The Sundance Film Festival honored Dianne Wiest with the Piper-Heidsieck
Tribute to Independent Vision and she continued to display that spirit
throughout the mad rush of Sundance. Here's what she had to say to the
Q: IS THERE A COMMON THREAD IN YOUR WORK?
WIEST: No, it's what comes along literally. If you don't have to take the
kids out of school...I've been grateful for what comes along.
Q: WHAT DOES THE PIPER-HEIDSIECK MEAN TO YOU?
WIEST: I was shooting a children's film in Canada when got the letter and I
read it and read it and read it! I was honored.
Q: WHY HAVE YOU DONE SO MANY FILMS WITH WOODY ALLEN?
WIEST: Because he asked me to! I keep thinking they take the plaque
(Piper-Heidsieck) away from me! So much for my independent spirit. But
Woody is so musical in his film making. There are rhythms and beats. I have
called him up to ask if I can be in his next film. I've never worked with
anyone I've trusted so completely. He won't let you hit a false note.
Q: HAS YOUR CAREER CHANGED SINCE THE OSCAR?
WIEST: No, but sweet things happen. A Mom with kids in tow tells me that
when she tells her kids "Don't speak," but they still do!
Q: WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO DO "DRUNKS" (THE INDEPENDENT FILM BEING SHOWN AT
WIEST: Very seldom do actors get to do monologues, and you just don't get
that on film. I loved the script, loved the director, Peter Cohn and he was
able to gather interesting people.
Q: WOULD "DRUNKS" HAVE BEEN DIFFERENT IF IT HAD A MILLION DOLLAR BUDGET?
WIEST: Yes, I'd have had coffee! And there would have been trailers. Unless you are unique, your opinion goes out the window. And you are at the mercies of the dailies. With an indie you don't have that.
PETER COHN: We didn't have dailies either.
Q: IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE BETWEEN COMEDY AND DRAMA, WHICH WOULD IT BE?
WIEST: I had to choose, I'd be so sad. They are flip sides of the same
coin. I love both.
Q: WHAT DIRECTORS WOULD YOU LIKE TO WORK WITH?
WIEST: I just can't think of any, well, John Turturro.
Q: WAS THE OSCAR DETRIMENTAL?
WIEST: Directors say that you should get actors before they are recognized.
They will be a pain in the...or have an opinion. I know I'm not a favorite
with producers. Directors want me in films, but producers, well...maybe I
cost too much.
Q: HOW HAVE YOU CHANGED SINCE YOU BEGAN YOU CAREER?
WIEST: I'm more aware of time. The element of time. I wouldn't understand
how you were kept standing around. They forget about you. I look at the
kids coming out of Yale. They are so intelligent with their careers. I wish
I had that. Young people are more intelligent and sophisticated.
Q: HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT SUNDANCE AND THIS AREA?
WIEST: I shot "Footloose" nearby and we used to hike. Very fond memories.
Q: WHAT ARE YOU THE MOST PROUD OF IN YOUR CAREER?
WIEST: I have more than a technique, a knowledge. It's not anxiety filled.
I relish it. It is like flying and it's new to me. I used to be anxiety
Q: WHAT KINDS OF CHANGES HAVE YOU SEEN IN THE MOVIES INDUSTRY?
WIEST: It's very dry. The studios are very much business. Maybe it was
always that way. It is really commercial now. Judgments are made and
directions are given to make the cash register ring.
Q: HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN IN FILM?
WIEST: Jodie and Susan Sarandon are making their own way. The film I'm
working on now with Whoopie Goldberg, she breaks the glass ceiling on Wall
Street, which is even worse.
Q: HOW DOES PARENTHOOD EFFECT YOUR CAREER?
WIEST: I recently turned down a film that I didn't want my kids to see,
Priorities shift. Sometimes I'm sad about that, but not enough to do
anything about it.
Q: WHAT ROLE WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO?
WIEST: Gone With The Wind and I'd play everyone.
Q: COULD YOU CHOOSE BETWEEN THEATER AND FILM?
WIEST: No, I love both as well. Theater is not to make a living, so I don't
have the money pressure.
Q: WITH WOODY ALLEN, DO YOU ANTICIPATE WHAT HE WANTS?
WIEST: Yes but when we were doing "Bullets over Broadway" he told me to be
more fragile and I thought I was, but he saw it completely differently.
Q: DO YOU REVISIT YOUR FILMS?
WIEST: No, I used to watch dailies and felt I had to keep on top of the
character, but I don't feel that any more.
When the Piper-Heidsieck Tribute was presented that evening she did revisit
clips from "Independence Day", "Radio Days", "Hannah and Her Sisters",
"Parenthood" and "Bullets over Broadway". Dianne Wiest was delighted. So
are we all.
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