Gwyneth Paltrow dishes on love letters and her latest film, ''Possession.'' The private blonde explains why fame makes paper shredders a celebrity necessity
Gwyneth Paltrow
Credit: Gwyneth Paltrow: Steve Granitz/

How’s losing 200 pounds for a bit of a lifestyle change? After donning that much latex for the Farrelly brothers’ ”Shallow Hal,” 29-year-old Gwyneth Paltrow takes on a slightly more, um, weighty role, playing starchy British academic Maud Bailey in ”Possession,” the screen adaptation of A.S. Byatt’s historical novel. Paltrow tells about writing mash notes, her rumored music career, and acting in a love story for an alleged misogynist (”Possession” director Neil LaBute).

”Possession” is a movie about love letters. Have you ever poured your heart out in a letter like the movie’s poets do?
There have been instances in my life where I’ve poured my heart out, but I’ve always been kind of a cautious person — it’s one of the ways celebrity affects your life. I think: ”Someone might keep this and read it in 75 years! I better censor myself.” I actually don’t write letters by hand. Just thank-you notes because my mother beat it into me growing up.

Can you tell us about the most romantic letter you’ve ever received?
No way!

Wouldn’t it be your worst nightmare to have a couple like the one in ”Possession” digging up your past?
Well, they’re in it for the historical importance, so it’s not quite as disrespectful as going through people’s trash for tabloid fodder. [Paparazzi] do all sorts of stupid things. That’s why they invented the paper shredder — for girls like me.

You’d rather people knew very little about you?
I feel that the less I know about an artist I admire, the more intrigued I am by the art. I don’t want to know about the people whom I really love. I let their art speak to me. You start to find out all sorts of horrible things because everybody’s just a human being. If you like Degas, and his paintings really resonate with you, and they transport you to somewhere else… and then you do some research and find out he was, say, an anti-Semite, it ruins it. For me, the less you know, the better.

  • Movie
  • 102 minutes