TODAY   |  September 10, 2013

Julianne Moore: My foreign-born mom celebrated culture

Academy Award winner Julianne Moore talks to TODAY about growing up in a home with a parent born abroad, and says it’s more acceptable now for children to assimilate both American culture and their family’s background.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> julianne moore is a four time academy award nominee and best selling author.

>> and for last year's portrayal of sarah palin in the hbo original movie game change, he earned a golden globe and emmy for that role.

>> she played a lot of moms and is one in real life and now she has a new picture book , my mom is a foreigner but not to me.

>> julianne moore .

>> glad to have you here.

>> hi.

>> many of us have grown up with foreign born moms. this is a book that comes from a place in your heart. your mother also foreign born .

>> absolutely. my mother came from scotland when she was ten years old in 1950 . so i grew up with a very strong sense of my mother 's culture but not necessarily a sense of asimulation. i think lots of books talk about that. oh, we're all americans and we all become americans. but i think there's something interesting about the dichotomy between an american born child and the culture of the foreign mom. that sort of tension.

>> did that make your childhood more difficult? were there kids that treated you a different way? was it strange to have people into your home? was it hard for you?

>> it's not that it's difficult. kids will say why does your mom talk funny and you're like she doesn't talk funny. what do you mean? you're not aware of those things. there's certain foods you have at home that other people don't have. you think that -- and you're like i can't believe my mother does all of these things. every kid is like that with their mother but something could be so alien to the rest of the world and so familiar to you.

>> that's so true.

>> and your illustrator who -- it's a gorgeous book. she can really relate to this.

>> isn't it amazing? she is from hong kong but lives in scotland with her family. so she, herself is a foreign mom with a scottish child. so it's weird. but yeah she did a great job.

>> my mom is from champagne, illinois. so i can't --

>> she had that midwest accent.

>> she did. it was strange to have kids over to the house.

>> it was so funny because i never noticed my mother had an accent, she is brazilian until i went to college and my friends said your mom has a strong accent.

>> that's how she talks.

>> no, she doesn't and years later i was like i hear it now.

>> i had friends tell me about their italian mother making them bring food from home and in the lunchroom they would have to heat it up in the microwave and it was soup and it exploded and they were like i'm not going up there.

>> everybody was like we didn't do it that's not our food.

>> and when we were growing up, it was, as you said, become more american but today it's about celebrating who you are and where you're from.

>> yeah, i think so. i think so and, you know, my mother used to say to me growing up, remember you're not 100% american. there's this other part of you that she wanted to make sure that -- she celebrated it and didn't want it to disappear. it was very much who she was and i think it's important for kids to know they can have both. that's okay to have it all.

>> you lost your mom not long ago. how did she inform the woman who is sitting here today.

>> don't make me cry, man. i mean, everything i do. everything i am. it was her. see.

>> yeah, it's a beautiful tribute to her. it's very nice.

>> we talked about -- i'll take your tears away. we talked about your role as sarah palin .

>> that will make me stop crying.

>> i knew i could turn you on --

>> what a transition.

>> i knew i could turn you on a dime like that. can you still do sarah palin ?

>> no. i retired it. once you do a character that's it? you're done with it.

>> i can't even remember the lines once i finish a job. i think i had a great short-term memory so i do what i do and then the minute they say cut it's gone. it's kind of gone out the window. i really don't remember it.

>> what preparation went into that.

>> it was a lot. we had two months really to work on a lot of listening basically.

>> just like you're doing now. the first day of school.

>> first day of school. i know, it's crazy this week there's so much going on.

>> well, julianne moore , thank you so much. good to see you. the book is my mom is a foreigner but