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Ladies Home Journal
Author: Gerosa, Melina
Date: 09-01-1996

Girl talk. (actresses Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn and Diane Keaton)(Interview)(Cover Story)

Goldie 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.

It's 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

LHJ: What was it like making The First Wives Club [in theaters September 20] together?

Bette: We had a good time, didn't we, girls?

Diane: Yes, we did, babe!

LHJ: 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.

LHJ: You haven't worked together before. Bette, what did you think of Diane before you met her?

Bette: 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!

LHJ: Diane, what was it like working with your co-stars?

Diane: 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.

LHJ: There is a scene where you all sing "You Don't Own Me." What was that like?

Diane: 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 that?

LHJ: Did the three of you have a

Diane: 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.

LHJ: Speaking of what's fun to watch, what men do you like to watch up onscreen?

Diane: Did you see Ed Harris in The Rock? He's beautiful!

Goldie: 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.

LHJ: Who does have a great sense of humor, then?

Goldie: 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.

Diane: Really! That one is true.

LHJ: He is an ex-boyfriend of both of yours, right?

Goldie: 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.

Diane: Do you remember that rumor that Julie Christie was going out with Lauren Hutton?

Goldie: I forgot about that! Totally not true, a seventies rumor.

LHJ: How about you, Bette? Who's sexy onscreen?

Bette: I don't think there's been anyone with great sex appeal since Elvis died, to tell you the truth.

Diane: What about Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp?

Bette: They are all little boys. I'm sorry. I like M-E-N!

Diane: Oh, Gene Hackman, right?

Bette: 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?

LHJ: It depends how much they're wearing.

Bette: 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.

Diane: What about Demi Moore? She commands a large salary.

Bette: But she's not in that Jim Carrey league.

LHJ: Do you think Hollywood is better or worse for women than it was twenty years ago?

Bette: Way worse.

Diane: I don't agree with that.

Goldie: I don't either. There's more opportunity.

Diane: Right. Women can direct. Goldie is directing a cable movie this fall. And Bette, you do everything. You sing.

LHJ: Is it harder growing older in Hollywood than elsewhere?

Goldie: 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!

LHJ: How have you come to make peace with aging?

Goldie: 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.

Diane: Right.

Goldie: 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.

LHJ: Like what?

Goldie: Like how to have fun. How to dance. How to put on music in your house and have fun with your kids.

LHJ: So staying young is more of a perspective?

Goldie: 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.

LHJ: How do you keep yourself young?

Goldie: 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.

LHJ: What else have you learned about staying happy?

Goldie: 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.

Diane: I agree with you.

Goldie: 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.

LHJ: In other words, it's more about changing your expectations than changing the people you love.

Goldie: 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.

LHJ: Diane, what do you know about yourself that you didn't know when you were in your twenties?

Diane: 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.

LHJ: Bette, what keeps you going?

Bette: 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 prefer actors!

LHJ: 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 wipe off.

Diane: 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 is amazing.

LHJ: 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.

Diane: Boy, if we haven't learned that by now!

Goldie: 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.

LHJ: So for Goldie, happiness is balance. What keeps you content, Diane?

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.

LHJ: And didn't you recently adopt a baby girl?

Diane: Yes, nine months ago. Dexter is a great baby. It's truly astonishing for me; I mean, it's really wonderful. I love it.

LHJ: So, ladies, you are all so busy. Any chance the three of you will be able to get together again to make another movie?

Bette: Yes, why don't we make The Rock? With Goldie in a bikini! [Screams with laughter.]

Goldie: Bette, you are sick!

Bette: An action-adventure meets Baywatch! Okay, they are calling me back to the set, girls; I gotta go.

Diane: Lots of love!

Bette: You too. Talk to you both soon.

Goldie: 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.

Diane: But it was really great to have the experience of seeing one another every day.

Goldie: 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.

Gerosa, 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).