AirTalk for January 9, 2012

Diane Keaton on Annie and Dorothy Hall

By Diane Keaton

Then Again

We all know Diane Keaton as Michael Corleone's wife from "The Godfather," before serving as the real world basis for the fictional title character she played in Woody Allen's "Annie Hall," which garnered her an Academy Award for Best Actress. Since then, she went on to star in several more of Allen's films, as well as such hits as "Baby Boom," "The First Wives Club" and "Something's Gotta Give."

Recently, Keaton has turned away from the camera and to the page, with the release of her memoir, "Then Again." The book includes talk of her role in "Annie Hall," where she played a character that had many personality elements coinciding with Keaton's own self.

"That was one of those fortuitous experiences in my life where somebody like Woody actually made observations about me and was able to translate that into a script," Keaton said. "Annie Hall was just a breeze to perform." She said that she was impressed by director Allen's ability to hear language and use it in movie dialogue. According to Keaton, the awkward exchange between Annie Hall (Keaton) and Alvy Singer (Allen) after they play tennis, including all the 'ums' and other hesitations, were not improvised.

While the book delves into autobiographical information about her life and career, the core of the work rests on Dorothy Hall, Keaton's mother, who was a tremendous cataloguer of letters, journals (85 in total) and photographs.

"She must have had great expectations and great ambition because I came across an unfinished memoir, I discovered how ambitious she was about her own photography, what she wanted to do as an artist, all these things that, of course as a daughter, I conveniently overlooked as I was mapping my own life out with her encouragement," Keaton said.

Keaton called Dorothy "the love of my life hands down." Her mother, who was afflicted with Alzheimer's, passed away in 2008. The actress said she regrets waiting until after her mother's death to read the documents that were left behind. She cited sifted through this abundance of family history as the inspiration for her memoir's title.

"It really made the depths of my love for her all the more powerful," Keaton said. "But the disappointment was that I didn't express that. I wasn't really able to put my hands on her face and tell her while she was still very much present, how much I loved her."

Guest:

Diane Keaton, Golden Globe and Academy Award winning actress, author of “Then Again” (Random House)


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