BootLeg Betty

BetteBack December 6, 1979: Midler afraid The Rose may fall short of success (Interview)

Lethbridge Herald
December 6, 1979


NEW YORK (AP) – “To tell you the truth, I’m pretty scared,” Bette Midler said.

‘I’m afraid that maybe they won’t like it.”

It, is The Rose, a movie about a self-destructive rock music singer in which she has the starring role.

“Whenever you put your heart into something, you just hope everyone will like it,” she said. “I’ve seen terrific pictures fall by Ihe wayside or lack of promotion. Or a reviewer got up on the wrong side of bed and stiffed it. I’ve seen that happen with records. You spend a few months making a record, hoping it catches on and then nothing. That can be pretty painful.”

Pain is a central theme in The Rose, and Midler said she has had most of the same problems Rose suffers on the screen.

“But never with such depth,” she said. “I’ve lost people I’ve loved very much. I’ve seen my mother die, best friends, a sister. But, I’ve never been in as much psychic pain as Rose.”

There are similarities between Rose and the late Janis Joplin, but Midler said Rose is her own creation. “They were both free spirits, wild and crazy kind of girls. But, I didn’t consciously try to imitate Janis or take a ride on her.

“Rose is a doomed, reckless girl on a train wilh no conductor,” she added. “She doesn’t have a centre, nothing to hang on to, and certainly no self respect. Yet she’s constantly striving for it.”

“She’s like the woman in that old Bette Davis movie, ‘A 9 o’clock girl in a 5 o’clock town.’ She wants to chew life up, all of it. So she went and grabbed it and it finally killed her.”

In the film, Rose fights her pain with drugs and alcohol.

In real life, Midler said she doesn’t fight her pain at all. “I let myself be in it, be terrified,” she said. “I’m a firm beliver in will. I’ve always been able to shake off despair.

“Some people can’t,” she said. “They find themselves sinking lower and lower until they can’t climb out of the hole they’ve dug for themselves.”

With her singing career firmly established, a new Broadway show and a movie career off to an impressive start, Ms. Midler, 33, is about to assume another career — author. She has writtena book called View From A broad, due in February.

“It’s the thing I”m most proud of,” she said. “We went on a world tour after finishing the movie, so it’s about The’ Divine Miss M encountering the world.

“It has bits of autobiographical stuff in it. Some of it’s true, some of it’s fiction. I don’t know what category they’re going to put it in. It’s the twisted viewpoint of someone who’s totally ignorant.”

“I hope they like it,” she sighed.

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