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Ellen Barkin - Idol Chatter
Ellen Barkin - Idol Chatter

Bravo, baby: My first thought when I saw you in Todd Solondz’s controversial new Palindromes was, “Look! The ‘90’s sex goddess is actually letting herself age.”
Thank you! Listen, I cannot bear what my generation of actresses are doing to their faces. Enough already. God bless the Europeans and their very different sense of what is appealing—like, the other night, I was watching Swimming Pool and thought, “God, please let me look like Charlotte Rampling when I’m 58 years old.” ‘Cause everybody still wants to fuck Charlotte Rampling—she’ll always be ‘Charlotte Rampling.’ But if she started to screw with her eyes, she wouldn’t be. And it’s not only the rampant surgery—I want to know why these women dress that way in Hollywood. Hey, I still have a good body, but I’m 50 years old and everybody got to look at it when I was younger and now it’s not time for them to look at it.

Oh, but when it was timein films like Sea of Love,The Big Easy and Siestaooo la la.....
I totally embraced being referred to as a “sex bomb,” because for years I couldn’t get those jobs. And I clearly had no problem with sex scenes—I was the naked one on set and felt fine about

it, but everybody else was so panicked that it seemed like it was the only time I was on “top.” I always thought, “Oh, good, I’m going to be the boss for a day.” (laughs)

Yeah, in earlier work like Diner and Tender Mercies you were usually relegated to abused waif status. Though Pauline Kael did compare you to Brando in her Diner review…..
(sighs) That was my first movie review ever. You know, Diner was not going to be released and Kael saw it and wrote a positive review so the studio was either embarrassed into releasing it or thought, “Fuck, we better get this movie out fast because this brilliant review is gonna come out by the only real film critic left and we don’t’ even have a release date!”

Hail Kael. A few years later, after Sea of Love made you big B.O., you made some interesting choices that weren’t so celebrated, thoughlike, say, Blake Edwards’ Switch where you played a dead, womanizing male sent back to earth to redeem himself in the body of a woman. Explain.
I knew I could play a man. (laughs) I used to always send my brother my scripts to read and he said, “You have to do Switch because you’ll never get a chance to play yourself again.” I thought, “He’s kind of right.” (laughs)

Yep, you may be the butchest sex symbol in history. And that’s a compliment. Okay, I have to ask: You’ve starred twice with Robert De Niro [in This Boy’s Life and The Fan] and, lately, there’s been lots of talk of how he’s “trashing his legacy” by appearing in stuff like Meet the Fockers and Hide and Seek. What do you
Fuck them all! I have a 15-year-old son who,because of Analyze This and Meet the Fockers, has now seen every movie Martin Scorsese and Robert DeNiro have ever made.

Yet just today I read Russell Crowe slamming DeNiro’s American Express ad, saying, “He’s been disappointing me for a while now.”
Oh, I’m so sorry you’re disappointed….gladiator. Please. Russell Crowe is a wonderful actor who owes his entire whatever it is to Robert DeNiro—he’s the spawn of DeNiro. Actually, no, he doesn’t deserve that, because Sean Penn carries DeNiro’s legacy, not Russell Crowe. How dare he say that about Robert DeNiro!

And she’s off! You’re so passionate, Barkin, why don’t you act more?
I’m lazy. (laughs) Also, ‘cause I’m not going to leave my family (with Revlon’s Ron Perelman) just so I can keep my face on the radar.

Too bad‘cause it’s a face that looks ever more intoxicatingly like…..Angie Dickinson.
(joyously) I am Angie Dickenson, what do you mean? I love her with all my heart and one of my favorite ever 'celebrity moments' was her saying to me, “Let me meet the young me.” So let’s just say it again: I am the Angie Dickinson of my time!

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