Author: Gerosa, Melina
talk. (actresses Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn and Diane Keaton)(Interview)(Cover
and Diane are shrieking and laughing like long-lost girlfriends.
Relaxing on a Santa Monica terrace, the actresses are perched on
either side of a speakerphone, waiting for Bette Midler to join
in from a movie set in Toronto.
a noisy reunion, the first time they've been together since wrapping
The First Wives Club, a comedy about three women who get revenge
on their husbands after being dumped for bimbos. When the speakerphone
rings, LHJ tunes in
What was it like making The First Wives Club [in theaters September
We had a good time, didn't we, girls?
Yes, we did, babe!
Did anything special happen during the shoot? Bette: Well, we all
had our fiftieth birthdays within a month of one another. [Everyone
laughs.] There is something about three women the same age being
together. A few times it was like we were back in high school, because
it's a shared experience in a certain sense.
You haven't worked together before. Bette, what did you think of
Diane before you met her?
I always thought she was a consummate performer, and I never knew
how she did what she did. And then I spent three months watching
her, and I still couldn't figure it out!
Diane, what was it like working with your co-stars?
What's unique about Goldie is that she has a huge capacity to enjoy
life. We would share the makeup trailer every morning, and she would
get a cappuccino, and every day it was "the best cappuccino!
" [Goldie laughs.] It's fun to be around, because, you know,
I'm not that way at all. Bette is a voracious reader, and she is
very upset by things she reads in the paper. But this one [pointing
to Goldie] is in another zone.
There is a scene where you all sing "You Don't Own Me."
What was that like?
It was the last scene that we shot, it was three in the morning,
and Bette, you were gone! You started laughing so hard that you
fell down on the floor in your beautiful white outfit; do you remember
Did the three of you have a
Totally! I'll give you an example. After shooting a scene, it would
always be played back on the monitor. And Bette would constantly
be saying, "Come! Let's go to the monitor right now!"
And I would say, "No, Bette, I can't do that," and she
would say, "Well, how are you gonna know what you are doing?"
and Goldie would go over and look at it, but not always. And there
you have it. I was in mortal fear of seeing myself. Goldie was not
afraid of it, but wouldn't always do it, and Bette, well, she was
consumed by the monitor.
Speaking of what's fun to watch, what men do you like to watch up
Did you see Ed Harris in The Rock? He's beautiful!
I don't get it. He's got a really nice face. Now I totally agree
with that. But you know what he had none of when I worked with him
on Swing Shift? Humor--no humor.
Who does have a great sense of humor, then?
Steve Martin has a lot of humor. Kevin Costner, who I haven' t worked
with but who I know, has a lot of humor. Warren [Beatty] can be
really funny. He's intense when he is making a movie, but you can
laugh hard with him.
Really! That one is true.
He is an ex-boyfriend of both of yours, right?
He's an ex of hers [pointing to Diane]. I met him when we did Shampoo,
and that's when he was going
with Julie Christie. So I had an affair with Julie! [Laughs.] No,
we became really, really good friends, and he's been like family.
Do you remember that rumor that Julie Christie was going out with
I forgot about that! Totally not true, a seventies rumor.
How about you, Bette? Who's sexy onscreen?
I don't think there's been anyone with great sex appeal since Elvis
died, to tell you the truth.
What about Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp?
They are all little boys. I'm sorry. I like M-E-N!
Oh, Gene Hackman, right?
Gene Hackman's good. I don't like Peter Pan. It's like the difference
between Spencer Tracy and Brad Pitt. Who would you rather watch?
It depends how much they're wearing.
Oh, girls, all right. I'm a stick in the mud. But this whole fascination
with guys' butts and biceps has completely ruined it for actresses.
Most of the pictures being made now are male action pictures. There
isn't one female actor in the top ten, and that's really pathetic.
What about Demi Moore? She commands a large salary.
But she's not in that Jim Carrey league.
Do you think Hollywood is better or worse for women than it was
twenty years ago?
I don't agree with that.
I don't either. There's more opportunity.
Right. Women can direct. Goldie is directing a cable movie this
fall. And Bette, you do everything. You sing.
Is it harder growing older in Hollywood than elsewhere?
I remember when I was young, and I thought it was a miracle that
Joan Baez looked so good--and she was twenty-nine! I was screaming,
thinking about that the other day!
How have you come to make peace with aging?
Well, I have a seventeen-year-old daughter, and she said to me,
"Mommy, I want to be just like you when I'm fifty." Now,
that is the greatest compliment that I can get.
There are ways to sustain joy inside of you, and one of them is
to not forget the stuff you knew when you were twenty.
Like how to have fun. How to dance. How to put on music in your
house and have fun with your kids.
So staying young is more of a perspective?
Yes, and Diane is the first person I met in my age group that has
this quality--you know, when you look into a baby's eyes, and everything
is new? As you get older, you notice that people's eyes sort of
deaden because they lose their curiosity, they lose that wonder.
How do you keep yourself young?
The key is, break it down. Ask those questions, challenge yourself,
face your fears--all the things that we think we can't do- -we can't
open that door, it's too scary. I remember one time I thought to
myself, Oh, no, maybe I'm a lesbian. Scariest thing I ever thought.
Why did I think I was a lesbian? Why not! [laughs] Because I looked
at a pretty girl and I thought, Oh God, she's great, ooh, oh my
God, I'm a lesbian. Whatever it is, you think, I'm afraid to say
it, and suddenly when you say it, it goes away.
What else have you learned about staying happy?
I've learned that if you know that you are giving all that you can
give, and it still doesn't make the difference, you must give up
control over others. The only person that you can control in the
whole entire universe is yourself. Other than that, you might as
well throw in the towel early.
I agree with you.
Let's say that you are having an important function, and your friend
calls and says, "I can't come." Now, a lot of women would
feel let down and harbor it. That's all wrong. Just say, "Okay,
whatever you need to do," and let it go. And the same with
your children. You have to be real clear about what's right and
what's wrong for them, but boy, people smother their kids with control.
In other words, it's more about changing your expectations than
changing the people you love.
Exactly. Like, I've been trying to get Sally Field to wear off-the-shoulder
clothes. She has the most beautiful body in the world! I say, "Show
your shoulder, it's gorgeous!" and I pull her sweater down.
And she says, "Gold, don't ever do that; that's not who I am.
You just make me crazy!" And we laugh about it. So guess what?
You can't make people be anything other than what they are.
Diane, what do you know about yourself that you didn't know when
you were in your twenties?
I was a late developer. Everything was slow in coming. My twenties
were a fearful time because I was very, very ambitious, and I didn'
t really know it. I couldn't even say I wanted to be an actress.
I went to acting school, and I still didn't say I was an actress,
that' s how frightened I was. But I wanted to learn, and that's
the important thing, if you have enough curiosity to sustain you.
Bette, what keeps you going?
It's girlfriend stuff. We don't see our girlfriends enough. You
guys have so much history and such rich lives, and we can talk about
it all. My whole professional life I've said, "I can't stand
actors." And then I realized on this picture that I really
Goldie, what do you do to get your self out of a rut? Goldie: I'll
get on my bike and go out into nature. I will force myself to get
my blood going so my brain starts to work better. Suddenly, I realize
on my way up the mountain, I have a smile on my face that doesn't
For me, I like to get into the car. I'll drive down to Arizona or
to my mother's in Corona del Mar. It takes you away, but it also
feeds your imagination. Just the other day I was lost in downtown
L.A., and I couldn't believe the subcultures I was seeing. The world
Speaking of subcultures, let's talk about men. Goldie, you recently
said that women are idiots if they expect men to take care of them.
It's a woman's job to take care of herself.
Boy, if we haven't learned that by now!
If I depended on Kurt to make me happy, I wouldn't be happy. He
has brought things into my life that I was missing: a father for
my children, a man who laughs the way I do, somebody to share real,
straight, fundamental values. But it isn't always the main source
of contentment. I have to have time with my friends. I have to have
my alone time. All these things are what makes up the whole. I'm
only saying this because we have a tendency, when there isn't a
man in our lives, to focus on that in a big way.
So for Goldie, happiness is balance. What keeps you content, Diane?
For me, it's probably that I enjoy all kinds of things. I met this
woman at a swap meet who runs a local library, and she invited me
to come in and look at the photographs. So now I'm working on what
will probably be a photographic book on local crime in Los Angeles.
And didn't you recently adopt a baby girl?
Yes, nine months ago. Dexter is a great baby. It's truly astonishing
for me; I mean, it's really wonderful. I love it.
So, ladies, you are all so busy. Any chance the three of you will
be able to get together again to make another movie?
Yes, why don't we make The Rock? With Goldie in a bikini! [Screams
Bette, you are sick!
An action-adventure meets Baywatch! Okay, they are calling me back
to the set, girls; I gotta go.
Lots of love!
You too. Talk to you both soon.
We try to call one another, but Diane's got the baby, Bette' s got
[her eight-year-old daughter] Sophie, I've got the kids. Now that
the movie is over, the reality is we are not going to hang out every
day; that's the sad part.
But it was really great to have the experience of seeing one another
If there is one thing I learned on this movie, it's that if we were
little kids on the block, we would be best, best, best friends.
Melina, Girl talk. (actresses Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn and Diane
Keaton)(Interview)(Cover Story). Vol. 113, Ladies Home Journal,
09-01-1996, pp 134(5).