Any 24 hour period that has wonderful news about four film legends is a good day, at least in part. We have to grasp at happy straws considering the "real" world outside of the arts. So, let's start with the best best actress news of the day week month...
JANE & LILY
That Jane Fonda & Lily Tomlin Netflix series "Grace & Frankie" is really happening and Jane Fonda wrote about it while sharing the first still and behind the scenes photos yesterday:
I had a brief hard spell the first day, moving away from my Leona Lansing-Newsroom mode and into comedy. Comedy requires different muscles, a subtle shifting of gears, of attitude. It’s harder, in my opinion. This kind of comedy has to be real, the comedy has to come out of reality, out of pain, yet it has to be funny...
Some actors don’t like to watch dailies (the footage you shot the day before). I, on the contrary, benefit from watching them, and not just the footage that I’m in. I’m one of the producers on this series and I need to see everything. Besides, it helps me calibrate my performance..
Jane Fonda would make the best Smackdown guest because she takes acting so seriously, articulates it well and still has curiousity about it; my heart practically burst at a Fonda event a year or two ago when she mentioned her plan to go back to acting class for reasons that there's always more to learn about your craft. This from a two time Oscar winner who, at her best, is pretty untoppable in terms of acting magic. It reminded me of Madonna taking vocal lessons in the 90s and then guitar lessons in the 00s -- Mega-successful people who still stay humble about their talent and seek to improve are a rare breed and deserve enormous respect. One of the great dangers of success is laziness and coasting, you know.
As for Lily, her 75th birthday is next month and we'll be sure to celebrate it somehow.
Debbie Reynolds & Diane Keaton after the jump...
As you may have heard - the news spread fast on Twitter yesterday - Debbie Reynolds will be the next Lifetime Achievement Recipient at the SAG Awards. SAG is so much kinder to actresses than other awards shows. In this century alone they've honored 7 of them with lifetime salutes or nearly 50% of their honorees. The Globes and Oscars are much more sexist, egregiously sexist really, with women only accounting for a tiny margin of Honorary statues with only 2 of 13 and 2 of 24 respectively this century (I did not include the Jean Hersholt Huminatarian Award in this number... I'm just talking traditional Honorary Oscars).
Debbie Reynolds is such a great choice. Not only did she star in one of the indisputably greatest films of all time (Singin' in the Rain) but she kept working from decade to decade on stage and small and large screens (Mother, Will & Grace, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Bundle of Joy, The Mating Game, Behind the Candelabra, The Singing Nun, and more...) delighting audiences of multiple generations. She has also contributed to film history entirely outside of her own luminous career in four major ways:
- She brought Carrie Fisher into the World
- She inspired one of the great showbiz novels and films (Postcards from The Edge)
- She granted Elizabeth Taylor even more "edge" and erotically potent mythology with that massive 50s scandal when Liz (Debbie's friend) swiped her husband from her
- Her memorabilia obsession, museum, and auctions helped keep Hollywood nostalgia and history alive.
Congratulations to Debbie. Can't wait to see the tribute on January 25th, 2015
You can't dispute that she's legendary but, as we discussed on the last podcast, there's plenty to quibble about in how she's using that status on her career choices this century. Still, the legends often get their "victory tours" even if their current work is alarmingly beneath them. She'll be honored with the Golden Icon award on October 1st in Zurich.
I was relatively quiet on the Keaton topic on the podcast but let the record show that my own taste in Diane Keaton is a little off-consensus. I think of her as one of the great dramatic actors despite most of her legend stemming from comedy. Of course she's just genius in Annie Hall, a comedy, and regularly darling in them. But Reds and Looking for Mr Goodbar are just sublime dramatic performances and my other two favorite star turns from her relatively strong filmography -- strong until post-Something's Gotta Give I mean.