Two talents, both incredible in two very different but important ways. One thing is undeniable about Cher, she is one fierce woman to sit down with, but she’s also incredibly and surprisingly friendly. No matter how many times people attack her, she just keeps coming back fighting with a few good jokes to boot. This week, Burlesque hits theaters with all the songs and dance that you could possibly want, but it has a couple of things you don’t see in every musical, an icon and one of the best actors working today to raise the bar of the entire film, Stanley Stucci.
Find out what the powerful couple had to say about working in the business, being attached by fans and making “Gay-Fantasia”…
The Hardest Part of Being an Icon:
Cher, I remember reading a story about how you were in the theater and some people in the audience laughed at a trailer you were in?
Cher: No, no – everyone laughed.
That stuck with me for a long time because most people would curl up in a ball.
Cher: You know what happened was Mike Nichol said,”Go to the theater because you’re going to see the trailer.” So we were just really excited to see it, me, my sister and my manager and we ran over there. They started the trailer and it said, you know, Meryl Streep, and then Kurt Russell and then Cher and then everyone in the theater, everyone laughed. And I just thought, you know, this is such a visceral thing. This a real thing coming from the entire group of people. It’s their feeling. So I called Mike and said, Dad, this is what happened thanks a lot, and he said, they’re laughing before but they won’t laugh afterwards, and that’s important.
You don’t take no for an answer, even in a theater full of people?
Cher: I don’t believe the word no.
Stanley Tucci: Well it was too late at that point.
Cher: I did this thing for the glamor awards and I said, no is a bullshit word that someone made up and I don’t believe it, I just don’t believe it because no is an easy out. It’s like, oh they said no so I don’t have to think beyond that. I think if you’re an artist, you just don’t care. I think if you’re a person, you should try to care less.
You’ve had some great times and great reviews as well. Did you feel empowered when stepping into bigger roles with actors like Meryl Streep?
Cher: I don’t think that that’s true. I packing my bag one day and then all of a sudden I started unpacking it, my sister kept packing it, and I kept unpacking it. So my sister said, “what are you doing,” and I said, “I just can’t go do a movie with Meryl Streep, how am I going to go do that,” and then I did. But my part was easy. Everybody was all dramatic and my part was not. I was the comic relief for all the horrible moments that were in the film.
When you look back, do you ever get a chance to look back on video and see different incarnations of yourself?
Cher: Every night in Las Vegas. It goes from the beginning to where we are right now. Big Sonny and Cher moments, format he actual beginning of my career which was Sonny and Cher.
Who do you see when you see that person? Is it still you?
Cher: It’s like you over your life span and you change somewhat, but I’m not so sure people change that much. I think you are who are, and then maybe you grow and maybe you go back three steps, and go forward. You add things, you discard things. I felt the same way since I was six. I kept thinking, I wish my parents would stop fucking with me.
The Actual Acting Parts of the Film:
Christina was talking about how wonderful it was to work with both you. Are you guys aware of people walking up to sets and looking up to you, and admiring you?
Cher: Well I am, but he’s (Stanley Tucci) not.
ST: Usually they just walk past me, whenever I’m there.
Cher: Look it was her first time on a set and she was nervous, but she held herself well. I would be frightened to walk on a set where you’re starring in a movie and you don’t know the people and you don’t know what to expect. I think she did a great job not being so nervous that it kind of diminished her performance.
Why does an Oscar winner not star in a movie for as long as you have?
Cher: I forgot. Nothing came to me that I liked except a part in Mamma Mia, which I was on the road and couldn’t do, and other than that, the movie with Johnny Knoxville that I’m really interested to do called The Drop-Out. It’s very dumb. It’s very 14-year-old boyish.
ST: I’ve heard of that one.
Cher: Yeah, so that was something that he and I have talked about, but I’ve been
busy. It’s not like I’ve been shut in. I forgot that I really enjoyed this. I forgot that I
liked acting so much because you don’t do it and you kind of forget.
When you come back to working do you ever feel rusty, when you’re on set?
Cher: For a minute, and I don’t know if it’s rusty. We were talking about this the other day. I am always terrified the first day, and Mike Nichol says he throws away the first day of filming.
ST: You’re feeling each other out. You’re feeling your character out. You never quite know what if going to happen. And it always the first day. It’s like the first day of school. And none of us knew each other.
Did you two spend any time before filming?
Cher: We just had a read-through. It was a disaster.
ST: The read-through went on and on… it was so long.
ST: It’s actually still going on. We left.
Cher: It was longer than Birth of a Nation.
How do you guys prepare for your relationships, I would’ve never guessed that guys met each other one set. It was such a beautiful relationship. How do you prep for that?
ST: You can’t. You just have to pray that you’re going to get along with that person. And that alchemy is going to happen and you’re going to take that relationship, and just make it richer and richer.
Cher: You can’t prepare for that. You really can’t because that either happens or it doesn’t. Stanley and I were talking yesterday about what it would be like… I’ve worked with directors that I did not like, but I haven’t worked with any actors that I hated. I was thinking about Debra Winger and Richard Gere, I don’t know if I would’ve been able to do that.
ST: Did they like really hate each other?
Cher: Hated.. I don’t think I could do that. It would be terrible. I really rely on the other actor maybe too much, but I really need to feel that kind of safety. He and I didn’t know each other, we met one time, and the next time, we were working
ST: And we were playing best friends.
You don’t have a verbal governor. That’s fantastic!
Cher: Not always. It’s not always fantastic but it’s always the truth.
This is something that also goes with the theme of the movie, that they should just sit and be cute and say yes, and you are intrinsically the antithesis of that.
Cher: I know, and my press agent hates that. Sonny hated that. It’s something that I like to do because it really is who I am and I like to that I can just say stuff. Not that I don’t get into trouble, a lot, not so much anymore, but I’ve always been that person and it seems to me that I should just stay that person. One time when I wasn’t like that was when Bush trashed the Dixie Chicks and I thought I better just keep my mouth shut, and so it was the only time in my life where I didn’t say what I really felt and later I just couldn’t help myself and just started saying things that I felt.
ST: Did you say that documentary that was made about that?
You’re able to continue on with your career while being outspoken, do you think that’s interactive for other people or does it just seem to work for you?
Cher: I don’t really know what works for other people, but it’s kind of who I am and who I’ve always been. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
If people love this, hate this, does this role off your back at this point?
Cher: It still affects me. I don’t think it affects you. Do you care?
ST: Yeah, I care.
Cher: As much as I do?
ST: I don’t know the extent of your care.
Anyone will be trashed merciless somewhere on the Internet. Do you ever look there?
Cher: No. I’m sure I’m trashed a lot.
ST: The thing is everyone’s a critic, literally. Start a blog, and whatever, I’m a critic. And then it just becomes a lot of snipping, really. It’s not really about informed criticism or educative criticism, it’s just like, I think he’s ugly. What the fuck is that? I think informed criticism is a thing that is lacking.
Singing, Dancing and Gay-Fantasia!
How do you feel about the reliability about your relationship and how it speaks to your gay fan bases?
Cher: You have a gay fan base too?
ST: Since the Devil Wears Prada.
Cher: Right, and you’ve done it twice now?
ST: Yeah, so now they’re wondering. I don’t know, we’ll see what they say. People are calling this movie “Gay-Fantasia”.
Stanley, at any point was there a possibility of you doing a musical number?
Cher: Never… he can’t sing, and he says he can dance, but I’ve danced with him.
Alan Cumming sings and dances in his number…
ST: Here’s the thing, Alan had more in there that was cut down. And Alan really is an incredible singer. I just saw him perform down in Dallas for this charity thing that I go down there for every year, and he was unbelievable.
Cher: I didn’t have any scenes with him so I don’t know.
ST: He’s amazing.
Cher: Even though I think he’s a really great actor, I had no idea.
ST: He’s a real song and dance man.
Cher: And you’re just not.
ST: I’m just not.
Check out Cher and Stanely Tucci in Burlesque this week, November 24th!