Growing up, Julianne Moore's family never stayed in one place for very long, and while there were challenges for her, she said her globetrotting childhood helped her become a better actor.
Moore, 60, was born at Fort Bragg, the U.S. Army installation in North Carolina. Her father, Peter Moore Smith, was a paratrooper in the U.S. Army, which meant the family frequently relocated for his career. Her mother Anne Love Smith was Scottish.
"For me, I think what I saw was that people believed that identity was solid and somehow about where you were from. It's like, 'You are this,'" Moore told Willie Geist on Sunday TODAY. "We define ourselves by the town we're from, where we grow up, where we go to school, who we are friends with and it feels like that's somehow you and it's not, because its changeable, its mutable."
The constant moves meant Moore had to adapt to new schools, cultures and make new friends. Her family lived in multiple U.S. states and Moore attended high school in West Germany. The new environments gave her the opportunity to study people.
"Because you go to another town and people have others kinds of behaviors, that doesn't mean that they're different from you. It just means their behavior is different, so you're always looking at behavioral differences and then you're looking for a universality of experience," she said.
Moore has earned raves throughout her career for her wide range, tackling comedy in the cult classic "The Big Lebowski" to drama in "Still Alice," which earned her an Academy Award in 2015. Her latest project, the limited series "Lisey's Story," is an adaptation of the Stephen King thriller and can be streamed on Apple TV.
While Moore learned that behaviors can be different around the world, people across cultures and locations shared a common bond that can be felt through movies and television.
"We become much more global in terms of what we're seeing and what we're relating to. That's why you can look at a movie in Japan and it will feel so familiar to you a in a human sense, maybe different culturally, but you identify with it," she said. "That's what's kind of fascinating about it. You're always looking at what behavior is versus what an essential self is."