Krige reflectson past and current projects
Tearsheets: Send them to Allied AND Laura Kim
A press luncheon with Alice Krige,
NOTE TO EDITORS: Is the proper header format? It's been a while since I did an interview article -- MKT
co-star of Alan J. Pakula's
See You in the Morning.
By MANAVENDRA K. THAKUR
ALICE KRIGE LOOKS NOTHING like Beth Goodwin, her character in Alan J. Pakula's See You in the Morning. At a luncheon with eightor nine film critics, she arrives wearing no makeup and comfortably dressed in a loosely fitting, plain gray dress. The only jewelry she wears is a discreet gold wedding ring -- no earrings or necklaces -- and her wavy hair flows down toward her waist.
What prompted her, then, to take the role of Beth, who seems about as different from her as anyone can be? Pausing a bit, Krige soon replies, "I was ... moved by Beth's journey. She's someone I feel close to.... I [used to get] very anxious about things. I learned not to worry" much in the same way that Beth does in the film.
Most of Krige's answers followed this pattern. Krige speaks in slow, measured terms, always pausing to search for the proper words before responding to a query. Unhurried and unworried about the silent gaps between her sentences, she fields questions in a quiet and contemplative style, almost as though her luncheon companions didn't exist and she was talking to herself. Born and raised in South Africa, her voice has a slight but distinctive British accent.
She told a story of how she originally went to Rhodes University (in South Africa) to follow in the footsteps of her mother, who worked as a psychologist. While Krige was a student, the university started a drama school. She had one free credit, and her parents urged her to take a dramatic acting class. The rest, as they say, is history.
She got an honors degree (a degree earned after the bachelor's) in drama and went to acting school in London. There, she made her professional acting debut on British television in 1979 and went on to roles in films like Chariots of Fire, Ghost Story, King David, Barfly, and Haunted Summer. "I love to work in both" film and stage, she says. "There is something about the cinema that gets me wildly excited. It's incredibly real, and it takes me away. Theater does something else."
She praises Alan J. Pakula, the writer and director of See You in the Morning, for creating "a wonderful community for people to work in." Pakula, she explained, gave his actors an unusally long rehearsal period of four weeks. During this time, Pakula also decided to let his actors improvise. The scene where Beth confronts her husband Larry (Jeff Bridges) after he visits his ex-wife was completely improvised, Krige said. The script had originally called for Beth to get angry when she notices a lipstick stain on Larry's pajamas. Krige and Bridges came up with the idea of Beth sitting on a couch during Larry's confession, and that is how the scene was ultimately filmed.
Pakula also wrote new scenes during the rehearsal, "most of which we filmed." At 5pm each day of the shoot, Pakula would halt the cameras, clear the set, and confer with his actors, cameraman, and other important crew members about the scenes that had been shot that day. One result was that a subplot about Beth giving up her career to nurture her first husband (David Dukes) was deleted from the final script. "It takes a special kind of courage and imagination to throw everything away and start again," added Krige admiringly.
When asked whether she drew on personal experiences during the filming of See You in the Morning, she gathered herself and replied "I come from a very happy family" and that divorce was not a consideration in her family. About the film itself, she allowed herself only the small comment that "I didn't think of the movie as `goody goody....' It's very honest."
Krige mentioned that she is currently developing a project with her husband about the life of Julius Caesar as seen through the eyes of prison inmates. According to Krige, "It explores the roots of dictatorship. When do you stop being a dictator and become a criminal?" She indicated that the film will be shot in prison with inmate actors, and that she may play a small acting role in the film. As for her life with her husband, she says "I've settled for being an itinerant." She and her husband have rented a home in Santa Monica, although their schedules don't allow them to spend much time there.