Saturday, March 23, 2013

Then Again by Diane Keaton

Diane Keaton. Then Again. New York: Random House, 2011.

The author writes how she believe she inwardly felt that marriage meant surrendering her dreams. Although she did try to press Warren Beatty into marriage. In her youth, she was driven to audition for every play and talent show she could. That drive to act remained her dream even after it became reality.

In high school, Keaton thought she was unattractive and that boys didn’t like her. She threw herself into high school plays. She enjoyed the applause and excitement of appearing on stage.

Keaton went to study at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre. Her teacher sandy Meisner taught her “acting was about reproducing honest emotional reaction.” He taught actors to respond spontaneously on stage. Students would speak to each other and respond with differing emotions. She learned to instantly create an emotion After two years of study, Keaton was disappointed when no agent signed her.

Keaton found a job with the Woodstock Playhouse. She was able to join Actors’ Equity. Her bane of Diane Hall was already taken so she used her other’s maiden name and became Diane Keaton.

Keaton was cast in the Broadway show “Hair”. She filled in for the lead female role when the lead filmed a TV episode. The producer stated she could keep the lead roe if she lost weight. he took $50 vitamin shots to lose ten pounds to keep the role. She then learned from another actress about purging. This made her hypoglycemic. She became bulimic. Her bulimia took priority over dating, which she feared her then boyfriend Woody Allen would find out about.

Keaton appeared in a low budget film as well as working as a book editor and at a store She then appeared in the play “Play It Again, Sam” with Woody Allen. She was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Tony Award.

Keaton appeared in an episode of a TV show “Mannix”. She was struck with terror and stated she couldn’t do it. The show’s star Mike Connors then went through the scene with her until her fear disappeared. She then appeared in the movie “The Godfather”, then in “Sleeper” with Woody Allen, then in “Godfather: Part II”, and then in “Annie Hall” with Woody Allen.

Keaten writes that appearing in “Annie Hall” was effortless as Woody Allen would rewrite the script while shooting. Gordon Willis was the cinematographer who knew how to work with Woody Allen, who directed, wrote, and starred in “Annie Hall”, Willis often used master shots to increase the scene’s impact, which was something rarely done before in comedy movies. The movie also used shadows and lights well. Allen directed the movie without marks for where actors should stand and move. Allen wanted the actors to walk around normally. Actors were allowed to wear what they wanted. Keaton borrowed a hat from a friend that became identified with her character. Keaton credits Woody Allen’s screenwriting as the strength of the movies he writes and directs.

Keaton starred with Woody Allen in “Annie Hall”even though they had stopped dating two years prior. She observes they still clicked together when acting. She won the Oscar forBest Actress in “Annie Hall”.

Keaton then filmed “Looking for Mr. Goodbar”. She began dating actor Warren Beatty. She notes Beatty hated commitments. Dustin Hoffman once observed ‘If Warren had stayed a virgin, he’d be known as the best director in the world.”

Keaton observed actor Geraldine Page did not follow director’s directions. Keaton observed Maureen Stapleton acted “effortlessly”.

Keaton did not like the character she portrayed in “Reds”, which took a year to film Warren Beatty directed it and would sometimes have 40 takes per set up. Keaton did not like Beatty’s directing, which may have also been a growing personal disregard for Beatty. She had admired Beatty before meeting him. She realized her problem was I wanted to be Warren Beatty, not love him.” It took about 65 shots before she produced what Beatty wanted in one scene. Keaton views “Reds” as a movie about “imperfect love” rather than how Beatty saw it as placing ideals over life. Keaton was nominated for an Oscar bot ost.

Keaton appeared in a series of films that were not financial successes.

Keaton made a documentary “Heaven” that received many bad critical reviews. Still, Keaton says she “lived every clip and every interview” and is happy with it.

Keaton filmed “Baby Boom” which was a success. She dated Al Pacino, which included a break-up, a reunion, and another break-up.

While Keaton filmed “Godfather III”, francis Coppola was more distant in his director than he had in the previous two Godfather movies. Winona Ryder collapsed during filming and was replaced with Coppola’s daughter Sofia. Paramount exectuives did not want Sofia in the role

Keaton filmed “First Wives Club” which was an “unexpected hit”. She filmed “Something’s Gotta Give” in amazement that Jack Nicholson had agreed to appear in a “chick flick”. She was stunned that Jack Nicholson gave her a back end percent of his earnings in the movie. Keaton stated this is her favorite films, especially realizing she could film a hit movie at age 57.

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