Diane Keaton recently released a new book, "Then Again," but just like the idiosyncratic actress, it's not your run-of-the-mill celebrity autobiography. The book is really a joint effort between Keaton and her late mother, Dorothy Hall, who kept extensive journals throughout her life, and the result is a poignant and deeply moving memoir.
In "Then Again," the 65-year-old actress candidly writes about the three big loves of her life: Woody Allen, Warren Beatty and Al Pacino, and reveals her secret struggle with bulimia during her early 20s.
Why did you decide to focus half of the book on your mother, Dorothy?
Because my family ... seemed to believe that documentation was key. My mother collected and saved everything. She left 85 journals; I never read them when she was alive. I, too, collect and save everything. Let's say you send me an email -- I'll be saving it. The point is, I'm not a writer, but I am somebody who can appreciate the sound of other people's voices, so I figured the best way for me to be able to even engage upon the possibility of a memoir would be to use my mother as my co-author and then pepper it up with everybody's quotes. I think the three men -- my "unobtainable greats" -- were fantastic. They gave me permission to use their words and I feel that gave my life more relevance than if I had sat down and tried to write about my life.
I loved that you saw "Splendor in the Grass" as a teen, had a crush on Warren Beatty and then dated him.
It was amazing.
Were you like, "Oh my God, I'm dating my teen crush"?
It seems like Al Pacino was the one who got away.
He was very appealing and the thing is, we kept running into each other because of work. Work brings people together; it's very helpful. ... Maybe I need another job to find another unobtainable great.
You're getting a lot of press for disclosing your struggle with bulimia in your 20s. Why talk about it after so many years?
Because it's a part of my life. To keep secrets doesn't help you at all. I mean, who cares. Frankly, it's of no consequence but it's nice for me to feel like it's off my chest. I told the truth. I have nothing to hide. It's not relevant, but for me it feels good. I think I'm a sister to all the rest of the women -- and I'm sure men as well -- who have had some kind of eating disorder, and I'm a part of the team.
You also write how you've struggled with your confidence.
Oh yeah, all my life, of course. At this point I have to put it aside because I don't want to be stuck there forever.
Are you amazed that you've been in so many iconic movies?
There's a surreal aspect to it. It's almost like you don't own it. My acting teacher, Sanford Meisner, used to say, "Live in the moment." So that moment's gone and it's hard to relive the memory of something so abstract as realizing your dreams when your dreams themselves are so abstract. It's like I know what I wanted but I didn't know what I wanted. I understood it had to do with being adored or loved or finding an audience, being able to perform in front of people, but that's a very hard thing to picture in reality. And then it becomes a reality...
And then you ran away from it.
Yeah, I had my problems with it. I didn't embrace it very much. I don't regret it. I think I wanted to do things that I had the opportunity to do that were unusual, artistic projects. Warren said to me, "What are you, nuts? You wanted to be a movie star all your life, you get it and now you better take responsibility and deal with it." But I didn't want to.
Sorry, but I agree with Warren.
Well, he's smart.
Also very romantic.
Yes. I was terrified of flying and once I had to fly from L.A. to New York, so he took me to the airport and said, "I'll walk you onto the plane." Then he sat down with me and the plane took off and he was still holding my hand. We landed and he kissed me goodbye and took the next plane back to L.A. Pretty cool.
What's your favorite movie that you've done?
Without a doubt, "Something's Gotta Give," because of my age, and the thrill of finding myself playing a part that I played when I was much younger. I got to have a fabulous part in a great script and, of course, playing against Jack [Nicholson] and then Keanu [Reeves] -- I mean what do you want?
Also, Jack Nicholson gave you a percentage of his back-end deal.
That was a miracle -- the sweetest thing anyone's ever done.
Ever watch any of your movies?
No, I don't look at any of my movies unless I have to. I avoided seeing "The Godfather" for about five years. Now, I'm aware that it's a great movie, but my participation in it -- with my little tiny head and that big fat wig -- I just think, "Who is that little tiny-headed person? Why is she in the movie? She's a freak."