Elisabeth Shue Drew Inspiration from Husband to Become a Better Actress
Elisabeth Shue has brought to life many characters during her career in acting.
From portraying an autistic young woman in Molly to her Oscar-nominated role as a sex worker in Leaving Las Vegas, she has many brilliant roles under her belt.
But Gracie, a 2007 movie based on her own life, might be one of her best projects to date.
Her husband, Davis Guggenheim, directed the movie and has had a major influence on her evolution as an actress.
He also knows what effect a family tragedy that befell her had on her acting.
Elisabeth Shue’s Role in ‘Gracie’ and Husband’s Support
Elisabeth Shue portrayed Lindsay Bowen, the main character Grace’s mother. Grace’s story in the movie is based on her own life experiences.
Grace, a tomboyish character, loses her brother, Johnny, in a traffic accident. This is similar to Shue’s loss of her brother, William, during a freak accident.
The heart of the movie is the pain that William’s passing gave her, with whom she was really close.
She has said that his death “changed our [sic] lives” and was one of the “most painful gifts” she had gotten.
Her husband knows how the incident changed her. In 1988, Guggenheim revealed the lessons Shue received from the tragedy.
“I don’t think you can continue after that and live on the surface,” he said, talking about how Shue realized the “wonderful, horrible duality” to life.
He also saw how it affected her acting.
“What it means is that she can suddenly, as an actress, dig a whole lot deeper,” he added. As an example of her growth in her trade, he alluded to her performance in Leaving Las Vegas.
Guggenheim also influenced her to become a better actress. An Oscar-winning documentarian himself, his way of making her realize her potential was a little untraditional, so to speak.
He basically loved her into being better.
While speaking to Interview magazine in 1996 (via Talent Develop), she revealed her husband’s methods.
“He made me feel loved the way Will had loved me,” the actress said, talking about how Guggenheim knew about her fear and reluctance to become a great actress.
“I was afraid to want it for fear that it would never happen, and he challenged me and encouraged me to start studying and growing as an actor,” she said.
That changed her trajectory in the industry, which primarily knew her for her “good girl” roles in light-hearted movies.
After that, she came to terms with her own potential. “I wasn’t afraid anymore,” Shue admitted.
Elisabeth Shue and Husband’s Family
Shue married Guggenheim, who she has called “the greatest love” of her life, in August 1994.
They have three kids — Miles William, Stella Street, and Agnes Charles.
The children are all grown up now. Miles was 23, Stella 19, and the youngest, Agnes, was 14 years old as of January 2021.
Stella Street Guggenheim, Elisabeth Shue and husband Davis' daughter, at her art display in May 2019. (Photo: Stella Guggenheim/Instagram)
Shue and her family have somehow kept their private life just that — private. There's not much available about her marriage and children.
Stella seems to be artistically motivated, just like her parents. Her Instagram is filled with sketches, drawings, and photographs of various sorts.
Agnes, too, is on Instagram, but her account is set to private. Meanwhile, Miles is nowhere to be found.