Interviewer: Are you hiding anything under that belt today?
Diane Keaton: Just the usual.
AM: It looks like you guys had a blast--a bunch of women on this. Did you crack up a lot?
DK: We did. You know, we were also working in Shreveport [Laugh], so it was a different experience because we were actually in an atmosphere that was like that of the movie. Three women, unlikely friends, thrust together and all victims of the system. I think that it spoke so much to what's really been going on.
It's really a fun movie, it's not taking any of this too seriously, but at the same time, it's talking about all those people who have the sub-prime problems losing their homes. Like Katie's character, who wants to see the world but doesn't have the opportunity -- and Nina, the character that Queen Latifah's playing, who has to raise these kids but has no money. We're like forgotten, invisible women. It's a very topical movie. It's a caper, but at the same time, it's what a lot of people are going through right now. I enjoyed that part of it --what the underlying story was about.
Katie Holmes: I agree. Of course, we did have a lot of fun shooting the movie. I was so honored to work with Diane. It was terrific. In light of everything that she's said, we had a lot of laughs, but we were also working and had a lot to talk about.
DK: Oh yeah, we did. And really, the intimate time is always in the make-up trailer.
AM: You guys did a tour of the real Federal Reserve?
DK: [To Katie]: You went to the real Fed, didn't you? I didn't because I would have wanted to have stolen...
KH: It was really interesting. I'd never been before. Nice people. It's a hard job because it never changes. You're looking at all this money, and you aren't making any money, so it's hard.
AM: One of the things you guys all say in the movie is that money can buy you happiness and I'm just wondering...
DK: We're dependent on the system and on the policies that we've all grown accustomed to. Everything's sort of shaky now. It scares people, and particularly those people. But anyway, I didn't mean to interrupt what you were going to say'
AM: We're always taught that money can't buy you happiness, but in a certain respect, this movie has fun with this idea. But with these people, it actually can buy them some happiness, at least for a time.
DK: Security and opportunity...and in the case of my character, she gets a little bit carried away. She really loses herself behind the cash, which is one of the temptations, of course. She learns a lesson. I think the most extraordinary thing about my character is that she has this college education and she's married to a man who was supposed to be just fine. Suddenly, he gets downsized because the company doesn't want to pay for him anymore and their lives turn into shambles. She's going to lose her house -- it's terrifying.
AM: What did you do to try and make the character sympathetic? Her motives and actions tended not to be that sympathetic.
DK: I think she's completely sympathetic. I never thought about whether I was likable or not because guess what? If that happened to me and I'm a woman of a certain age --people think you're supposed to just roll over and give up on life.
I think, hey, you know what? Forget it. You can still take hold of your life, you can still have adventure, you can still find friends in the most unlikely situations, and you can make something of your life. It's not over. Life is an adventure. It doesn't have to just be like -- Oh God, it's over. I got my Liberal Arts degree, and nobody wants me and I can't help my husband.
To me, all she ever aspired to was to be in the country club set and what was that? That was so lame. She needed something to shake up her life. She needed to find out. It makes her more sympathetic, because now her life has expanded to the realm of seeing how extraordinary these people are that she got together with; these two other women from different generations and different walks of life that she never would have known otherwise.
AM: Would Annie Hall still have been taking on the system 35 years later?
DK: Okay, that's a good question, but Annie Hall had taken on the system. I don't know. I don't think they're the same person.
AM: At times, she was almost outside the system.
DK: Yeah, that's right.
AM: Katie, when you were pushing the cart around and all that, did you have anything on in your ear?
KH: It was a lot of the music that you heard in the film. Oh okay. My soundtrack.
AM: How did you perceive your character?
KH: What was appealing and really exciting about playing this character is that although she's smart, she's seen as just a happy-go-lucky kind of girl. It took somebody who had an instinctive sort of wisdom about herself to take on this adventure. I liked her being creative enough to make an adventure out of her monotonous job. I also thought her love for her husband was very sweet and I liked their relationship. They were a very funny, warm couple. I also loved the way that she was open to going on this adventure with people that she'd just met. It's fun to play people who say, "Cool. Why not?" instead of posing problems.
AM: Were you trying to access your character from Pieces of April?
KH: I had a lot of fun playing April in Pieces of April
. There were similarities between these two characters -- neither was your normal type of person who goes to college and gets a job, but Jackie was a little bit different and in a different place. Jackie would have loved to live in the East Village of New York City if she'd seen a picture of it.
AM: Diane, did you have fun working with Ted?
DK: Oh yeah. It's a shame he's married. I really liked kissing him. I always like kissing men. It's my only opportunity--in a movie role--so I really liked that scene and I was really happy when they stuck that in there. I think Ted wanted to have that scene between us in the middle of the movie so they wrote that scene later, and I'm really glad they did.
AM: Diane, last year you worked with Mandy Moore and this year you're working with Katie Holmes, both up-and-coming young actresses'
DK: They're taking off. The future is theirs.
AM: Talk about working with Katie and the pressures young actresses face these days.
DK: The landscape of their lives is completely different than when I was coming up with Annie Hall
or some of those early movies like The Godfather
. At that time, the press was not that prevalent. It was a very different, it was fashionable at that time, to stay away from them. "Less is More" was the attitude of the time. You only did certain things and very rarely.
I believe Katie and Mandy, and even Dana are thrust into a world where you really have to be more than just an actress. Particularly, of course, Katie, because it's kind of like movie royalty. It's like Grace Kelly or something. Every time you go out there, you're observed and scrutinized, and you have to handle it -- you take on so much more than the fun and the adventure of being an actress.
I think Katie's really fascinating because from what I can see, she takes it very seriously. That music thing was there all the time, but she'd quietly be going off into some world that was like who "Jackie" was.
It's more complex to be a movie actress now. It's more challenging because your life is like [Blows through her lips like an explosion]. And what about the fucking (excuse me) Internet? -- the fact that you're there and suddenly there are pictures there, and people are talking about you all the time. You have to be strong. It builds character, in some ways, if you can hack it, if you can handle it.
AM: [To Katie] Can you comment on this?
KH: I think you're [To Keaton] being very generous. People like myself, and I know Dana and I'm sure Mandy'find it exciting to learn from you and see how you work. The movies you've done have inspired all of us. We're always wondering "What's Diane thinking?" It's really amazing. We've learned a lot from you.
AM: Katie, do you ever wish you could pack your family in an RV and drive across America and nobody would recognize you?
KH: Do I have to drive? [Laughs] It's a big responsibility. I do love road trips. I think that would be a family adventure for sure.
AM: What do you hope the audience gets out of seeing Mad Money?
DK: For me, just the recognition of female bonding and what women can do. And also, recognizing that there are a lot of people who live these kinds of lives. They're not the subject of movies very often. I feel like that alone, speaks well of the movie.
KH: I was excited to be part of a movie with great female characters. I loved seeing a lot of women on screen and having a female director. And I'm excited for women and men to go in and have fun. They're interesting characters.
AM: Is that Callie's strength--to write a good story and characters?
DK: The answer to that is yes.
AM: In the scripts you see, how many have good female protagonists?
DK: The kind of roles that I used to get, about 10 or 15 years ago, were the over-the-shoulder wife. Now I'm frequently playing a mother, which is incredibly fascinating to me'But that's why this was fabulous, I wasn't playing a mother. I was actually engineering this plot. That was great fun. I became a criminal, which is great to play. And this was a buddy picture, which is a rarity. It was a rarity on a lot of levels.
AM: What sort of roles are you being offered, Katie?
KH: Actually, I've read some interesting period pieces, which I love. I've also seen some great thrillers. There are good female roles out there, but it's not ten for ten, it's more like one out of ten.
AM: Are you eager to work a lot because you're still a new mum? Want to do one or two pictures a year?
KH: It depends on the role. It's finding a balance. I don't want to say I'll only do this amount a year because that's not how life works. You have to look at what's happening in the next three months. Where are we in [the kids'] ages and what's going on in their lives? It's really on a project by project basis. But I had a great time working on this film. I love working and being a mom. It's something I looked forward to doing and when it happened, I'm like, why did I wait? -- It's so much better.
AM: This was the first film you made after you had Suri, right?
AM: So she was just a little thing. You brought her with you to set?
KH: Yeah, it was great. My trailer had a high chair and teddy bears. It was wonderful.
AM: Katie, do you have a chance to go back and watch Dawson's Creek?
KH: I've seen all the episodes, we'd get them in advance. I'll watch one when I can catch one, but I feel like I've seen them all [Laughter].
AM: Do you feel like that character is someone else now?
KH: No, I had great fun. I met great people and have fond memories. It's like looking at a yearbook.
AM: Talk about working with Queen Latifah.
DK: Queen is sort of a Renaissance woman. She does a little bit of everything and she does it very well. She's a dynamic personality and she's beautiful. You can't beat that.
I went and saw her act. She was at Royce Hall [UCLA] and I saw her sing. That was an absolute revelation to me. I've seen her sing in movies, but she can sing anything and she's brilliant. She takes over the audience. And when she talks, she's loose and free and fun. She's astonishing. She can do anything.
KH: I agree. She's amazing. I'd be saying, "What?" and she'd be going "Oh, I'm going to do this and'" She's cool. Calm and cool.
DK: She can take anything. She's strong, a strong woman.
AM: Did you have input into the wardrobe and hair in this film?
KH: Definitely, that was part of the fun in creating the character. That was my hair. It made for a long time in the makeup trailer.
AM: Was there a lot of improvisation?
DK: I don't think there was a lot of improvisation, not really. There was a lot of looseness in terms of the takes -- things would change a lot from take to take. That made it fun and spontaneous. Callie was watching the words a lot. She's really serious about the words.
AM: If you came into a whole lot of money, would you save or spend it?
DK: I'd spend it. Are you kidding? There are so many things I have in mind. I know what I would do -- I'd buy up historic homes all over the United States and restore them. Then I'd open them up to the public so that they could be more aware of the treasures we have throughout this country. If I could earn a living that way, I would love nothing more than to do that for the rest of my life.
AM: Aren't you involved with The Heritage Foundation?
DK: Yeah, but I can't buy up those houses and save them. The LA Conservancy was able to save -- just from falling off the side of the hill -- the Ennis House, a spectacular home by Frank Lloyd Wright. Art that we can walk through and appreciate what was going on with him and in Los Angeles at that time. And it still needs another $10 million just to make it what it was. Frankly, I don't have the money to do that.
AM: Were you concerned when Jimmy Stewart's house was torn down last year?
DK: Oh that was a tragedy. I bought a house in Beverly Hills that everybody wanted to tear down. It wasn't a famous house, but half of it was a Wallace-Neff house and it was north of Sunset on Roxbury, where the biggest stars in the world had lived. It was like this community place for Lucille Ball, Jack Benny, Ira Gershwin, Rosemary Clooney'
Jimmy Stewart had this incredible Tudor [style] house on the corner of Roxbury. It was on a huge double lot. Honestly, it was on an acre and a half of land on flat plot. It was amazing. He actually died the day we moved into our house. It was so sad. A year later, the family had to sell the house.
I remember going in there with Dexter, my daughter, and sneaking in and saving tiles. I still have them. I'm happy to do the work and have families buy these things up and live in them.
A year later, they started tearing it down. It was such a tragedy because it could have been restored. It could have worked for any family. It was plenty big. Nobody wanted to take on the task of doing the work that was required. They're treasures, but you know, people don't have endless reams of money to keep these things going. You know what it costs
AM: What would you do with all that money, Katie?
KH: Well, I'd help you [to Keaton] with that.
DK: She has, actually. Katie showed up to an LA Conservancy fundraiser and gave a lot of money. Thank you, by the way. [To Holmes]
KH: My pleasure.
DK: It was really helpful, though.
AM: Have either of you ever done anything frivolous?
DK: Of course. What do you think?
AM: What's next for you both?
DK: I did do a book. You can buy it in the stores. It's called California Romantica
. It's about Spanish homes in Southern California.
AM: Katie, what's coming out? What are you up to?
KH: Promoting Mad Money
AM: Love your hair...
KH: It's real easy.
AM: Would you do a sequel?
KH: In a heartbeat.