by Patricia Grandjean
Mar 22, 2012
10:39 AMBox Office
Q&A Web Exclusive: Shirley MacLaine
(page 3 of 5)
Anyway, getting back to the pleasures of being in front of a live audience: You've done a great deal of both theater and film work. What about each of those experiences appeals to you?
There's nothing more satisfying to me than an audience that is silently focused. It's absolute bliss, because it means people are thinking, they're involved with waht you're saying. When I performed in Las Vegas, whenever I heard a glass tinkling with ice, I knew I was doing something wrong.
But it's harder, much more difficult, than film. You have to be in excellent shape, and if there's something bothering you, you have to compartmentalize, so that you're in that immediate moment with the audience. But it's a collective moment of expression.
On the screen, you're missing that moment. I like them both. I'm very nervous on a live stage, except when I'm myself and talking about my own thoughts—I'm not nervous at all with that. I'm nervous if I have to memorize something; if I'm behind the proscenium arch. But I'm never nervous on a movie soundstage.
What are some of the movie clips you include in your show?
Oh my God [laughs]. I've done about 65 movies; I haven't yet counted them up. I decided I'd include the ones that had been nominated or won something, because I didn't know what else to pick. And some of them are better than others. But I have a remote control that I can use to stop a clip and tell what went on during the shooting. I try to give a glimpse of the people behind the characters. Because we're all creating another reality, then putting it together and calling it a movie.
So I tell them about all that stuff and what it's like, and what the creative differences were. And how you can fall in love because you're on set with the most attractive people in the world, and it's the edict of the day that you're honest and truthful about your emotions. And we all know, in the movie business, that what happens on the set stays there. So basically, you're safe.
Is that really true though? Because these days, there's so much gossip from the press . . .
But the brilliance of that is, they tell you so much you can't believe any of it.
I've been thinking about two movies of yours I've seen recently. The first, I'm sure you've been asked about a billion times, and that's The Apartment. I always wondered what it was like to film that, because it still seems such an astute reflection of the corporate culture. But the other one I saw—which I hadn't seen since childhood—was What a Way to Go!
[Laughs] The wardrobe movie!