Rita Dove's poetry career has spanned more than forty years. During that time she won a Pulitzer Prize and became the first African-American poet laureate of the United States. Now she's released a new edition of collected works. Rita Dove on a life lived in verse.
Millions know Diane Keaton for her role as “Annie Hall.” The award-winning actress has appeared in some of the most memorable movies of the past four decades. She’s starred in many of Woody Allen’s best-known films. Fans of “The Godfather” know her as Kay. And a new generation of moviegoers have laughed with her in comedies like “Something’s Gotta Give” with Jack Nicholson. Keaton’s new memoir looks beyond her film career to the relationship she shared with her mother. Dorothy Hall kept 85 journals in which she wrote about her marriage, her children, and herself. Diane Keaton on her her life off-screen and the bond with her mother that defined them both.
- Diane Keaton actress, director, producer, and author
Diane Keaton once said, “There was no love of my life except my mother.” The award-winning actress has starred in some of the most memorable movies ever made, among them “The Godfather” trilogy and “Annie Hall.” Now in a new memoir, she writes about her life off-screen and the bond with her mother that defines them both.
A Devoted Listener
“I used to love to spend time with my mother just sitting across from her at the kitchen counter and telling her about my problems,” Keaton said. Her mother would never judge, but rather, she’d listen and tell Keaton things would be all right. Keaton calls her mother the most active, intense, and devoted listener that she had ever come across in her life. In contrast, Keaton calls her father “a debater” rather than a listener, but as she got older, she says this was a way for her to get to know and enjoy him.
Finding the Journals
Keaton’s mother was always working on a journal, and Keaton found 85 of them. At one point during the 1980s, Keaton’s mother wrote her a letter musing about whether she could write her own memoir. Keaton had an agent at the time, and could have helped her, but did not respond to the letter. “I feel obviously a lot of regret that I was a person who insisted on remaining a daughter and not growing up in relation to my mother,” Keaton said. “It was kinda like she was asking me to be interested in her interests, and I just didn’t take her up on it,” Keaton said.
Becoming a Mother Late in Life
Keaton decided to adopt two children after turning 50. “I didn’t quite manage to find a relationship that had any lasting value,” she said. When she was about 45 years old, her father was diagnosed with brain cancer, and he told her that he had always hated his job and that he wished he had taken more risks. It made her think of all the risks she hadn’t taken, at least in her relationships. “He really was the person who helped me come to a decision about what my life was going to be,” she said. “And I wanted to make a change and I knew that – I knew that I as going to adopt a baby based on that moment with my father.”
Paths Not Taken
Keaton has had many interests outside of acting, including music and designing. “I wanted to be a singer so bad,” Keaton said. She never plays music around her house because, she says, “It just takes you over. It’s the most powerful of all the arts to me.” She has broad tastes in music. “I don’t know if you know Kanye West and Jay-Z…I jog and sing to Jay-Z,” she said.
You can read the full transcript here.
MS. DIANE REHMThanks for joining us I'm Diane Rehm. Diane Keaton once said, there was no love of my life except my mother. The award-winning actress has starred in some of the most memorable movies ever made, among them "The Godfather" trilogy and "Annie Hall."
MS. DIANE REHMNow in a new memoir she writes about her life off screen and the bond with her mother that defines them both. The book is titled "Then Again" and Diane Keaton joins me in the studio. Throughout the hour we'll take your calls, 800-433-8850. Send us your email to email@example.com and join us on Facebook or send us a tweet. Diane Keaton, how wonderful to meet you.
MS. DIANE KEATONThank you, thank you, Diane.
REHMWe are two Dianes here in the studio together. I want to tell people how you're dressed.
KEATONOh, please do.
REHMYou have a darling -- what kind of hat do you call that?
KEATONI would call this a man's bolero hat...
REHMA man's bolero hat.
KEATON...with a high crown, though...
KEATON...so I can push it down.
KEATONAnd hide my face, Diane.
REHMAnd hide your face.
KEATONI'm not stupid.
REHMWe have been talking about this before we've gone on the air, about the fact that I have said, I am never doing anything to my face. You had, at one point, said you would prefer not to do anything to your face.
KEATONI would prefer it, but, you know, I'm always afraid when I make these pronouncements. It's sort of like when I was young, I said, I'm never, ever going to have intercourse before marriage. That would have been a big loss for me and so I don't want to like, you know, and I don't think that it's right to go to headshrinkers. I mean, some of the...
KEATON...stupidest things came out of my mouth. I think that, yeah, I don't want to just make a law here, but I would prefer to age as gracefully as I can with the face I am given.
REHMExactly, exactly. I think, with your face, you can afford to be an example to the world of what a beautiful woman's face looks like as it ages.
KEATONMaybe, maybe, okay, I like what you're saying.
REHMI want to talk about the cover of your book because this is straight out of "Annie Hall."
REHMYour mom is on the back cover. That is such a gorgeous picture.
KEATONIsn't she beautiful?
REHMShe really is. She's absolutely beautiful.
KEATONDon't you think?
REHMI understand what you're saying.
KEATON...great straight nose, beautiful face actually, beautiful, wide jaw, but of course, she didn't feel she was beautiful.
KEATONNo, not at all, no.
REHMTell me about your relationship with her growing up.
KEATONWell, of course, I was just devoted to my mother because she was devoted to me. My mother was by far the most active, intense, devoted listener that I've ever come across in my life.
KEATONI used to love to spend time with my mother just sitting across from her at the kitchen counter and telling her about my problems. I had many problems and she would always sit there and she would also look and go, oh Diane, it's going to be alright. She never made a judgment call. She just allowed me to go on and on and was always, as I said, actively interested, so she was this fabulous person to listen to and she had a great sense of humor.
KEATONSo you know she would laugh and she would encourage me and this is true with my siblings as well, Randy, Robin and Dorrie. So this was a great gift and I don't think people really understand how important listening is. You know my problem in life has always been that I like to express myself.
KEATONI don't like to listen as much as I like to express myself, but I'm learning and I do think it's a great gift because I think it makes for a more enriched life, but it's hard sometimes.
KEATONYou want to be the person who finds an audience and is seeking out attention and my mother really did encourage all of us to tell her what we thought so she was really kind of like my first psychiatrist.
REHMWhat about your father?
KEATONMy father was very different, Jack Hall. He was always -- he was a civil engineer. He had a very interesting background. His mother, Mary Hall, drove from Nebraska, brought him to California and Mary was more man than woman, that's the way we described Mary. She was a fine Irish matriarch and there was a difference between Mary and Grammy Keaton. There were these two Grammys.
KEATONMy mother's mother was Grammy Keaton and of course Grammy Hall was my father, Jack Hall's mother. And you would describe my Grammy Hall as like I told you more man than woman and Grammy Keaton's face was filled with faith. We're talking about the '30s, 1930 right? And Grammy Keaton would always make us angel food cake and Grammy Hall would always make us, when she did make a cake, devil's food cake.
KEATONAnd Grammy Keaton was someone who devoutly believed in Heaven and while Grammy Hall was a Catholic she felt that Heaven was a lot of bunk so my father, you know, had this very unique mother who had been abandoned by his father and she never told anybody. So we didn't know who this man was and she didn't allow anybody to ask questions and so my father of course complied and never asked anything about his father. We sometimes wondered if he was a bastard, that's what you called them in those days, if you didn't have. Maybe she hadn't married this man, Chester Hall.
KEATONMy father died never knowing anything about his father including his first name. His first name was Chester. It turns out that Chester was a barber who had been killed in a labor dispute, murdered. So these stories just were astonishing.
KEATONSo this Mary Hall was some character. So my father wasn't really a man to discuss his feelings or things like that. He was very, he always encouraged success. He always asked me to ask a lot of questions, that's what he did and I always... oh we're moving on.
REHMNo, I just want...
KEATONI want to keep going on. I'm rambling and rambling on.
REHMNo, I just, I wanted to ask you...
REHM...your father was a listener.
KEATONOh my father was, no, not, no, no, no, no. No one could be like my mother as a listener. She was graceful. She was encouraging and comfortable and warm. My father was a debater. My father and I used to debate together when I got older and this became a kind of a way that I got to know him and enjoy him. He was also a man who loved nature so we were, you know, we were a family of the '50s.
KEATONWe were a very average American family in Southern California in the '50s and my father's heart went to the ocean and we would camp out at Huntington Beach and Doheny Beach. And we were constantly driving and camping and my dad would always sit out and look at the ocean. And that was the love of his life. He was a surfer. He was a skindiver. He was a man of the water.
REHMSounds as though he was more internal...
REHM...than your mother opening herself to what was coming...
KEATONTo us, to the children, yes, and I think that their marriage was a classic marriage of the '50s, her role was to be of course the housekeeper in life and in fact in my book I talk about my mother who had these other ambitions that of course she didn't really fulfill, but when she was young, she entered the Mrs. America Contest at the local level and this was at Mrs. Highland Park. She was trying to become Mrs. Highland Park and I remember I was nine years old and there was this stage in this movie theater. It was the first I'd been in a movie theater by myself at night. It was very exciting.
KEATONI was sitting there and I was looking and my mother was onstage with four other women and suddenly I hear her name. And so then they put a crown on her head and it was like the most insane image ever. I will never forget it. And I'm going wait. I don't understand. What's going on?
KEATONWhat's my mother doing up there? What is this? And then the curtain parted. I'll never forget this, this curtain parted and this cornucopia of gifts from like. She had a wardrobe from Ivers Department Store and a set of Samsonite luggage and a Philco washer and dryer. And I just was like, wait a minute this is like, this is one of those milestone memories. You know it's like that was the moment I knew that I would have to. I would have to go on stage...
REHMYou wanted to be onstage?
KEATONOf course it had to be me and I also was very worried that what would happen to my mother if she. You know she went on to become Mrs. Los Angeles too by the way and she was crowned by Art Linkletter, the famous Art Linkletter at The Ambassador Hotel. So we started to get very nervous in the family. Were we going to lose our mother? Like was she going to become another Bess Meyerson or something horrible like that? And I wouldn't have my, you know afternoon snacks with her and where would she go? And why would she have...
REHMSo what happened?
KEATONShe became -- she made it to the finalists of Mrs. California, but I think she felt the pressure from kind of all of us that we didn't want her to win Mrs. America or go off and leave us and become a spokesperson or, I don't know, write a column for McCall's magazine. I don't know.
REHMSo instead, she turned her enormous talent to doing for you all and writing in these 85 journals you found.
KEATONYes, yes, she did. I remember seeing my mother kind of like, when there was a moment and there were not many moments, just trying to find a place to go and be by herself for half an hour. And there, obviously, she had a whole secret world, an internal world that we knew nothing about. I think we instinctively felt it, all of us but we didn't have very much curiosity because our need was so overpowering for her. You know we didn't really want to know what it was like in her, what her dreams were basically, you know what were Dorothy's dreams.
KEATONShe was always enabling mine, but I didn't really want to know hers.
REHMDiane Keaton and her new memoir with her as "Annie Hall" on the front and her beautiful mother, Dorothy Hall on the back, we'll be right back.
DIANE KEATON AS ANNIEHi, hi, hi.
WOODY ALLEN AS ALVYHi, oh, hi, hi.
ALVYYou -- you play very well.
ANNIEOh, yeah? So do you. Oh, God, what a -- what a dumb thing to say, right. I mean, you said you play well and then right away I have to say you play well. Oh, oh God, Annie. Well, oh well, la-de-da, la-de-da, la-la, yeah.
ALVYYou -- you want a lift?
ANNIEOh, why? You got a car?
ALVYNo. I'm -- I was gonna take a cab.
ANNIEOh, no. I have a car.
ALVYYou have a car? So I don't understand, if you have a car so then -- then why -- why'd you say do you have a car, like you wanted a lift?
ANNIEI don't -- I don't -- oh jeez, I don't know. I wasn't -- it's -- I got this VW out there. What a jerk, yeah. Would you like a lift?
ALVYSure. Which way you going?
ALVYI'm -- I'm -- I'm going uptown.
ANNIEOh, well, you know, I'm going uptown too.
ALVYWait a minute, you just said you were going downtown.
ANNIEYeah, well, but I mean --
ANNIE-- I can go uptown, too. I live uptown, but what the hell. I mean, it'd be nice having company, you know. I mean, I hate driving alone.
REHMDiane Keaton, what's it like for you listening to that?
KEATONWell, it's very different than seeing it because when you see it -- and I have seen clips obviously of this scene. I get caught up in the visual. I'm more visual than verbal. And to hear it is so astonishing how Woody captured an essence of me. It's almost as if I'm listening to somebody in real life actually talking and actually -- like reality TV. It's just -- it's amazing what he wrote. It's absolutely astonishing how he captured the sound and the nuance and the kind of weird rhythm that I have when I speak, and also the kind of missed seconds. And it's just -- it's pretty -- it's his writing. It's just his writing.
REHMHe wrote that for you.
KEATONYeah, he did write that for me. Yes, he did. And you can tell 'cause it sure sounds like me, doesn't it?
REHMWell, and the other aspect of that is exactly as you say, it sounds like you.
REHMSo he wrote it with you in mind. How did you and he first meet?
KEATONOh, it was at an audition for "Play it Again, Sam" the play. I was in "Hair" at the time and I knew a person who knew the director who got me the audition. It was -- I mean -- and so I met him on stage at the Broadhurst Theater. And I auditioned and I got the part. Isn't that amazing?
KEATONYeah, I know.
REHMAnd then he wrote this for you.
KEATONYes, he did. But as you know, as you -- if you look at what he's -- you know, this -- Woody's work throughout the years he really does have an amazing capacity to capture other people's voices, particularly women's. It's really quite a gift. Because it's almost like there was a tape recorder taping a conversation as opposed to having written it down. But he wrote that down. He created that scene. I never met him like that. Was nothing like that at all.
REHMI was going to ask whether in fact that dialogue was simply on the spot...
REHM...because it is your voice.
REHMTotally your voice.
KEATONNo, this is his gift. He's a (unintelligible) ...
REHMWhat was -- what was your relationship with Woody Allen at the time?
KEATONAt the time, we were friends. We had been romantic and -- we'd been romantically linked before, but when -- by the time "Annie Hall" rolled around, we were friends. We were no longer an item, as they say.
REHMDo you see him now?
KEATONOh, yeah, I do.
KEATONOh, every time I go to New York City I see him.
REHMHow did you feel when his marriage -- his relationship with Mia Farrow broke up?
KEATONI'm always sad when relationships break up because I know that there's a lot of pain attached to any kind of a breakup. Particularly one involving, you know, a family. So it was sad and I was very upset for all parties like it always is.
REHMYeah, it's tough. Do you think you'll ever make another movie with him?
KEATONWith Woody? I don’t know. I went back in "Radio Days" and I was -- he asked me to sing a song and that was completely -- that was my idea of heaven. I always wanted to be a singer. So I don't know. I went back, you know, and "Manhattan Murder Mystery" as well. And that was extremely fun because he had changed his style. What he -- at that point he was doing those handheld movies. I don't know if you remember those. "Husbands and Wives" was one.
KEATONSo this was just like, oh what are we doing? There's no marks, there's -- it's just free. And I remember he would go and he would look at a scene and he would say, this is just way too long. He'd go into another room and then he'd cut the scene in half, rewrite it and boom, there you are again. And we're out there shooting that thing. And it was so much fun, it was so exciting. And it was, you know, like no one else. Always his movies, he's always had this tendency to downplay the role of the artist, the actors, artists.
KEATONYou know, I'd go up to him, I'd say, well what should I be doing in this scene? And he would say, just do it. Don't talk to me about it.
REHMJust do it.
KEATONJust do the scene and don't worry about it and stop standing on the mark so perfectly. Just be yourself.
KEATONOh my God, I would -- I wanted to be a singer so bad.
KEATONBut obviously I've wanted to be many things. Have you noticed?
KEATONThere's a lot of -- I -- you know, I wanted to be a designer. Now I've got this product at Bed Bath and Beyond. I've wanted -- I'm a jack of all trades master of none.
REHMAnd you're --
KEATONAnd Chico's, of course. There I am.
REHMAnd Chico's -- on the cover of Chico's. The singing.
KEATONYeah, the singing is still -- oh, I love music and I love singing. And in fact, you know, I don't ever, ever play music around the house. I don't ever want to hear it because it's too much. It is the most extraordinary -- I can't live with music because it just takes you over. It's the most powerful of all the arts to me. Music -- don't you feel that way? You listen to music and it just -- oh, it takes your whole soul. Don’t you feel that way?
REHMI love to be in my car.
KEATONOh yeah, alone, right.
KEATONThat I understand, yeah.
REHM...with the music...
REHMIt's just fabulous.
KEATONAnd I love to sing. I still sing. I mean, you know, I love this -- you know, I love all music too. I don't know if you know Kanye West and Jay-Z. This new album of theirs, oh my God, they're -- and I sing with me and I'm thinking they probably think this very strange woman, this woman, you know, age 65...
REHMI love it.
KEATON...I jog and sing to Jay-Z…
REHMI love it, I love it.
KEATON...and Kanye West. They're brilliant.
REHMAll right. I want to go back for a moment to your mother because you found these 85 journals.
KEATONWell, they were lying around the house.
KEATONYes, but she had them in one room in particular but she was always working on a journal. And I remember that I came across a journal in the '70s. This was -- this may be before or after "Annie Hall" and I remember that I was using her dark room. And I saw -- you know, she was a big -- we were all into collage. Collage was kind of the metaphor for our family. You know, just taking things, visual things, throwing them together, mixing them up and then coming up with something new. And what were you looking at and it was really a very exciting thing.
KEATONThat was one thing that mother was just so -- I don't know -- she taught us how to see. She taught us how to appreciate beauty. I remember her taking me to a museum when I was a girl. And we were looking at statues, Greek statues or Roman statues. And the lion -- you know how it is, like the lion would be missing its nose or the woman didn't have an arm. And my mother would say, Diane, look at this. Just look at this, Diane. Isn't that beautiful? And I'd say, why? Why? They don't have -- where's the nose? And mom would say, no don't you see? Look at how amazing that is in itself. Look at that. And it's just -- that's what she did for all of us. All of us are visual and she taught us how to see in a way...
REHMBut once you got into these journals and began to really...
KEATONOh, well, that's a different part of her life (unintelligible) ...
REHM...see your mother.
REHMWhat was the gut reaction on your part?
KEATONWell, at the first time, that time when I actually looked through one of them I saw an item about, oh she was working at Hunter's bookstore and she was making $1.39 an hour and she was kind of excited by this. $1.39 an hour? I'm going, really. And then she -- and then I turned the pages and I found this other excerpt that said, for you readers in the future, watch out. You know, you friggin' bastard, Jack. And I just went, that's it. I closed it. I never opened...
REHMBecause she was talking about your dad.
KEATONHer real feelings and she was talking about my father. And it was too much for me to address her needs, her feelings, her aspirations for herself. And so I never -- I never read any of her journals.
REHMDid you say anything to her?
KEATONNo, no. No. I pretended like I never seen it.
REHMSo then when you went back for the writing of this book and really took in those journals, what was your gut reaction?
KEATONMy gut reaction was that it was like I was being transported back to then. You know, that's what I titled it, "Then Again." But it was then again where I was learning about my mother and how complicated and how her feelings were sometimes euphoric but other times very insecure and unhappy and unfulfilled that she didn't really have the -- I remember one time I read -- while I was reading this for the book that she had -- I read a whole journal that it was her intention to write her own memoir. And she had titled it "Memories." And it was just really about her early girl days. And it's in the book and I used a lot of that.
KEATONAnd you see that she really did want to write this -- and she wrote me a letter. I have the letter. At the time it must've been the '80s that I -- she had written that and she wrote me a letter about wanting to write a memoir. And, you know, I had an agent at the time. I could've helped her out. She might've been able to have written her own memoir. And I did nothing for her. And I didn't even remember the letter, 'cause it was convenient for me not to remember that she might've needed something.
KEATONSo just to tell you how I feel, I feel obviously a lot of regret that I was a person who insisted on remaining a daughter and not growing up in relation to my mother. I really wish that I -- you know, why couldn't she have written a memoir? She did -- she has the material. But it was kinda like she was asking me to be interested in her interests and I just didn't take her up on it.
REHMAnd you're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." Diane Keaton is here in the studio. Her new memoir just published by Random House is titled "Then Again." All right. We're going to open the phones and go first to Long Island, N.Y. Good morning, Scott.
SCOTTHi, good morning, Diane and Diane.
SCOTTMy mother's also Diane so this may be the most Dianes I've been talking to in a day.
REHMOh, my gosh.
SCOTTMy comment is, Diane Keaton, you're really a part of my family history probably without even knowing it. My twin sisters are 26 years old and they were Baby Elizabeth in "Baby Boom."
KEATONNo. Oh, no. No. How are they? Oh, they were beautiful babies. Oh my God.
SCOTTWell, they're beautiful girls.
KEATONAre they? Oh, that is fabulous. That is hilarious.
SCOTTYeah, so you come up in conversation all the time at family gatherings. I haven't -- I was five years old at the time so I have some memory of it. But they're doing great and we talk about you all the time.
KEATONAre they actresses?
SCOTTNo. They're both teachers.
REHMScott, I'm glad you called.
KEATONThank you, Scott.
DIANE KEATON AS JC WIATTI was very excited about this offer, but, you know, I don't think I really thought about what it meant. And you see, I'm not the "Tiger Lady" anymore. I mean, I have a crib in my office and there's a mobile over my desk and I really like that. I mean, Fritz, do you remember that night when you told me about the things that I was gonna have to give up and the sacrifices that I was gonna have to make? Well, I don't wanna make those sacrifices. And the bottom line is, nobody should have to.
DIANE KEATON AS JC WIATTNo. I don't think this is gonna work out. And I'll be honest with you, I think I'm doing pretty good on my own. To be quite frank, if the Food Chain could put Country Baby on every supermarket shelf in America, so can I. I'm sorry. I just think the rat race is gonna have to survive with one less rat.
REHMAnd that was, of course, from "Baby Boom."
KEATON"Baby Boom," yeah.
REHMTell us about your own children.
KEATONOh, all right. Well, as you know I adopted my daughter when I was 50. And Dexter is now 15 years old. And, in fact, I'm flying home tomorrow to California. And on Saturday we have a big swim meet. And Dexter is going to be swimming the 200 back, the 200 breast. And we've got a big weekend ahead of us. So Dexter is a swimmer. She's part of a swim club called Team Santa Monica.
KEATONAnd Duke is also a swimmer. That's my son and Duke is five years younger than Dexter. And he's beginning to really enjoy tennis and he's very fast. Duke is fast. So I think tennis is probably going to be the game for Duke because -- so these sports have really kind of become -- you know, my family, we were not sports oriented really. I was -- in fact, growing up, look, you know, I thought it was disgusting for a woman to play sports in all events because I was very interested in being Twiggy. You understand what I mean.
KEATONOr Audrey Hepburn.
KEATONI was interested in passion of course, you know. So now that I'm a sports mom, I can't believe where my life has -- I mean, my life has gone from one extreme to another. And it's so much fun for me. You have no idea. I so enjoy it.
REHMWhat prompted you at age 50...
KEATONFifty, yeah. Well, as you know, I kinda failed in my relationships. I didn't quite -- I didn't quite manage to find a relationship that had any real lasting value. And my father -- when I was about 45, my father -- you know, he was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. And I'd been living my life basically, as we now know, pretty much involved with myself and my romances and my career. And I remember I was driving him home and he was -- should I not say it?
REHMNo, I want you to finish it.
KEATONDiane is kind of an orchestrating person.
KEATONYou are. You're fabulous.
REHMAnd at this point, we'll hold that story until we come back.
REHMIt's seems that just as we're having to break Diane Keaton is in the middle of a wonderful story. Finish the story about your dad.
KEATONSo he'd been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and he had been put on this experimental program and he failed. And he was sent home to, you know, it's the quality of life not the quantity, which is, of course, ridiculous, but, in any event, I was driving him home from the hospital -- UCLA Medical Center. And we were just driving along and I didn't know what to say to my father. I don't know, it felt awkward.
KEATONAnd then, suddenly, he said to me, you know, Diane, I always hated my job. And I'm going -- yeah, and I wish that I had spent more time with you kids. I wish that I had traveled more. I wish I'd taken more risks. And that was it, when he said risks, for some reason, that really resonated so powerfully for me because I thought about all the risks that I hadn't taken -- certainly revolving around the word, intimacy.
KEATONAnd so he really was -- he really was the person who helped me come to realize that I had to make a decision about what my life was going to be. And I wanted to make a change and I knew that -- I knew that I was going to adopt a baby based on that moment with my father.
REHMDid you adopt the two at the same time?
KEATONOh, no, no.
KEATONDexter was first and then five years later it was Duke.
KEATONSo, I was 55 when I adopted Duke -- 55 years old, yeah, because I felt that Dexter needed to have somebody to experience what she would be going through with me. When she's 30 I'll be 80. I didn't want her to go through that alone. And, also, I thought she needed -- she needed to experience what it is to have a sibling because, for me, my siblings have meant so much in my life now. We've come -- we've become even closer.
REHMYou not only saw your father go through brain cancer...
REHM...you saw your mother go through difficulty at the end.
KEATONYeah, problems with the brain. Yes, my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 1993 and then, again, later more -- it was sort of, like, she might have this problem and she got this letter, but then it was the diagnosis became official. And I remember she told Robin, my sister, she said just please be sure to remind me to kill myself before I get too far gone. I want to commit suicide. She didn't, of course, thank God, but she -- in a way she felt like she didn't want to be a burden to anybody.
REHMI understand. Lots of people are asking about the movie, "Reds."
JOHN J HOOKER AS SENATOR OVERMANDo you believe in God?
DIANE KEATON AS LOUISE BRYANTI beg your pardon.
OVERMANIt's a simple question, Ms. Bryant. Now, do you want me to repeat it?
BRYANTI'm sorry. For a moment, I thought you asked me if I believed there's a God.
OVERMANThat is precisely what I asked you.
BRYANTI see. Well, I have no way of knowing.
OVERMANAre you a Christian?
BRYANTI was christened in the Catholic Church.
OVERMANWell, are you Christian now?
BRYANTI suppose I am.
OVERMANDo you believe in our Lord Jesus Christ?
BRYANTI believe in the teachings of Christ. Am I being tried for witchcraft?
OVERMANMs. Bryant, tell me, are there no decent God-fearing Christians among the Bolsheviks?
BRYANTDoes one have to be God-fearing and Christian to be decent? Senator, the Bolsheviks believe that it's religion, particularly Christianity, that's kept the Russian people back for so many centuries.
BRYANTIf any of you had ever been to Russia and seen the peasants, you might think they had a point. On the subject of decency, Senator, the Bolsheviks took power with the slogan, An End To The War. Within six months, they made good their promise to the Russian people. Now the present president of the United States of America went to this country in 1916 on a no-war ticket, within six months, you'd taken us into the war and 115,000 young Americans didn't come back. If that's how decent God-fearing Christians behave, give me atheists anytime.
BRYANTBy the way, Senator Overman, in Russia, women have the vote, which is more than you can say for this country.
OVERMANMs. Bryant, do you advocate a Soviet government for this country?
BRYANTNo. In this country, I don't think it would work.
KEATONThat is a wow. I've never heard that clip before. Do you know separate from actually seeing the movie where you just single out that clip Warren did a lot of work on that movie. Warren basically was so consumed by that film it took him a year to actually film the entire movie and, I think, it was, well, the most important professional experience in his life.
REHMOne person wanted to know how you see this movie and what it was like for you acting with Warren. How much of the anger and love expressed in that movie was real?
KEATONWell, I didn't really take very well to being directed by Warren. I was not a very good sport at it. Warren was so impassioned and Warren liked to do many, many takes. Every single set up there was at least 35 takes and this included your medium shot, your master shot and your close up. So, you know, you -- and then I got a little bit confused about who I was because what happens is when you do so many takes, you kind of get lost in what you're doing.
KEATONAt the same time, though, I will say this, in a way it worked very well for the movie. I was so rattled and I think that it brought out a lot of really -- some very powerful scenes. And so, in a way, I always think that I was never really responsible or the author of my own performance because I feel like my performance in "Reds" was a response to Warren. Do you understand what I mean?
KEATONYou know, yeah.
KEATONYeah. So I -- but I really -- I love that movie. I love -- and I'm proud of that performance because it was very -- like I said before, it was a very emotional, raw performance.
REHMAnd, of course, we are talking about Warren Beatty. Did you have a wonderful relationship?
KEATONOh, my God, I mean, he was a dream come true, of course. I mean it was -- I remember that I had this -- when he was first -- I don't -- I'll never know why. I remember Warren looking in my face and just -- he made me feel like I was suddenly perfect, you know, like that lopsided nose of mine, it changed. And I could just do about anything and I remember I was terrified to fly, which I still am, Diane. I'm terrified to fly. I've got to get over it. Tomorrow I'm flying to California. I can't take it.
KEATONBut, anyway, I remember one time I was so afraid and Warren took me to the airport and he got on board the flight with me. This is a long time ago when you could do that. And he held my hand and he sat down next to me and he flew all the way to New York with me and then he also -- I got off the plane, he kissed me goodbye and flew back to L.A. I mean that's just so completely romantic.
KEATONAnd I think, you know, the thing about "Reds" was that there was something I didn't like about Louise Bryant. I felt like she was using John Reed to get ahead because she was so insecure and she wanted to be an artist and she wanted to be every bit as good as he was and I had a problem with liking her while I was playing her. And the one scene that changed my feelings about Louise Bryant was this scene at the end, or close to the end, where she hasn't seen him for a long time and she's been looking for him and they meet at the train station.
KEATONAnd I remember, at the time; I don't know if you remember -- and people won't probably remember, but there was -- at that time in life there was this new instrument called the Walkman. And the Walkman changed the world of music. And what you did is you put in, you know, a player and you played the Walkman in your ear. And I was playing it when I was about to shoot that. By the way, that -- that scene took 64 takes...
KEATON...before I got it right.
KEATONListen to me. So, anyway, I got Bob Dylan playing, you know pressing on pressing on and this was his song from an album of his called "Saved," anything not to hear Warren's direction. This is kind of the nice person I was. So there I'm going and then suddenly I hear action and I throw the -- I throw the Walkman off my ear and I start walking down that train. And suddenly, zoom, it was like love came rushing in and it was Warren and it was his face approaching mine and it was love and so after that I kind of forgave Louise Bryant for being imperfect. And so I always see that movie as an imperfect love story set against this huge epic background.
REHMTo Wheaton, Md. and Lauren, good morning.
LAURENThank you so much for taking my call.
LAURENI'm a fan of both of you Dianes.
LAURENBut my one question was for Diane Keaton. I've seen all of your movies and I just think they're all fabulous, but "Looking for Mr. Goodbar" was so dramatic, dark and violent I wondered how difficult that may have been for you to make.
KEATONThat's a really interesting question because I don't really hear about "Looking for Mr. Goodbar." I rarely -- people don't talk about it. I remember my father thought -- and he was not happy.
REHMHe was not happy.
KEATONNo, he was not happy. He couldn't stand the way I had to die in that movie, but I, of course, at the time, thought, oh, this is fabulous. This is a great part for an actress. I'm an actress and I can play "Annie Hall" and "Looking for Mr. Goodbar" in the same year. They were both made the same year.
REHMWow. I hadn't recalled that.
KEATONYeah, but the one thing I liked about "Looking for Mr. Goodbar" was that it was very physical. It was a very physical movie and I can get lost in that. And I felt very comfortable, oddly enough, in those scenes.
REHMHow did you react to your father's negative reaction to it?
KEATONOh, I totally understood it. I mean, I -- why wouldn't he feel -- I'm glad he felt that way. He's my father. That's his job is to care about his daughter.
REHMI remember interviewing the author of that book. I'll never...
KEATONJudith Rossner, yeah.
REHM...forget reading it. All right, to Winston-Salem, N.C., good morning, Robert.
ROBERTGood morning. I just really enjoyed listening to the show this morning. You know, I was really interested, Diane Keaton, about your relationship with your mother because I know you -- in the book you mentioned about her influence on, I think, as a child, even the clothing you wore...
ROBERT...and things of this nature. And it sounded -- and it made me think of my mother. When I think of mothers and relationships -- how much they influence their children -- and it was really, you know, in many ways her being, in some ways, it kind of, like, maybe even a frustrated or potentially an artist. And that she found her influence indirectly through you because when I think of you I think of a person who really influenced fashion for women. I was hearing Diane mention what you're wearing today and I'm wondering if there won't be women thinking about that and maybe looking again -- you're eternally beautiful and thank you very much.
KEATONOh, my God.
REHMIsn't that lovely?
KEATONYes, too good for me.
REHMNo, no. And for those of you who are Chico's fans, Diane Keaton is on the cover and it's just a wonderful outfit. It's got a turtleneck. She's got a black turtleneck on. She's got a cap on half over her forehead. You can only see one eye and she's got great jewelry and you're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show."
JACK NICHOLSON AS HARRY SANBORNHave you always been like this or do I bring it out in you?
DIANE KEATON AS ERICA BARRYJust, you know...
SANBORNI don't think I've ever had this affect on a woman before.
BARRYAnd what affect do you think you're having on me?
SANBORNI don't quite recognize it. That's how I know I've never had it before. So you don't sleep?
BARRYI only need about four hours a night.
SANBORNMe, too. I never slept eight hours in my life.
BARRYMe, either. I wish I could. Do you want me to shut these? The sun comes in pretty strong in the morning.
BARRYSo Harry, who are you talking to at this hour?
SANBORNA friend in L.A. It's only 10 o'clock on the coast.
BARRYAnd that's not past her bedtime?
SANBORNSo you don't get more mellow as the hours pass.
SANBORNCan I ask one other thing? What's with the turtlenecks? It's the middle of summer.
BARRYNow, seriously, why do you care what I wear?
BARRYI like them. I've always liked them and I'm just a turtleneck kinda gal.
SANBORNYou never get hot?
KEATONHow about his voice?
KEATONIsn't that one of the all time great voices?
REHMYeah, it really is. And I gather for you...
REHM...he's one of the all time special men.
KEATONOh, my, certainly. There's no question about it. Jack is one of the all time special men. I think every woman who's ever known Jack would say that. And I think he's known a few. Yeah -- no, Jack is -- that was the most exciting -- that was really, in a way, my favorite film because it came so late in life this opportunity to be in a romantic comedy again, to be loved by two men, one the appropriate age, one much younger. I mean, it was like a fantasy come true. Are you kidding? I mean I'll never forget it.
REHMAnd you won the Academy Award for it.
KEATONNo, I didn't.
REHMNot for that.
KEATONNo, I did not.
REHMFor "Annie Hall."
KEATONFor "Annie Hall" I won the Academy Award, but I did not win it for -- but I was nominated and it was just a thrill. He was a thrill.
REHMIt was a fabulous movie.
KEATONOh, that's -- that Nancy Myers, another writer. I've been really fortunate. I've had some great writer/directors. I really have. I mean Warren, too. Warren, Woody, Nancy.
REHMDo you still remain in contact with Jack Nicholson?
KEATONI do, I do. Sometimes I'll go up to his house and have lunch with him. And, you know, I always want to bring a tape recorder. I always want to -- I always to just -- I want to -- if I could -- I tell you, there's a book in just listening to his stories -- talk about amazing, but he won't let me. He's not going to...
KEATONI don't know. I'm going to approach him again. You think I got a chance? I'll try.
REHMJust on tape.
KEATONYeah -- no, just -- it would be -- you have no idea. He's by far the most -- it's almost -- he tells -- his mind is absolutely off the charts in terms of how he views the world, how he sees it, what's interesting to him. He's brilliant. He's just -- I wish I could -- I tell you, Diane, do you think -- maybe I could try again.
REHMMaybe he's listening now.
KEATONWell, let's hope so.
REHMWhat's next for you?
KEATONWell, what's next for me is I have two movies in the can that are going to be coming out next year.
REHMTell me about them.
KEATONOne is called, "A Darling Companion." It's a Larry Kasdan movie. And the other is something with Robert De Niro. And this has been a very good year for me to work with my contemporaries. Like, not only with Robert De Niro in this last film that I did called, "The Wedding," so was Robin Williams. These are two men I don't really know and I had the opportunity to get -- and Susan Sarandon, another person that I didn't know.
KEATONAnd all my contemporaries I feel like I'm beginning to know them. You know, we all live in these kind of separate fiefdoms and so it's so wonderful to really get to know, you know, people that I grew up with in the sense of what we did together, you know, in the movies.
REHMAnd I'm so happy that women of your age, women of Susan Sarandon's age are still...
KEATONOh, working. Yeah, we are.
REHM...performing there on the screen. Diane Keaton's new book a memoir; it's called, "Then Again." What a pleasure to talk with you.
KEATONThank you. Thank you, Diane.
REHMThanks for listening all. I'm Diane Rehm.
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