With two films --Rails & Ties and Into the Wild -- playing at both Telluride and Toronto, Oscar-winning actress Marcia Gay Harden is having a busy time of it right now. In Rails & Ties she plays a woman dying of cancer, who finds the opportunity to mother a child in need right as her own life is ending; in Into the Wild, she plays a mother dealing with the disappearance and loss of her adult son. Harden graciously took time out of her busy film festival schedule to chat with Cinematical in a phone interview about both roles, being married to Kevin Bacon onscreen, and balancing her real life as a mother of three kids with a career as an actress.

Cinematical: Thanks for taking the time to talk to me, I know you're swamped being in between Telluride and Toronto, and having two films at both fests.

Marcia Gay Harden: I'm in the car right now, on my way back from a photo shoot. I have to make sure my daughter has everything she needs for the first day of school tomorrow! She has to bring something that exemplifies who she is, and she's struggling with what that's going to be. I told her for me, it would be a pair of Birkenstocks that I've had for 28 years, comfortable and worn down around the toes. We also have a watering can from France that I'm very fond of, but I think the Birkenstocks..