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Diane Keaton
"Idol Chatter"--Diane Keaton

OVER THE PAST 15 YEARS, WOODY ALLEN’S LEADING LADY HAS GONE FROM BABY BOOM-ER TO REAL-LIFE MOTHER

HEY, DIANE—CAN YOU BELIEVE IT’S BEEN 15 YEARS SINCE, FOR BABY BOOM, YOU BECAME PREMIERE’S FIRST COVER GIRL?
I guess I was, right? I remember it was so lucky to get that movie because the studio did NOT want me—I guess I was at a point where I just failed to bring in any box office, but [writer-producer] Nancy Meyers and her then husband, [writer-director] Charles Shyer, fought for me. Man, they’ve pulled me out of the lowest ebb, professionally over and over—I mean, when we did Father of the Bride, well, really, they did not want me at Disney for one second.

WHICH IS IDIOCY SINCE, AT 56, YOU’RE STILL THE TEMPLATE FOR THE MODERN FEMALE COMEDIENNEIN FACT, WHEN YOU WERE DIRECTING HANGING UP, LISA KUDROW AND MEG RYAN COULDN’T SHUT UP ABUOT YOUR OSCAR-WINNING, LA-DI-DA-ING, ANNIE HALL INFLUENCE ON THEIR WORK.
Well, I just think it’s that I suffer from aphasia—you know, when you’re just g-r-a-p-p-l-i-n-g to find the words and you can’t put it all together so it’s cohesive? Yeah, I think I have a learning disability: I now know and I feel better about it. [laughs] I just got so lucky that somebody said [as if to a cute puppy], “Ohhh, wouldn’t that be good in a picture? THAT’S an unusual character.”

THAT SOMEBODY WAS WOODY ALLEN, YOUR FORMER BOYFRIEND-MENTOR, WHO YOU THEN SHOWED GREAT LOYALTY TO DURING THE SOON-YI-MIA SCANDAL BY STEPPING INTO FARROW’S SHOES IN MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY.
It wasn’t even a question of loyalty, no, I just really loved the PART. [laughs] It was perfect because we were old friends—so I loved playing the bored wife, I loved putting him down and going “Yuck.”

WHICH MANY PEOPLE ARE ALSO SAYING THESE DAYS ABOUT WOODY’S PENCHANT FOR CASTING HIMSELF OPPOSITE INCREASINGLY YOUNG BABES…
I wonder if that’s because they don’t accept him as an actor, but only “Woody Allen.” Plus his personal history makes it easier to….Well, there’s always a scapegoat. I mean, isn’t Martha Stewart going to be the scapegoat for the end of, you know, business as we know it in the stock market? I really believe that she’s gonna take the rap, because it’s just so much fun to hate her, and I feel there’s an element of that with him. The public wants to get back at him.

I BET YOU’D LIKE TO GET BACK AT PARAMOUNT FOR NOT DOING A SEQUEL TO THE MEGAHIT THE FIRST WIVES CLUB. GOLDIE HAWN TOLD ME IT WAS PARTLY BECAUSE THEY WOULDN’T GIVE Y’ALL A RAISE, BECAUSE YOU WEREN’T MEN, YOU WERE “WOMEN OF A CERTAIN AGE.”
Here’s what I think: “Well, yeah, in a better world, whatever, sure….but in the meantime we’re here and why not just take what they’re offering, because it’s still a lot?” Oh, well, whaddaya gonna do?

KEEP MOVING. LISTEN, I LOVED READING SOMEWHERE THAT YOU ADORE DOING KISSING SCENES, BECAUSE EVERYONE ELSE ALWAYS SAYS, “OH, IT’S ALL JUST TECHNICAL.”
It’s s-o-o much fun. Because you don’t have to pay for it—they have to act like they love you, and then you walk away and it’s over. Like with Mel Gibson [in Mrs. Soffel], I thought I was gonna DIE—I mean, it’s just so shocking that I am there looking at that, and that is saying this to me and am I DOING this?! [laughs]

YEAH, WELL, SINCE YOU’VE HAD WOODY, WARREN BEATTY, AND AL PACINO ALL KISSING YOU IN REAL-LIFE RELATIONSHIPS, YOU MUST BE PRETTY GOOD AT IT.
I think I just worked it really hard. [cracking up] I don’t think they went, “Oh, that girl there, that WOMAN!” No, I just persisted. And it never really worked out, did it?

OH, WELL, NOW YOU’VE GOT TWO [ADOPTED] KIDS FOR COMPANY. THEIR LAST NAME IS KEATON, NOT YOUR GIVEN ONE, HALL, SO YOU CHANGED YOURS LEGALLY, HUH?
Uh, no….it’s just my name is Keaton, so theirs is, too and I, uh….. [chuckles nervously] Hmmm, I guess, actually they ARE Halls. God, they’re gonna grow up going, “This woman doesn’t even know if she’s a Keaton or a Hall and THAT’S what I’m supposed to go with?!”

JUST TELL ‘EM IT’S THE APHASIA.
[In full Annie Hall mode] Oh, those poor kids, oh, my, oh, dear! God bless ‘em, man.

© 2008 Brantley Bardin. All Rights Reserved.

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Brantley D. Bardin
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