Diane Keaton Interviewed – ‘Because I Said So’

     February 1, 2007

Diane Keaton is one of those people I’d really been waiting to interview asI grew up on Woody Allen movies – Manhattan, Annie Hall, Sleeper, just to name a few. She is someone that I respect tremendously as an actor and any opportunity to get some time asking her even one question was something that I wanted to do.

When she came into the room where the press conference was being held it was like a royal figure from England had entered. She carries herself with a dignity and professionalism that many up and coming actors should learn to emulate, as most just don’t have that magic. Then again, that’s why she is Diane Keaton.

In the film Diane is an out of control mom. She constantly obsesses over everything little thing and is especially out of control with her youngest daughter – who is played by Mandy Moore. Unlike her older sisters, Mandy’s character is still single and searching for love.

To try and help her out, Diane’s character takes out a newspaper add to meet perspective suitors for Mandy and then interviews them like it’s for a job. That’s just one example of how she acts and what she is willing to do for her family.

The film doesn’t break the mold of typical chick flick rules, but I enjoyed the film and so did the girl I took. Definitely a safe bet if you want to make your girlfriend/wife/lover/BFF with benefits happy.

If you want to listen to the interview click here, otherwise here is the print version.

Question: Happy Birthday!

Diane Keaton: Thanks!

Q: We heard about your big birthday celebration

Diane: Yeah, you mean this morning?

Q: No, you had one today too?

Diane: Yeah I had one today, this morning. You see my bracelet? My daughter made it. Isn’t it cool?

Q: Did she make it to go with the necklace?

Diane: She just made it, it’s odd that it went with the necklace. Go figure. But anyway I had a lot of fun this morning with my kids.

Q: I was talking about the party on the set that you had.

Diane: On the set, yeah, that was different. That was work. That’s always different.

Q: We heard about the salt.

Diane: Oh, the salt. I feel strongly about salt.

Q: Lauren told us.

Diane: Oh is she here? She’s funny. She’s a good person to have an interview with.

Q: This woman is exasperatingly annoying and I’m wondering… you’ve played a few of them

Diane: Yeah, I’ve mastered it.

Q: How hard is it to find a character that is different.

Diane: From the other exasperatingly annoying characters I’ve played?

Q: From other exasperatingly annoying mothers

Diane: Well, there you go. There’s no reason at all, I mean what can I say to that except I have no excuse. It’s just that’s what it is. I have nothing, nothing to say

Q: What was it about her that you felt you could tap into?

Diane: Well you tell me. You saw it. I just thought it was funny. What else am I going to do with my life? I’m happy to perform and I thought it was great.

Q: Is it hard to find characters.

Diane: That aren’t exasperatingly annoying?

Q: Surely a woman of your talent can find characters to play that are interesting.

Diane: No, I don’t think that either. My feeling about everything is I’m just glad I’m working. I’m just a working woman. Show me a script and if I’m available I’ll do it. Quite frankly, I’m lucky to be working at all. Don’t you think so? I mean how many woman that are my age are working?

Q: You’re an Oscar winner, you’re a legend.

Diane: I don’t know about that. I think I’m really lucky. Really lucky. So many other people are extremely talented and they’re not working. It doesn’t make any sense. But I’m extremely happy that I’m in this situation looking at these little machines here. I’m thrilled to be here, I really am. This is a nice thing in life and not a bad birthday present. I’m gonna take them all.

Q: You’re a mom but your kids aren’t of the age yet that you have to do the Because I Said So, or do you? And how strict of a parent are you?

Diane: That is the hardest question because I think that structure is a nice thing to have, it’s reassuring for kids but at the same time of course, I don’t see myself like the mother in this or in Family Stone. I think that you find your way along the way, don’t you? I think it changes as you go. I think that’s what’s so amazing about being a parent, is that it grows on you in a way that you never would have expected. It’s more intense than ever and as you grow it gets even more intense. My daughter is 11 now so I’m probably watching her enter into that phase of being a tween, she’s already a tween, and that’s fantastically amazing to watch. When you were going through it yourself you didn’t really picture what it was like to look at a girl grow into womanhood. It’s astonishing. I love it. I feel so sad about the fact that she’s growing up but amazed by it and touched by it

Q: There’s the theme of not being like your mom

Diane: I think in some ways I am like my mother because my mother was a very sensitive woman and very supportive of me. So in some ways I sort of feel like I am like her. I don’t think that I am the same kind of overbearing mother but I’m probably an overbearing mother. It’s just the method of my being overbearing is a little more hidden maybe but just as intense. I think that a lot of overbearing mothers feel that way. So it’s just the way you deal with it, I don’t know.

Q: Daphne was apprehensive about turning 60. How did you feel about it?

Diane: Whoo, that’s so interesting. My dad died when he was 68 so to turn 60 is like, ‘oh, I’m 60.’ You really are older. You’re very definitely reaching a new phase in your life. I really am happy I’m around, number one. I love being alive and moderately healthy. You just go, ‘OK. All right. Moving on.” I mean, what can I do? I’m not gonna get depressed about it ’cause I’m sort of amazed by how life has changed so much. I’m not really who I thought I would be, and the process of living is much more of a mystery than I ever imagined and also much more compelling as you go along, and it’s just.the more you know, the less you know. And the less you know the more amazed you are by life. When you’re young you’re just kind of plowing ahead, going with your goal. And I really accomplished what I wanted in my dream life, which was to be an actress in the movies. I got to do that. But once you do that and get older everything changes and life is so much more interesting than what I ever imagined it would be. A lot of the time the hobbies that I’m interested in are so much more compelling to me. I never would have thought I’d be a hobby sort of person but I really am. I’m a collector and I’m doing a couple of books this year and I’m trying to do a furniture line. I want to do as much as I possibly can. What’s odd about getting older is you’re supposed to roll over and be happy and be calm and relaxed. But the actual opposite has happened with me. I want to do more, pack in as much as I can before it’s adios!

Q: Is baking one of those hobbies?

Diane: No. Food is not mine. I eat it and that’s it. I’m not a cook, no, but it was fun to be around people who are.

Q: Are you writing your memoirs?

Diane: I’m not a writer, but you know my mother kept about 100 journals, she kept her entire adult life, she recorded and documented everything about her life. I started reading it and she did a lot of collages with it, so in some way I would like, if I knew how, if I had the skill, to put some of that in with some of what my brother has done in kind of a family document if I could. My own life, no, but I guess we are all kind of fascinated by our families and what our life experiences have been. So someday I’d like to edit that down, what my mother wrote

Q: What were your impressions of Mandy?

Diane: I love Mandy. The thing about Mandy is, what I really love about her, she’s just a little workhorse, like a filly out there. She loves to work and you can see her progress as an actress. She’s a very emotional actress but she’s funny, she’s adorable and she’s beautiful to look at. In this movie she looks to me like Claudia Cardinale. She’s got this gorgeous face. It’s going to be really interesting to watch her in life. I think she’s going to be really surprising.

Q: What do you expect to see in the future?

Diane: More. Mandy Moore. More of Mandy Moore.

Q: Do mother’s parent daughters differently than they parent sons?

Diane: I think it depends on the mother actually but I don’t know how you would parent opposite sex the same. They are two very different animals, males and females. So it would be different, just like it would be different for every person. But I do have a son and it’s a very different experience from my daughter. It’s wild. My son is much more, he wears his heart on his sleeve. Everything is there. You know what he feels. He lets you know. He tells you he loves you, he tells you he hates you. He’s wild and excited about life. And my daughter is much more quietly. She’s mysterious. She pulls you in to her because she doesn’t give as much. He’s just out there and she’s like, I’m constantly thinking about ‘what is she thinking? What is she feeling?’ I’m sure most of you are parents and I’m sure you know how unusual each person is as you raise them and how different they are and how the process of how they evolve is absolutely riveting. That would be with anybody, just raising any child, it’s a privilege to try, that’s how I feel about it.

Q: How involved were you with the script?

Diane: I put in my two cents, definitely. I give a lot of notes, as much as I can. I know that pictures are pretty much what they are. You can tweak them and mess with them and put in ideas here and there but the core of what they are is essentially the same even if you try to pee on it, like most of us do in some way. So I’m sure it didn’t mean much. But they were wonderful people, Jesse and everybody and Michael Lehmann the director. They were very nice about listening to what I had to say.

Q: Did you have input on the lines?

Diane: I’m not really a line type, I’m more the big ideas-I don’t mean big ideas, don’t get me wrong-but ‘this scene didn’t seem quite right because,

it’s about the tone of it. I’m interested in the tone, like how’s the scene working tonally? Does that seem believable? Maybe yeah, maybe not.

Q: So once you’re on set that’s pretty much it?

Diane: Yeah. You know you make a deal, ‘I’m gonna act in your movie. I don’t want to undermine the movie.’ It’s not my job to undermine the movie. My job is to try to do the best I can with what I can and if they want to hear what I have to say and they’re agreeable to that, that’s fine but I can’t get in the way when we’re shooting. You only have so much time. You don’t want to eat it up and destroy all that money that was invested in it. I feel bad for people who give money to finance movies. Imagine what that’s like. If a movie costs $100 million, that’s outrageous, that’s a lot of money. And if I’m in a $100 million movie, which by the way I haven’t been in, but let’s say I am hypothetically, I don’t want to be the person who makes it cost 120. And then what? It’s bone chilling. I don’t know how people live with it. Sometimes I fantasize about what it would be like to be a studio executive on a $100 million movie the day that it opens. I feel the anxiety.

I couldn’t live with it. I couldn’t do it

Q: Mandy said she was embarrassed having to explain the orgasm in that scene.

Diane: I don’t believe that!

Q: How was it sitting there listening to her explain?

Diane: It was fun, I loved it, are you kidding? It was a blast. That was fun.

Q: No advice given?

Diane: Are you kidding? Never. I wouldn’t go near an orgasm. No.

Q: You had a kissing scene in Shoot the Moon.

Diane: Oh with Peter Weller. We were kind of sitting in the living room, I remember that. It’s interesting that you would remember that. You thought this was like that? The kiss?

Q: Yeah.

Diane: That was fun. I always like to kiss in movies. Any opportunity

Q: What do you do to prevent nervousness before a kiss?

Diane: In real life? Or are you talking about in a movie? Real life? I don’t have dates. I’m not a dater, no. Those days are over. I don’t have to worry about that anymore.

Q: Do you have any input into your films released on DVD? Reds was just released. Do you watch those?

Diane: No. I don’t like to go back and see my earlier work and I don’t want any input.

Q: Any favorite movie you’ve done?

Diane: No. I always remember with great fondness any movie that did well and any movie that I experienced the forming of a new friendship. I did a very bad movie called Harry and Walter Go to New York but you know something, I made two of my dearest friends in my whole life on that movie and they’re still my friends. Mainly, you remember them fondly if it was a great working experience, you remember them fondly for friendship or you really remember them fondly if they did well. Because then you know you can keep working.

Q: Did you have input into your fashion and jewelry?

Diane: Yeah, I thought she was kind of a flamboyant gal in this one, but in her own world. It didn’t really connect to anybody at all in life except herself which also said a lot in a way about how she was walled off from her feelings and walled off from the influence of her daughters in that way. I think she was a very.she was an eccentric.

Q: You mentioned being a collector, what do you collect?

Diane: Real estate. I am fascinated by real estate.

Q: You collect real estate?

Diane: If I could. I would like to. I have fantasies like everybody else and one of my fantasies is I wish that I could buy up all the old Spanish colonial homes that are about to be torn down, and restore them and just let them be so that they have a second chance at life. I’m on the board of the L.A. Conservancy so this kind of compels me. A few months ago I got to go to the Ennis Brown house, the Frank Lloyd Wright house that’s being restored now, thank God, and see what they’re starting to do. And I got so excited about it because it’s a miracle. The house is just a treasure. It’s something that Los Angeles should be so proud of but nobody sees it because we live in such an odd city. Everything is so far away from everything, you don’t have this center, this core sensibility. So it just sort of quietly disappears. All these treasures, all these landmarks. So that’s one of my fantasies about real estate, getting involved with older buildings that are in jeopardy. But of course I can’t do that but it’s something I think about, I try.

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