was due to leave Thursday in time to see her son play guitar in his school jazz band and to be home for another event involving her daughter.
"I don't go away for long periods of time," she explained.
But the other reason for her short stay was because she wasn't in Cannes to promote a movie at all. Neither "What Maisie Knew" nor her other new film, "The English Teacher," was featured in the festival.
Instead, Moore is one of several L'Oreal spokeswomen brought in by the cosmetics company for the festival; others include actresses Freida Pinto, in Cannes this week, and Eva Longoria, set to arrive later.
"In a weird kind of way, there might even be more pressure on the red carpet because you're representing a beauty brand," Moore said, laughing. "But it's fun."
At 52, Moore takes special pride being a spokeswoman for a cosmetics company, given the focus on youth in modern culture.
"Somebody asked me yesterday if I felt like I had some kind of mission for women. I wouldn't say that, but I feel like I can represent women who are my age," she said. "I can say to my friends, look, we exist. Here we are."
And as she gets older, the actress, who won both an Emmy and a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Sarah Palin in last year's "Game Change," said what worries her doesn't involve her looks anyway.
"Mostly I worry about it being over quickly, my life," she said.
"We talk about aging and getting older and blah, blah, blah. What does that really mean? And what it really means, particularly as you are in middle age, is that you have less of your life in front of you than you have behind you, and that in itself is anxiety producing,'" she added.
Moore noted that one of the main benefits of youth was being totally unaware of the passage of time.
"That's what they talk about, about the blessing of being young, you don't have that feeling. You feel like it's forever," she said. "(But) there's a certain point in your life where you're like, 'Oh. . it's not.'"
That's when "you want to make sure that you're living the life that you want to live and with the people you want to be with," she said.