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Diane Keaton Talks About Playing a Meddlesome Mother in "Because I Said So"


Diane Keaton Talks About Playing a Meddlesome Mother in

Diane Keaton stars in "Because I Said So."

© Universal Pictures

Diane Keaton plays Daphne Wilder, the mother of three beautiful daughters - two happily married and one who always falls for the wrong sort of guy - in Because I Said So. This film isn’t Keaton’s first time playing an exasperatingly annoying mother. “Yeah, I’ve mastered it,” joked Keaton. Yet it’s not as though she deliberately seeks out roles with those characteristics. “My feeling about everything is I'm just glad I'm working. I'm just a working woman,” explained Keaton. “Show me a script and if I'm available I'll do it. Quite frankly, I'm lucky to be working at all. Don't you think so? I mean, how many women that are my age are working?”

Diane Keaton on Parenting: Asked about how strict she is with her own kids, Keaton replied, “That is the hardest question because I think that structure is a nice thing to have. It's reassuring for kids, but at the same time of course I don't see myself like the mother in this or in Family [Stone]. I think that you find your way along the way, don't you? I think it changes as you go. I think that's what's so amazing about being a parent, is that it grows on you in a way that you never would have expected. It's more intense than ever, and as you grow it gets even more intense.

My daughter is 11 now so I'm probably watching her enter into that phase of being a tween, she's already a tween, and that's fantastically amazing to watch. When you were going through it yourself you didn't really picture what it was like to look at a girl grow into womanhood. It's astonishing. I love it. I feel so sad about the fact that she's growing up, but amazed by it and touched by it.”

Turning the Big Six-Oh: Keaton’s character is celebrating her 60th birthday in Because I Said So and Keaton recently turned 61. How did she feel about entering her 60s? “My dad died when he was 68 so to turn 60 is like, 'Oh, I'm 60.' You really are older. You're very definitely reaching a new phase in your life. I really am happy I'm around, number one. I love being alive and moderately healthy. You just go, 'Okay, all right. Moving on.’

I mean, what can I do? I'm not going to get depressed about it because I'm sort of amazed by how life has changed so much. I'm not really who I thought I would be, and the process of living is much more of a mystery than I ever imagined and also much more compelling as you go along. It's just the more you know, the less you know. And the less you know, the more amazed you are by life. When you're young, you're just kind of plowing ahead, going with your goal. And I really accomplished what I wanted in my dream life, which was to be an actress in the movies. I got to do that. But once you do that and get older, everything changes.

Life is so much more interesting than what I ever imagined it would be. A lot of the time the hobbies that I'm interested in are so much more compelling to me. I never would have thought I'd be a hobby sort of person but I really am. I'm a collector and I'm doing a couple of books this year and I'm trying to do a furniture line. I want to do as much as I possibly can. What's odd about getting older is you're supposed to roll over and be happy and be calm and relaxed. But the actual opposite has happened with me. I want to do more, pack in as much as I can before it's adios!”

On Working with Mandy Moore: “I love Mandy. The thing about Mandy is, what I really love about her, she's just a little workhorse, like a filly out there. She loves to work and you can see her progress as an actress. She's a very emotional actress but she's funny. She's adorable and she's beautiful to look at. In this movie she looks to me like Claudia Cardinale. She's got this gorgeous face. It's going to be really interesting to watch her in life. I think she's going to be really surprising.”

Helping Shape the Movie: Keaton admits to putting her two cents in when it came to discussing the script. “I give a lot of notes, as much as I can. I know that pictures are pretty much what they are. You can tweak them and mess with them and put in ideas here and there, but the core of what they are is essentially the same even if you try to pee on it - like most of us do in some way. So I'm sure it didn't mean much. But they were wonderful people, Jesse [Nelson, writer] and everybody and Michael Lehmann the director. They were very nice about listening to what I had to say.”

Keaton didn’t offer many changes in the dialogue. Instead she offered some ideas on the tone of specific scenes. “It's about the tone of it. I'm interested in the tone, like how's the scene working tonally? ‘Does that seem believable? Maybe yeah, maybe not.’ But once she’s on set, Keaton leaves the tweaking behind. “You know, you make a deal, 'I'm gonna act in your movie. I don't want to undermine the movie.' It's not my job to undermine the movie,” explained Keaton. “My job is to try to do the best I can with what I can. If they want to hear what I have to say and they're agreeable to that, that's fine. But I can't get in the way when we're shooting. You only have so much time. You don't want to eat it up and destroy all that money that was invested in it. I feel bad for people who give money to finance movies. Imagine what that's like. If a movie costs $100 million, that's outrageous. That's a lot of money. And if I'm in a $100 million movie, which by the way I haven't been in, but let's say I am hypothetically, I don't want to be the person who makes it cost $120. And then what? It's bone chilling. I don't know how people live with it. Sometimes I fantasize about what it would be like to be a studio executive on a $100 million movie the day that it opens. I feel the anxiety. I couldn't live with it. I couldn't do it.”

Daphne’s Sense of Style: Another area of the film where Keaton was actively involved was in figuring out the clothing and jewelry Daphne would wear throughout the film. “I thought she was kind of a flamboyant gal in this one, but in her own world. It didn't really connect to anybody at all in life except herself, which also said a lot in a way about how she was walled off from her feelings and walled off from the influence of her daughters in that way. I think she was an eccentric.”

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