Debra Winger, who starred in such memorable films as “Urban Cowboy” and “An Officer And A Gentleman”, has left the spotlight in recent years, becoming something of a recluse in Hollywood terms rather than be subjected to what she called “mediocre” projects.
That’s why it was such a surprise when she accepted a role in a David Mamet production called “The Anarchist”, which made its Broadway debut on Sunday. Winger says Mamet didn’t even talk to her about the show or the fact that he wanted her in it; instead, he sent her a copy of the script with a note asking her to accept the role.
“Right there, you’re 50 yards down the field,” Winger said. “You’re like, ‘Wow, I could hang out with this guy. He knows something about human nature.'”
The pair worked together and struck up a friendship on the set of the 1987 film “Black Widow”, which probably contributed to her surprising answer, the outcome shocking and scaring even her.
“I think that’s part of my deal — if it doesn’t scare me, why do it? There must be something in there to mine, to plumb, if I have this feeling,” she says. “That’s why in the scary movies you’re all yelling ‘Don’t open the door!’ It’s these things that we’re compelled to do, I think, that holds something for our life.”
Mamet is not just a playwright, but also does screenplays for film and television, including “The Untouchables” and “Hannibal”. Winger says he’s created two strong roles for women with “The Anarchist”, something he’s not been known for in the past.
“It’s something we don’t get very often,” she says. “Maybe that is the problem — that people think they have to write women instead of human being.”