How Did Julianne Moore Prepare For the Role of a Professor with Alzheimer’s in “Still Alice”?


Julianne Moore researched the film’s Alzheimer’s subject matter for about four months before shooting. She watched as many documentaries and interviews as could that related to the disease. Moore also met with the head of the national Alzheimer’s Association, Elizabeth Gelfand Stearns, as well as three other women via Skype to discuss their experiences with Alzheimer’s. All three women, like her character Alice, had been diagnosed with early onset of Alzheimer’s. Next, she met with Dr. Mary Sano, head of Alzheimer’s research at Mount Sinai, as well as other researchers and clinicians, and took all the standard cognitive tests given to diagnose to Alzheimer’s. She then consulted with members of a support group at the New York Alzheimer’s Association, and finally with people in the late stages of Alzheimer’s at a long-term care facility.

According to Moore, she told the filmmakers, “I didn’t want to represent anything onscreen that I hadn’t actually witnessed…If I didn’t understand something, I’d ask somebody. When I spoke to the women in the support groups, I’d say, ‘Well, what does this feel like? What does it feel like to be lost? What does it feel like to not understand whether a door opens in or out? Or not know what a handle is called? Who helps you? What are your mnemonic devices?’”