When I ran into Glenn Close at the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting last spring, she told me that the movie she had just completed, Albert Nobbs, was one of the most challenging projects of her career.
This morning, Close got an Academy Award nomination for her offbeat role in the film: Close plays a woman posing as a man in order to get a job and survive in nineteenth-century Dublin. Her acting, it turns out, is only half of her tour de force here: She raised all the money for Albert Nobbs herself.
“Not one cent of our budget, which was $8 million, came from Hollywood,” the actress said at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit. Interviewed by Ariel Investments President Mellody Hobson, Close explained that the seed of her labor of love was planted 20 years ago when she played Albert Nobbs on the stage in New York City. To make the movie she wanted to make, she realized she had best fund it herself. In fact, she used the money from the sale of her apartment in Manhattan for her initial investment.
Close knows her way around financial circles. She and her husband, businessman David Shaw, are pals with Warren Buffett—hence her pilgrimages to Omaha for Berkshire Hathaway annual meetings. Nonetheless, she and her Albert Nobbs’ co-producer, Bonnie Curtis, had to scrounge for money to get their project to the screen. They found their other key financier in Fort Worth: Crescent Real Estate Holdings Chairman John Goff had never invested in a project like this, Close told the MPW Summit audience. But Goff decided to take a risk on her film because she had “skin in the game.”
Here’s more from Close on Albert Nobbs—and her take on how her character relates to women today: