NEW YORK, March 7 (UPI) -- She starred in a string of successful movies in the 1980s and 1990s, then disappeared from the spotlight for several years to start a family.
Now, actress Madeleine Stowe is back with not one, but three high-profile projects.
"Something screwy happens to the brain (after you've had a child) and your drive is kind-of off-kilter," said the beautiful, 43-year-old, mother of two. "It comes and goes."
But Hollywood welcomed her with open arms when she finally emerged from her Texas cattle ranch, ready to work again. The star of "The Last of the Mohicans," "Twelve Monkeys" and "China Moon" can currently be seen playing Mel Gibson's wife in the Vietnam war drama, "We Were Soldiers."
Asked why she took the role in "Soldiers," which was based on real events as chronicled by Army Gen. Hal Moore and former United Press International journalist Joe Galloway in the best-selling book, "We Were Soldiers Once... And Young," Stowe replied, "I was so fond of the story and what they were trying to say."
The actress went on to explain how one of the most fascinating aspects of making the film was that so many of the people who the characters were based on were actually on the movie set.
"Hal (who is played by Gibson in the film) carries a degree of embarrassment that he is the central focus in a sense, to the story, because he is the leader," Stowe said.
In fact, when Stowe saw the movie before him, Moore asked her, his voice trembling, "Does this do my troopers justice? I have to know that. Does it do them justice?" Stowe said.
"He wasn't concerned about anything else. That's where he comes from," she said.
Stowe also spent a lot of time with Moore's wife, Julie, preparing for the role of a woman charged with holding a family together while her husband is away fighting an unpopular war.
What she found was a woman for whom there was no complaining. Moore's wife didn't whine about her life, Stowe said.
"I think that's an incredibly daunting thing to do," Stowe said. "Not knowing what the fate of her husband is going to be or his men, and to have those children and to have to answer to that. That's aside from being completely in love with this person."
What the Moores went through in the Vietnam war is what some military families who have loved ones in Afghanistan are dealing with now, Stowe said.
"That's more than anyone should have to deal with," the actress said.
Stowe characterized the real Julie Moore as a true heroine.
"I think that while she makes life seem very clear and unfettered, she's lived a very, very complicated life. You know, this film could never begin to do justice to that."
Director Randy Wallace and Stowe also had discussions about the material in which he wondered why she would not allow herself to cry as they were shooting, she said.
"I had gone to Julie and said, 'What would you have done?'," Stowe said. "She said, 'I would have never, ever shown them tears. I just wouldn't do that."
After completing three movies in quick succession, Stowe is now filming a political thriller called "Days of Fear," which takes place in 1972, "in the days when Idi Amin was trying to exterminate Indians in India."
In the movie, Stowe plays a woman who works for the U.S. consulate. "Days of Fear" is along the lines of "Casablanca" or "Living Dangerously," but it's a very strong movie, she said. Filming is in South Africa.
All of the new projects have given her a memorable year or two, Stowe said.
"(Days of Fear) is something that has a real political meaning for me," she said.
"We Were Soldiers" is in theaters now. "Avenging Angelo" and "Imposter" are due out later this year.