Celebrity Interviews: The Cast of The Last Word Talk on The Movie, Ageism, Music, and The Future

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Bleecker Street Media recently released The Last Word, a timeless story of finding the missing pieces that, through discordant beginnings, are fine tuned into melodies, that somehow finding the right blends, the harmonies, that becomes treasured memories. 

Directed by Mark Pellington, The Last Word stars Shirley MacLaine, Amanda Seyfried, Ann'Jewel Lee, Thomas Sadoski, Philip Baker Hall, Anne Hache, Tom Everett Scott, Gedde Wantanabe, Yevette Freeman and Sam Culp.

Select members of the Los Angeles media were invited to attend the recent press conference for The Last Word, held at The Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, with the film's director, Mark Pellington, along with the stars Shirley MacLaine, Amanda Seyfried, Ann'Jewel Lee, and Thomas Sadoski participating.

A Few Housekeeping Items

With the press conference happening one week after the OSCARS and the infamous Best Picture envelope disaster still a top entertainment story, Ms. MacLaine was asked several questions on the subject. Her brother, Warren Beatty, had the unfortunate experience of receiving the wrong envelope from the accountants. To those questions, she explained "it was awful" and refused to elaborate.

Shirley MacLaine is passionate about remaining active; working; being a voice for the "ageism" that plagues not only Hollywood but society in general. She was very much the "dame" of the press conference centerstage, generous, offering insight in a variety of subjects.

She is incredibly interesting. Her "lives" and evolution in Hollywood, the Femme Fatale of the Rat Pack, she remains unique and considers herself "old fashioned" in musical taste as Frank and Dean are still on her playlist.

The Last Word Review – Solid, Performance Driven, Entertainment

One other big news item at the time of the press conference was Amanda Seyfried's pregnancy, which has become even bigger news as she and co-star Thomas Sadoski were recently married. The two eloped, as the story goes, heading off with an officiant and exchanging vows, before the arrival of their child that is due imminently.

Although nearly every tabloid has stated she has called the baby "him" during a press conference, she didn't mention any gender, or baby nursery colors, or hints, and only referred to the child as "my child," "baby," and "this fetus."

She did, however, speak honestly of her concerns over parenting, "I want to make it very clear to my child, that they are safe and loved and I don't want to ever lie to them. There is a huge responsibility being a mother, I think this movie and especially Shirley it's all about honesty in your life, acting relationship."

Ageism in Hollywood

Ms. MacLaine, known of her New Age and reincarnation beliefs, is probably one of the most interesting, dedicated and respected talents in the business. Not shying away from her age, "I do want to be the Queen of AARP," she said. 

Ms. MacLaine also described one of the reasons she did this "great movie Stu and Jeff brought to me" and spoke on ageism in Hollywood and how "aging is underserved in this culture. I do want to stay healthy and serve that community. How awful it is to be made to be invisible. I didn't want an older person to be invisible any longer."

With the forum open and Ms. MacLaine essentially playing a character, a trailblazer, not unlike herself, with a career behind her and the opportunity to impart some of the wisdom to others she was willing to answer nearly every question.

When asked about risks and career risks as her character, Harriet Lauler, is very much a risk taker she replied, "the biggest risk I've taken is going in front of a live audience. It is risky to open yourself to your own authenticity. I went to Broadway at 16 and didn't think it was a risk. I thought it was what I was supposed to do. I think that's way I didn't think it was risky as I thought is the right thing to do."  

A question was asked about a Hollywood rumor in which Marlon Brando seduced Ms. MacLaine into politics over an egg.

She answered, saying, "Someone asked me last night," (at the premiere) who I wanted to work with and that's who Marlon Brando. I want Marlon to appear and work with him to see what that type of improvisation is about."

The Last Word focuses on the mentor relationship between Shirley MacLaine's character, Harriet, Amanda Seyfried's character, Anne Sherman which develops into more fulfilling relationship as the Director Mark Pellington said, "They were each missing a vital family part."

Ms. MacLaine was asked about any mentor in her life when she first arrived in Hollywood, without hesitation she said, "Joan Crawford, the first person that comes to mind is Joan Crawford, and I didn't listen to anything she had to say."

Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills: A Rapturous Escape

Music: A Lead Character

As one of the last media to be called, I asked a group question that fortunately spoke to both the core of the film and the core of humanity: The question of music.

The Last Word brings together an ensemble of classics: from the music to the talent. The music is, really, as much a lead character as any of the cast. The Kinks, part of the early 1960's British Invasion, are heavily featured in the film with a running dialogue between Harriet and Robin Sands, played by Thomas Sadoski.

The music takes over the third act of the film, as Harriet who has one last gig, rebrands herself yet again as the morning voice of independent radio. These scenes are as exceptional as the talent and the tunes.

"One good thing about asking a question this late in the press conference is there is so much information and I think I'll stick with my prepared question: The music is a character in and of itself, it is represented well in the film and represented well in the marketing, and I wanted to know if you describe some of your musical influences and what's on your playlist or what do you listen to when you want to escape?"

Each of the talent spoke to their personal music choices and with Thomas and Amanda expecting their first child soon, we were given some insider information on the delivery room musical choices.

Thomas Sadowski: What's on my playlist? I have pretty eclectic musical tastes, but I think that when it comes down to it, when I get into the car, when I really need something that speaks to who I am that really needs to the voice that needs to come out of me it's usually Social Distortion or Lyle Lovett.

Ann'Jewel Lee: I personally don't have one, and I listen to all types of music, so I don't know.

Shirley MacLaine: Me, I've never heard of the Kinks. Just want you know. What really moves me is the Floreadores in the Nutcracker Suite, I love classical music. And I love the times of Dean and Frank with the lyrics and wonderful rhythms and how they blend the music into the heart. She shrugged her shoulders, and finished by saying, "I'm old fashioned."

Amanda Seyfried: There is a time and place for every genre for me. I'd like to be listening to Bruce Springsteen when I'm giving birth.

Mark Pellington: Which song? I know Bruce, I've done a couple of videos maybe . . .

Amanda Seyfried: Tougher than the Rest. It's the best.

Mark Pellington: Nine minutes drive all night, one guitar, we'll get the baby out . .  trust me.

Amanda Seyfried: He's got a great collection and like he said Lyle Lovett, Patti Griffin.

Mark Pellington finished the question explaining the background behind the diverse and free flowing sound that has the last word in this unforgettable film.

Mark Pellington: For six months before we made the movie, the song I kept listening to was Year of the Cat and that was the song we actually played when she died. It was prohibitively expensive to get. But also, it was like a non-song, so we went into the movie and I have all these songs some were known and some you try.

Part of our fiscal limitation, it happens on a tiny movie sometimes, you save money during the shooting so in post you can get "x" amount of songs. We needed like 25 songs and our music supervisor said we had very little money so she said you can only use the independent labels. The amount of music I had never heard before that she gave us was phenomenal.

So in a way, you're listening to the music, and the way you guys heard it is the way we heard it, completely fresh from old jazz to blues, to soul, to Mexican punk to whatever it is, it just shows the power of music as opposed to a program, a Coldplay song or a hits on a different button of nostalgia, oh were going to get that or we're going to play a Fleetwood Mac song, so I think the people love the music because they have never heard it before.

Yet it works. And it works in the context of the characters and that's song that Shirley is playing, "Mr. President" is like the most obscure, no one heard of the band ever, on some shitty, cut rate $1.99 album, and the editor put it in there followed by the seduction of Tommy and Amanda is a band called "Witch" from Zambia from 1975 who are trying to sound American. It's totally scruffy and weird because that is the aesthetic of the radio station that's that true independent music where you don't care you play whatever you want.

Amanda Seyfried: And then you play The Kinks.

Solid entertainment, The Last Word is playing everywhere. See this film.

 

Haute Tease

  • Dumpster Diving Saturday Night Live Mocks Germanwings Tragedy

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Proving the end is near, the National Broadcasting Company's once dominate Saturday Night Live dove deep into the dumpster of cheap laughs headlining with a sketch lampooning the CNN coverage of Germanwings airliner that crashed into the French Alps killing all onboard.

     
  • British Academy of Film and Television Arts Hail La La Land, Arrival, Nocturnal Animals, and Meryl Streep (Complete List)

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    La La Land, Arrival, Nocturnal Animals, Manchester by the Sea and the overrated Meryl Streep (her 15th) all received nomination by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) for the upcoming awards presented in February 2017.

     
  • State Department Issues Worldwide Travel Alert; Canada Slows Syrian Immigration

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The State Department issued a worldwide travel alert for U.S. citizens today, citing increased threats from terrorist groups such as the Islamic State Fighters, ISIS/ISIL, al-Qa'ida, Boko Haram and Wilayat Sinai in the wake of the Paris Terrorist Attacks.

     
  • Alec Baldwin Signs On As Executive Producer of Compared To What: The Improbable Journey Of Barney Frank

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    New York, NY (March 27, 2014) Alec Baldwin has signed on as executive producer for the highly anticipated and controversial documentary COMPARED TO WHAT: THE IMPROBABLE JOURNEY OF BARNEY FRANK making its world premiere on April 27, 2014 as part of the Tribeca Film Festival.  This is Mr. Baldwin's latest film having recently produced ELAINE STRITCH: SHOOT ME.

     
  • US Markets Rally in Four Day Week; DOW Sets Record; World Markets Hold Strong

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The red hot Dow Jones Industrial Average sent markets soaring throughout the July 5, 2014 week heating up the New York Stock Exchange as the DOW flirted with a record 17,000 and closed the four day holiday week holding strong setting a new record.

Crime

  • Facebook Killer Dead of Self-Inflicted Gunshot

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Steve Stephens, the Cleveland man who went live on the social media platform while he committed a random murder of an elderly man, has died in Erie, Pennsylvania of a self-inflicted gun shot after a police pursuit.

     
  • Misclassification of Homicide Case Aids Murderer in Escaping Justice; FBI Offers Reward

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Brittanee Drexel, of Rochester, New York, was last seen in 2009 leaving a beachfront hotel in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, according to hotel surveillance cameras, the FBI said in a recently released statement and simply vanished.

     
  • East Liverpool Heroin Overdose Victims Survive

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    James Lee Acord and Rhonda Pasek, the couple whose graphic overdose picture taken by responding officers has gone viral, survived the incident and after hospitalization were reprimanded to the local county jail until court appearances.

     
  • Sandy Hook Massacre: The Slaughter of the Innocent

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    20 children and six adults were slaughtered, Friday, when a lone gunman fought his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Connecticut, armed with enough ammunition to murder every student in this small New York City suburb.

     
  • Manhunt Continues in Upstate New York Prison Break

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Residents in the tiny town of Dannemora, New York, remain on edge as two violent prisoners, in a daring escape from the maximum security Clinton Correctional facility have managed to elude capture for a second consecutive day.

Theatre, Music, Books

  • HL London: Paul McCartney's LIPA Channels the Spirit of John Peel in Weekly New Music Event

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts, co-founded by one of the city's most celebrated sons Paul McCartney, is launching The 2Ube, an eclectic showcase of musical talent from across the north west.

     
  • Blue Man Group Review - Fresh, Fun, Loud and Messy

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    I had seen the famed Blue Man Group Las Vegas show before albeit more than a decade ago. Even so, I recently proceeded to secure tickets to see what has since become a Vegas entertainment staple. I wondered how, or if, this show had evolved so it would seem fresh and new the second time around.

     
  • Living A Life That Matters: A Memoir of the Marquis de Lafayette Review – Surprisingly Interesting

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Penned by renowned Civil Rights attorney David M. Weitzman, Living A Life That Matters will not jump off the shelf for the causal bookstore window shopper. The title, the image all suggest an intellectual read reserved for professors, scholars, politicians and the like.  

  • Blondie and Garbage To Co-Headline Rage And Rapture Summer 2017 Tour (Music/Tix Links)

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Blondie & Garbage announced their North American tour will kick off on July 5th in Saratoga, CA and wrap on August 12th in Dallas, TX. John Doe & Exene Cervenka will provide support on the first leg of the tour and Deap Vally for the second.

     
  • After Snowden - Privacy, Secrecy and Security in the Information Age Review – Opens The Floor to Debate

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    In June 2013, Edward Snowden leaked thousands of documents he stole from the National Security Agency (NSA), from several laptop computers, exposing flaws and violations of the Fourth Amendment routinely practiced in the Domestic Surveillance program.