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The Fabelmans' Michelle Williams 'Felt Bereft' After Playing Steven Spielberg's Mother

Michelle Williams has had a staggeringly impressive career. Though the actor got her breakthrough role in the teen-drama series "Dawson's Creek," she has since gone on to inhabit one memorable character after another. Just a few of her career standouts include her role as a betrayed wife in "Brokeback Mountain," a disaffected woman in "Blue Valentine," and the icon herself in "My Week With Marilyn."

Still, "The Fabelmans" offered a unique challenge for Williams. Cast as the fictional stand-in for Steven Spielberg's real-life mother in his part fantasy, part autobiography, Williams had to decide how she wanted to approach playing a character with such a unique genesis. It looks like she nailed it, though, as her performance is one of many aspects that critics are praising about Spielberg's awards contender (via Rotten Tomatoes). All the same, the role left an indelible mark on Williams, as she explained during an interview for Variety's Actors on Actors series.

Williams felt a special connection to her role in The Fabelmans

When Michelle Williams and Laura Dern sat down for an interview with Variety, Williams had a lot to share about the challenges she faced in trying to bring Steven Spielberg's mother to life in "The Fabelmans." "To be handed somebody's beloved mother and to be close to that, I mean, when we finished that, and she left me, and I left her, I felt bereft," Williams explained.

For her part, Dern, who worked with Spielberg on "Jurassic Park," and actually knew the director's mother, also offered her thoughts. "The light that she carried, the way she entered every room, and the way she championed everyone in the room at all times is held so profoundly by you in your performance," Dern said.

You can't hope for better praise than that, really. To be commended for a role by someone who knew the person in real life is one of the best indications imaginable that you've done a great job portraying them. Still, Williams was clear that she takes on every role in a respectful way that she hopes will honor her characters. "Every woman that you get handed, you have this soul contract with every person that you're entrusted with and the way that they get to live in you," Williams explained. "And the way that you sort of speak for them, or they speak through you, whatever that is."