favorite alien annihilator opens up about getting older, gorillas, and The
baby, how do you do it? At 53, you're looking even hotter than when you killed
your first alien at a mere, bikini panties-wearing 29.
Well, thank you, I'm quite happy to be my ageI think women
at this age have accomplished a lot and know what they want. And, anyway,
[when I was younger] I felt like I just looked like a little scone with raisins
for eyes. [laughs]
I gotta tell you that even though I ended up loving your new film with Anthony
LaPaglia, The Guys, I was kind of dreading going because of its 9/11
I think people do dread seeing it, but when they get there, it's
the experience they were dreading at all, because it's a very simple,
intimate story about two people that puts a human face on what's become
such a politicized event.
it's even a family affair with your husband [Jim
directing and your 12-year-old daughter making a cameo appearance.
Well, first of all, no one got paid anything, and we could get our children
for cheap. [laughs] Although my daughter does want to be paid
somethingshe's still asking.
will she be continuing in her mother's grand tradition?
Nothe other day she said [deadpan], "There's
too many ups and downs." [laughs] I don't quite know what she
meant, because I've tried to appear like a normal working person, but I guess
I'm not that good an actor.
you're so good you were even double Oscar-nominated in 1988, for Working
Girl and Gorillas in the Mist. By the way, are gorillas easier
to work with than actors?
[laughs] Actually, one of the reasons I think I was able to work so
well with the gorillas was that it was so much like coming into a new group
of actors: There were some who made it clear they didn't want you there and
some who couldn't wait to see you. But I had pure joy shooting through
my veins working with them--I've really wanted to go back and see them again,
but every time I've been asked to go [back to Rwanda], something happens over
there, and my husband says, "You're not going."
mean, Alien's kickass Lt. Ellen Ripley is bossed around by her husband?
She's so utterly unlike meI'm such a baby! I wasn't even
that interested in the part, quite frankly, because [back then] I was such
a snob that I just wanted to do, like, Shakespeare and work with Mike Nichols
and that was about it. I was always just gonna be in the theater and, like,
get a job at the Guthrie and be part of the company playing maids and princesses
and murderers. Actually, I've tried to follow that model in my film careerI've
always just wanted to be a journeyman actor.
what a journey: Forget out-there stuff like Ripley and Ghostbusters,
even your post-40 career as a mother in films has been outré. There
was the sexually promiscuous mom in The Ice Storm and then last year's
Tadpole, where your stepson lusted after you and
And I've had to fight for those rolesI think producers,
because I'm often taller than they are, are reluctant to put me in
a homey situation, and those are the roles I think I'm decent at. Like,
I felt so at home and did some of my best work in A Map of the World
with that house, that mess, those kids. But, believe me, I am not the mother
they call. [laughs]
well, you're Ripley. So tell us, sexy onehaving
killed aliens, bred aliens, even become an alien, do you ever dream of them?
Only once and it was the silliest! I was on a cruise ship, and there was a
rumor about this thing running around so, of course, I had to say, "Excuse
meI don't want to alarm anyone, but I think it might be
this alien." So they said, "What should we do?" And I said,
"Well, I think the best thing to do is to just take a big bath towel,
get underneath a deck chair, and hide." [laughs] It's not very
Ripley, but what can I say? I'm a pussycat.
2015 Brantley Bardin. All Rights Reserved.