Famed director Woody Allen once said of her, "In real life she believes in God. But she also believes that the radio works because there are tiny people inside it."
The person in question is Diane Keaton who Allen directed to an Oscar for Annie Hall way back in 1977. That landmark, bittersweet, soul-searching tale brought a new level of sophistication to the comedy genre. Over the years Keaton has gained fame in a variety of role ranging from The Godfather movies where she played Al Pacino's wife to the comedy Father of The Bride appearing opposite Steve Martin.
Keaton is also one of the few women to go behind camera. She made her film directorial debut with Hanging Up a few years ago. Keaton's film debut happened over three decades ago in the comedy Lovers and Other Strangers in 1970.
One of her latest projects is the drama Breaking Through. This airs on Hallmark on 11 October at 10:15 pm. She plays Patsy McCartle, a widowed single mother of two young boys struggling with a part time job. Through an email sent by Indiantelevision.com's Ashwin Pinto, Keaton spoke about her character, working on The Godfather trilogy as well as why being a survivor is something she can relate to.
Could you tell me about the character you play?Breaking Through is about a widowed mother whose desperate attempts to support her two children lead her into the world of drug dealing. It's an interesting story about the struggle of a single mother trying to raise her kids with a part time job.
It is then that she comes across a friend who comes up with a solution - drug dealing! Very interesting story! You must watch the story unveil.
What aspects of the story were you strongly drawn towards?
The movie is a good mix of suspense, caution and provocation. It is a story around the challenges or situations once faces, the courage one needs to demonstrate during those situations and the choices that one has to make when in those situations.
Did you mature as an actress early in your career because of your close association with Woody Allen? What influence has he played in you career and life?
Woody has been instrumental in my life and I owe a large part of my career to him. If I start talking about him, I could go on and on and on. So the less I say the better! I think Woody helped me evolve as an actress. The maturity part had to follow sooner or later, whether Woody or no Woody!
When you won an Oscar for Annie Hall did the quality of the roles you were offered shoot up?
Oh yes! It is the time just after you've won the Oscar's. Suddenly it is like everyone wants you and you are like "Where were all these people all this time? Were they just waiting for the Oscar's to happen?"
"The Godfather helped me mature and learn a lot from my colleagues. Having so many of them all veterans in the field was great"
You got an Oscar nomination playing a character dying of leukemia in Marvins Room. Is being a survivor against all odds something that you can personally relate with?
Yes. I consider myself a survivor. Actually my dad suffered from inoperable brain tumour and we could not really do much to help him.
In fact we did not know how to ease the pain, but he was brave and stronger than all of us put together. It was a helpless situation. Maybe I have inherited the survival instinct from him.
Why are there so few women working behind the camera?
Well maybe the question could better be framed as: "You are one of the few woman behind the camera"!
Actually, I think the trend is changing but I see more and more women moving from being an actress to behind the camera these days.
Over the past decade do you find that you keep getting roles involving similar types of character to play because that is what the studios are comfortable seeing you do?
Most often a particular role does you some good and Bang! You have loads of offers, all of them for similar roles. It is amazing, how people believe that if it worked once it will work time and again.
I have tried to break away from the usual roles and have tried my hand at several things. I have tried my best to do all I can to be the best as an actress.
What did you learn about the acting craft working with Francis Ford Coppola, Al Pacino, Robert Duvall and the gang in The Godfather movies?The Godfather helped me mature and learn a lot from my colleagues. Having so many of them all veterans in the field was great. In fact they would give me a lot of feedback on my acting and what I could do to improve it.
With which film genres are you most comfortable with the comedy as in Father of The Bride or the family drama as in Breaking Through?
I like a mix of both. I am very comfortable with comedy and we had a ball shooting for it. But then serious roles too have their set of challenges that I love. A balance of both is important.
Despite being involved with the likes of Warren Beatty you have never married. Is there any reason for this?
Well well! I hate talking about my personal life you know. I think I'm a lot like you as in, a journalist, because I like to know about people and write about them. Maybe make a story on their life or something. But I don't like to talk about myself! So I am not talking now either.
Finally you once said that you thought that people who were famous tended to be underdeveloped in their humanity skills. How did you manage avoiding this predicament?
Maybe I'm one among them too! Maybe my humanity skills too are under developed.
No, but I truly believe so! I think that we are all so busy achieving stardom, that we forget the smaller things in life the things that make us human.