Academy Award Nominated Movie Star, Anne Archer

LLL Anne | Ann Archer

LLL Anne | Ann Archer

 

Being able to act on the big screen and on stage is an amazing skill. In this episode, Dani Behr interviews the beautiful and talented Academy Award Nominee Anne Archer about the industry, their fun memories, and what’s ahead for her. Anne shares the changes in the acting industry and how it is still uneven for women even with the #MeToo movement going on. She also reveals her preference between acting on screen or on stage.

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Academy Award Nominated Movie Star, Anne Archer

Conversations With A Movie Star

I’m excited for you guys to join me on our new podcast series. I’m excited to have a special guest that is the one and only, incomparable Academy Award nominee, Ms. Anne Archer.

Hello.

I thought I’d get straight to it because of all your accomplishments. I’m excited to have you. Most people probably reading know who you are as an acclaimed actress. I have a close friendship with Annie and we’ve known each other for quite some time now. We met way back when on a job together. I thought it would be quite fun to share with the readers how we met and how that came about.

We’re going back, Dani, fifteen years or maybe a little bit more. I can’t remember. My husband Terry Jastrow, created a telecast for ABC of the haute couture collections in Paris. They had never been put on the air and all the designers at the same time. We wanted a commentator, someone who could go out in the streets and see what the ready-to-wear was like and how haute couture dribbled down and influenced ready to wear. We went to London and we were looking for someone. We were introduced to you, Dani Behr. You were a babe. You were young and adorable. You had all the qualities that we longed for. You came and did the Haute Couture collections with us in Paris. It was the beginning of a fabulous friendship and relationship. You eventually moved to Los Angeles. When your baby was a week old, Coco came and stayed at the house with us.

The memories I have of that time we had in Paris was super special. That was our bonding moment, I felt. You, I, and Terry clicked immediately and had that special connection.

I remember we did the telecast with Isabella Rossellini as well. We all had a lot of fun together.

We did. What better job to start off within six weeks in Paris or however long we were there for. I remember Terry, who’s organized and had every I dotted and every T crossed, he had it all planned with Marianne O’Donnell who was one of the other producers. We would go to these fabulous restaurants in Paris. I’d always gone to nice restaurants in London but you opened up the world of all these gastronomic types of food and these eight-course meals. I remember we sat and had that dinner at Guy Savoy. Do you remember that restaurant? It was a ten-course meal. Alanda Cast, do you remember we had that dinner with these beautiful French chefs? It was 10 to 12 courses long. You and I would look at each other, “If they bring one more course over, we’re going to explode.”

It’s true. You can’t be in Paris and not experience some of that extraordinary cuisine. We had to make sure we got to go to some of the most special restaurants in Paris at least once. Not all of the five-star ones. That would take too long but some of the great five-star restaurants. It was great.

A good selection of them. After that, I used to come out to LA. This was when I was coming back and forth, you and Terry were hospitable and kind. I would stay in your guest room for quite many times. You and Terry would be going off filming here and there. I was left with Jeff, who is Amy and Terry’s youngest son. I would be cleaning up from all the house parties that you didn’t know about. I’d be like, “What happens in the Jastrow house, stays in the Jastrow house.” There were many house parties that I was there to monitor on your behalf. You had an amazing career. Hollywood is such an anomaly for most people. To get in the door seems like the hardest thing of all. You’ve not only got on the door, but you also stayed there for a long time. You had such astonishing accomplishments and an amazing career along the way. Let’s start off with what has been the highlight of your career would you say, with everything?

I’ve been acting for a long time and certainly earning a living and known in the industry. Fatal Attraction put me on the map, even internationally. It’s kept me there all these years, along with a lot of wonderful movies. It was such a blockbuster and still continues to be a hot movie, a bit controversial still. That’s the film I got nominated for. That was definitely the highlight of all the movies I’ve done.

It’s probably a turning point. Up until then, you had done a bunch of movies, theatre and everything. That was the most commercial movie would you say, the turning point?

Yeah, it was the first big hit. I made movies that did all right but they weren’t hits. This was such a box office blockbuster that there wasn’t anybody in the world who hadn’t heard of it. Most people had seen it.

When you first got the script and all those famous scenes with the bunny boiler scene and all of this, was it quite controversial to you? Was it another script and another day? Could you sense and can you sense when you read scripts if it’s going to be a hit? That’s the question.

LLL Anne | Ann Archer
Ann Archer: A man can be perfectly happy in his marriage, but if he believes he shouldn’t be tied to just one woman, he may very well cheat.

 

You can sense if it’s a good script. I felt it was a good script and a hot topic, for sure. Do you know it’s going to be a hit? No, you have no idea. It all happens in the film making. Sometimes it all comes together and sometimes it doesn’t. I felt it was going to be a hit. I had to win the part. I had already auditioned for director Adrian Lyne for a film called Nine and a Half Weeks, which I ended up not doing. I had auditioned for other movies that Sherry Lansing who was Head of Production at Paramount had done. They were all rooting for me. At least Sherry, for sure, and Stanley Jaffe were hoping that they could find the right movie for me. For Adrian Lyne, it had to be the right actress for the character.

The big controversy was that they were worried that maybe I was too beautiful. Adrian felt that that made it more interesting, the fact that this man cheated on this woman that seemed to be such an ideal woman for him. That’s the internal question I get asked every time someone asks me about the movie, “How could he ever cheat on you?” I remember going on the publicity tour. There were various people that I met on the tour. I noticed that married men would make passes at some of the most unattractive women. I realized that looks had nothing to do with that aspect of male behavior or female behavior, for that matter. It isn’t about that at all. I always try and explain that to people but I don’t know if they ever believe me.

That’s an interesting topic of discussion. We’re going to do another episode on love and dating. Annie and Terry have it down. They’re my go-to dating and love advice couple. Going on with what you said, what do you think it is and why do you think the film appealed because of that subject matter of what seemed to be the perfect wife? Was it more about the intention? Is it more about feeling significant as a man of having his woman pay extra attention? Did you come and get any answers from being in that movie in that subject?

I realized that cheating has nothing to do with physicality, attractiveness or unattractiveness. It’s what you put out, both male and female, toward each other and the decision that a man makes. If he believes in the double standard, he believes in the double standard. You learn a lot about that. It starts with the parents. Usually, a man believes in a double standard because his father did. It doesn’t take much for a parent to send a message in that direction. Flirting in front of their kid with another woman in a way that the kid perceives it, sends a message right then and there. That’s one thing I realized. Sometimes a man can be perfectly happy in his marriage but if he believes he shouldn’t be tied to one woman, he may cheat.

Going back on what you said about they thought maybe you were too beautiful for the role, that’s an interesting statement. Most people feel like you’ve got to be the most beautiful of all to make it in Hollywood. Would you say that worked against you at times because you are so beautiful? Did that go against getting certain roles? Everybody has that image of the more beautiful, the better. It’s interesting you said that.

I don’t know the answer to that. It all has to do with the work and getting the right part. Looks, did they ever not help me? I’m not sure. In my mother’s generation, she was also an actress, she had to be physically attractive to get a studio interested in taking you under contract or working. When my career started, it was still a part of the industry. Now, it isn’t. You better be a good actress. Your physical looks are not going to be so important. I can’t say that it hampered me, to be honest with you.

Talking about how the industry has changed, can you tell the readers how the industry was when you first entered into it, when you first started to maybe midway through and now? How are you seeing the changes in Hollywood?

Especially, because of the #MeToo Movement, women are having more say and more power, not enough still. It’s still an uneven industry. One female part to every ten males used to be the statistic. I don’t know if it’s changed that much, maybe it has in an average movie. I remember watching in my mother’s generation the kinds of photos that you would submit and how you had to look. Being slender and attractive had a lot to do with producers and directors being interested in you for sure. My generation too, we began to see some changes but that was still a big part of it. I remember times when I was asked to stand in the corner and turn around. Things that are chauvinistic that now would not be tolerated, because we all know all that’s come out because of the #MeToo Movement of what women have gone through in our industry.

Did you experience anything like the Harvey Weinstein type of characters? Did you ever have stories where you were put into those vulnerable positions?

Yeah, I had things happen. Nothing gross or terrible. I was able to handle them but I had to push people away from me or get out of a situation. I didn’t have control over me. It wasn’t like there was a part sitting there. There was the potential of a part, but it wasn’t at that point where I would have been pushed into a corner, figuratively. It was the generation where women could be sex objects and there were skits done on television where women were sex objects and that was funny and fun. They had whole careers out of being a sex object, that was still part of the industry.

I always felt that men were a little bit afraid of me. There was something about me that they knew they better not push. They felt uncomfortable. I always say I had a presence about me that they knew this wasn’t a lady to mess with. I always felt that way and I still do. I’m older now but I know that I had a certain presence that made them uncomfortable to misbehave. That could have been a disadvantage to me as an actress, too. Not that I needed to misbehave to get parts, maybe they perceive me as proper. I’ll put it that way.

Let’s talk about costars. Let’s go back and start with Fatal, how was it working with Glenn Close and Michael Douglas? Who’s been your favorite co-star to work with and why?

Two consonant actors, Glenn gave a spectacular performance and she paid me the greatest honor. When the film was over, she wrote me a beautiful letter complimenting me on my work and my performance. I’ve saved it and it is beautiful. I thought that was real greatness in another human being to do that. Michael was great. There was tremendous chemistry between us. He couldn’t have been more thrilled that I was playing the part. Adrian Lyne, too, and Sherry Lansing. It was a happy experience and everybody was extraordinary in the film. It was a beautiful experience. That doesn’t happen often.

Cheating has nothing to do with the physicality, attractiveness, or unattractiveness. It's what you put out towards each other. Click To Tweet

I have done well with all the leading men I’ve worked with. I’ve always gotten on great with them. Harrison Ford in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. We were a good match as a couple in the movies. It worked well. He was great. I remember doing a film with Sylvester Stallone. It was his third movie after Rocky. He treated me like a princess. He was great. I’ve worked with some great leading men I must say. I remember doing a film in Poland with Donald Sutherland. It was a tough movie. We formed a bond that lasted for years. I haven’t seen him in quite some time, but special. Some great actors that I’ve worked with, that I’ve loved working with.

Who’s the best on-screen kisser?

The funny thing about questions like that is, there’s so much to worry about when you’re shooting moments like that, the angle, how you look, the character’s viewpoint. I don’t think actors have time to think about things like that. You’re into your character and you’re worried about your performance, at least that’s my experience. Also, even if I did have a thought about that, I would never say.

We’re not mentioning any names, has there been instances when someone’s got bad breath or where it’s uncomfortable, it’s weird or someone does a bit too much? You’re like, “Easy tiger,” that was not that necessary, where someone takes it too far.

No, I don’t think so. It does happen to people. You have to realize you’ve got a crew of 30, 40, 50 people standing around watching. The guy doesn’t exactly feel comfortable either. I’ve heard other girls saying, “I’m not doing this, tell him to go brush his teeth.” It hasn’t happened to me. I do remember an instance where he ate garlic pizza right before the scene. I’ve been blessed I haven’t had that problem.

Have there been any jobs that passed you by for one reason or another that you wished you got, that you’d gone out for all that you didn’t go for, like the dream job that passed you by that you were like, “I wish I’d done that movie?”

There were lots of movies that I was interested in doing. The one with Burt Reynolds and Sally Field, Smokey and the Bandit queen, was a part I auditioned for that I came pretty close to. I had a loss when I didn’t get. I remember when I got Fatal Attraction, my sweet housekeeper had been with me forever and ever. I came home and I got the part and she got a big bottle of champagne out of the refrigerator and poured it over my head. In her culture, that was good luck.

It obviously works. We’re going to have to start throwing champagne over all of us now. Is there any actor or actress that you’ve always wanted to work with that hasn’t happened yet, or plans for the future to work with?

I would love to work with Meryl Streep. It would be an honor. I haven’t even met her. I admire her tremendously.

How is that possible since you know and have met everybody? You guys, ships in the night sort of scenario.

For years, she lived in New York. When she lived out here, she’s a private person. It’s not like she attends a lot of industry events and she doesn’t do that, which I admire. Frankly, she’s super smart the way she’s handled her career. There are instances frequently where you would run into her. That’s part of the reason.

This is a true audience question, who’s the movie star or the celebrity that you’ve known and you’ve met that have defied the perception of them? They have an image about them and they’re completely different or has most surprised you in some way?

Dani, I would have had to think about that a little bit. I can think of public figures but I can’t think of a particular celebrity who is different from how I imagined them in my mind, to be honest with you.

With theater, the actor is constantly seeking to give the greatest performance.

LLL Anne | Ann Archer
Ann Archer: With theater, the actor is constantly seeking to give the greatest performance.

 

It was more charming, wonderful and sweet where the perception of them is not so nice, or reverse, they have a perception of being a wonderful person, they weren’t so nice. I suppose we don’t want to drop names, in that instance.

I wish I could say, I find that I know about the actor or actress I’m going to meet. In other words, within the industry, there’s a lot of information. Often, it’s spot on. I do find often that maybe an actor that has a reputation for being difficult will not be difficult with me. We will get on fine. Maybe we’re not best buddies because they have a lot on their shoulders and they have their own issues or something, but in terms of a working relationship, it goes pretty smoothly. I had one actor who didn’t go smoothly because he was a cocaine addict. That was a tough movie. I don’t want to say who it was, but it was a bit of a problem. It was not pleasant. We were supposed to fall in love and it’s hard to fall in love with someone who was slightly insane.

There’s always that. I want to talk about your theatrical experiences because you were in The Graduate and both in London’s West End and then in New York as well. As an actor, besides the obvious differences between film and theatre, what do actors love about being on the stage? Whenever I’ve spoken to actors in the past and interviewed them, they have this other type of love for the stage that they don’t get in a film.

Because there’s an audience, you’ve got real live human beings in front of you that you can communicate with. That’s satisfying. You also get to do a story from beginning to end every night, it’s not broken up in bits and pieces like in film with a lot of waiting around. You get to do it every night. The actor is constantly seeking to give the greatest performance. Every night is, “Can I make it better? I want to make this moment work.” After the show every night, you’d go, “It was a good show.” You never feel you’ve gotten it 100%. It’s what makes it so exciting to do it again the next night because you’re still trying to make it greater.

When you play it for a long time, there is this thing, “I got to the theatre. We’ve got two more weeks to go.” The minute you walk on the stage, all of that is forgotten and it’s like your first performance. You give it your all, all over again. When it’s over that night, you feel great. It’s the next day when you know you have to start thinking about what time you have to be to the theater, that you start counting how many more days. There’s not an actor in the world who doesn’t feel that way. That’s the experience.

Does it feel monotonous at times or every performance does feel like a unique experience?

I’ve never experienced it feeling monotonous. For me, it’s a challenge every night I walk on the stage. I’m excited. I always say and my husband Terry always says, everyone in my family always feels the same way, I’m happiest in the moments I’m acting. That’s when I feel I’m alive and I’m purposeful in my life. I’m doing what my basic purpose in life is. It’s the happiest time I have is when I’m on stage.

You’ve had such an amazing, varied and accomplished career. What’s next for an actress who’s done it all, been there, done it, what do you look forward to? For somebody who’s had such an amazing, accomplished career with variety in it, what are the next steps for you? How do you see the career moving forward? What would you love to be doing?

A couple of years ago Terry, my husband, wrote a play about Jane Fonda’s activism during the Vietnam War. There was a famous meeting where she met with 26 vets alone in a meeting room in Waterbury, Connecticut. They were protesting her film Stanley and Iris with Robert De Niro because they disliked her because of her Vietnam activism. Terry wrote a fabulous play. We did it at the Edinburgh Film Festival. We did it in London. It was nominated for Best New Play. We’re going to bring it to New York to the Lucille Lortel Theatre. I’m going to play Jane again. She was older at that time when she met with these vets. He wrote another play about the Iraq war and George W. Bush. It’s an interesting play. I’m going to play a non-camera correspondent journalist in it. We’re going to do them in repertoire. One play one night and one play the next. It will run for six weeks in September and October. It’s exciting.

I’m going to be talking to Terry. We’re going to have Terry on another episode. Terry is amazing at everything so it seems. I’d love to have you back and talk about love and dating because you are one of the few people that have proper advice. Our readers could do with some help the Jastrow way as I’d like to call it.

We have a truly amazing marriage and always have. It’s great.

How many years has it been?

I hate to say, it will be 41 years in December. We were babies. We’ve been together forever.

Annie, thank you for joining us on The Behr Essentials. You’ve always been such an amazing friend to me. This is the first time I’ve interviewed you.

It is indeed and it’s such fun, Dani. I love talking to someone that I know so well. It made it extra fun.

We’ll have to get you back on again for some love and dating expert advice for the readers. Let me tell you, everybody, Ms. Anne Archer is the go-to person for all things dating and love. Thanks, Annie. We’ll recap again on the play when they come out in New York. We’ll do a whole episode on the show and get all the readers to come and see you guys over there.

That sounds great, Dani. I love talking to you. I love you.

I love you. Thanks, Annie.

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About Anne Archer

LLL Anne | Ann ArcherAnne Archer was nominated for an Academy Award®, a Golden Globe and the British (BAFTA) Academy Award for her role as Michael Douglas’ sympathetic, tortured wife, Beth Gallagher, in Adrian Lyne’s 1987 thriller, “Fatal Attraction.” She won a Golden Globe for her poignant performance in the ensemble cast of Robert Altman’s “Short Cuts,” and is well-known for playing CIA agent Jack Ryan’s beleaguered wife, Cathy, in “Patriot Games” and “Clear and Present Danger” with Harrison Ford.

This year she produced her first feature film “The Squeeze” written and directed by her husband Terry Jastrow and scheduled for release in the spring of 2015.

Last year she completed production on the feature film “Lullaby,” which explores with tremendous humor the power of life. The ensemble cast features Garrett Hedlund (“On The Road” and the upcoming Coen brother’s film “Inside Llewyn Davis.”) In addition to Anne, the cast also includes four other Academy Award Nominees: Richard Jenkins, Amy Adams, Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard. The film written and directed by Andrew Levitas, will premiere later this year.

In 2009 she co-starred in the CW series “Privileged,” as Laurel Limoges, the brilliant, jet-setting founder of an international cosmetics empire who hires a Yale graduate to tutor her twin teenage granddaughters. She was also seen on the big screen in the romantic comedy “Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past,” in which she plays a sultry, estranged wife who more than catches Matthew McConaughey’s eye, co-starring Jennifer Garner and Michael Douglas.

For two seasons she played Jennifer Love Hewitt’s strong yet vulnerable mother on CBS’ popular “Ghost Whisperer,” and previously appeared in Showtime’s provocative series “The L Word.”

Throughout her motion picture career, Anne has starred opposite some of Hollywood’s most dynamic and respected leading men, not only Harrison Ford and Michael Douglas, but also Tommy Lee Jones in both “Man Of The House” and the box office hit “Rules Of Engagement”, Gene Hackman in “Narrow Margin,” Sylvester Stallone in “Paradise Alley” and Wesley Snipes and Donald Sutherland in “The Art of War.”

Anne Archer was nominated for an Academy Award®, a Golden Globe and the British (BAFTA) Academy Award for her role as Michael Douglas’ sympathetic, tortured wife, Beth Gallagher, in Adrian Lyne’s 1987 thriller, “Fatal Attraction.” She won a Golden Globe for her poignant performance in the ensemble cast of Robert Altman’s “Short Cuts,” and is well-known for playing CIA agent Jack Ryan’s beleaguered wife, Cathy, in “Patriot Games” and “Clear and Present Danger” with Harrison Ford.

Archer’s 1973 film debut The All-American Boy opposite Jon Voight carried her to kudos in her next role in Lifeguard with co-star, Sam Elliott..  Her 1987 Fatal Attraction role earned Archer an Academy Award®, a Golden Globe and a BAFTA nomination. In 1993, Archer won a Golden Globe for her role in Short Cuts.

Throughout her motion picture career, Anne has starred opposite some of Hollywood’s most dynamic and respected leading men, not only Harrison Ford and Michael Douglas, but also Tommy Lee Jones in both “Man Of The House” and the box office hit “Rules Of Engagement”, Gene Hackman in “Narrow Margin,” Sylvester Stallone in “Paradise Alley” and Wesley Snipes and Donald Sutherland in “The Art of War.” 
Her standout television work includes: Ghost Whisperer, The L Word and Privileged.

In London’s West End, in 2001 Archer played the role of Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate.

In 2014 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Archer played the role of Jane Fonda in The Trial of Jane Fonda written and directed by her husband Terry Jastrow which focuses on Ms. Fonda’s antiwar activity during the Vietnam War.

In 2016, the play opened in London at The Park Theatre and was nominated for best new play.

In 2015 she produced her first feature film “The Squeeze” written and directed by her husband Terry Jastrow.

That same year she appeared opposite Richard Jenkins in the feature film “Lullaby” with the ensemble cast, Garrett Hedlund, Amy Adams, Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard. The film written and directed by Andrew Levitas.

In 2009 she was seen on the big screen in the romantic comedy “Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past,” in which she plays a sultry, estranged wife who more than catches Matthew McConaughey’s eye, co-starring Jennifer Garner and Michael Douglas.

In 1998 and ‘99 she worked with husband Terry Jastrow as co-producer and co-host, with Isabella Rossellini, on ABC’s “The World Fashion Premiere from Paris,” a history-making two-hour special. These telecasts were the first to be allowed full access to the haute couture shows of the most famous designers in the world.

Born into a show business family, she followed in the footsteps of her parents, actress Marjorie Lord (TV’s “Make Room for Daddy”) and actor John Archer (“White Heat”).

Planned Parenthood Federation of America appointed her as their first National Public Advocacy Chairman; and she served in this role for seven years. In recognition of this commitment, Ms. Magazine honored her as one of their six “Women of the Year” (1988). She was honored with the 2017 WIN Humanitarian Award by the Women’s Image Network on Feb.17, 2017.

In 2006 she founded Artists for Human Rights (AFHR) with the purpose of bringing artists together with the common cause of promoting human rights and activism by raising awareness of those rights as laid out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. AFHR works inclusively with allied organizations to bring artistic expression to bear in the human rights arena through a multitude of artistic campaigns and international partnerships thus increasing responsibility, peace and tolerance around the world.

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