How do you not
sit at a table, next to Julie Andrews and not be completely star
struck? Seriously, I have
spoken to a whole bunch of actors and directors, famous people, but
it’s freakin’ JULIE ANDREWS. Now
just a quick history on myself… my favorite flick when I was a kid
was HALLOWEEN. It was one of
the greatest movies of my existence. I
hated Disney movies and usually didn’t see them, except for MARY
POPPINS. For some reason, I
had watched that and developed my first crush.
And soon after that, I discovered THE SOUND OF MUSIC.
It was a strange dichotomy in my history with film.
These were not my types of movies in general and I give full
credit to Ms. Andrews. She
could sing, she could dance and she could act.
Sadly, she can’t sing now do to some issues with her voice,
but she is still acting. And
on this day, along with Cameron Diaz, another very lovely girl, her
voice returns in SHREK
Now when both of
the lovely ladies stopped by The Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, I
felt bad for Cameron because truth be told, she was sitting next to
a legend and the questions didn’t seem to be addressing her.
But the thing about Cameron is that she knows this and is
just as much in awe as we all were. It
was nice to see both of them and they seem to have the utmost
respect for each other. Cameron
has been in and out of the gossip columns lately, and I think that
she kind of enjoyed being out of the spotlight with this group of
journalists. So sitting next to Julie must have been a double treat,
not only to be next to this living legend, but to be able to talk
about more important things than a certain co-star in SHREK THE
THIRD. So read on folks, and
don’t feel too sorry that Ms. Diaz is not the spotlight here.
|Cameron Diaz||Julie Andrews|
I brought a young lady with me who happens to be my daughter
[referring to Cameron Diaz].
[Jokingly] I didn’t know you were Julie Andrews’
know, isn’t great? Rupert is actually …
[To Julie Andrews] Your daughter?
my son. [Laughter]
You realize, of course – and no offense to the
beautiful Cameron – but many people are here only because
they happen to be interviewing Julie Andrews.
Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.
That kind of iconic status that you’ve attained in
the last half a century – and you don’t look a day over 30, I
must say. How does that make you feel after all this time?
Lucky! I’m filled with gratitude that I’m still able to do
what I love to do. I’m the lucky lady who got asked to do
“Shrek” and “The Sound of Music” and “Victor/Victoria”
and all of them. I’m the lucky one who got asked.
There is a huge amount of talent out there, a lot of them. So
I think we are all very blessed and shouldn’t take any of it for
Are you still writing?
Yes, very much so.
What are you writing?
I run a children’s publishing company. It’s a publishing
company of books for children of all ages. It’s called
“The Julie Andrews’ Collection” and on top of that, this year
I am actually finishing up my autobiography which should be half a
biography. It’s half of my life; it’s not all of it.
When is it coming out?
Next April, but you know how long it takes to get these things out.
I’m writing about the period covering my childhood to coming out
to do “Mary Poppins” out in Hollywood. That’s the
arc of the story.
Yes. You have to ask, why do you do an autobiography, apart
from the fact that publishers offer you a lot of money for it.
I looked at Moss Hart’s autobiography, “Act One” which was so
brilliant. And suddenly realized that what he did was give us
a piece of theater history which I never knew anything about.
And I thought might be a good reason to write. I am going to
write about my early years in Vaudeville, which not many people know
about, and some other things besides.
When you’re doing an autobiography and you go back in
your life, do you go back to the old films and see them
I’m actually taking this autobiography up to the point where I
start my first movie so I haven’t had to look at them again.
But I certainly have gone back and re-thought “My Fair Lady” and
“Camelot” or any of those things and the earlier years, and
it’s been a very interesting experience to write about.
Well, my dreams are doozies these days, I can tell you. I’m
full of mixed emotions.
When you look back at your early theater career, what
kind of memories do you have, and how selective are those
Well, that’s for me to find out when the book is finally put
together. I hope that they are as truthful as I can make them.
Right now I’m trying to be very honest about it. Selective
is what gave me pleasure, but I’m not stinting on any of the hard
work or pain, too.
You’ve been involved in “Mary Poppins” which is a
childhood favorite of so many people and has some fantasy
elements, and now you’re a part of “Shrek”, do you see that
films that are geared
more towards children, are they less innocent now and do you think
that it’s a shame that they somewhat lost some of that innocence?
Well in the case of “Shrek”, in spite of it being all hip and
modern and standing all the old traditions on its ear, the one thing
that comes through loud and clear, is that it is a story in the old
tradition. All the values are just as good. It’s still a
wonderful tale to tell with good moral values and decency about it.
I’m very pleased to be a part of that
Do you think that is why the “Shrek” phenomenon has
lasted? There is a sense of morality about these
Well, it is class stuff. Look at the quality of the film
itself. Just the very quality of the film is the best you can
get. The writers are also the best. The characters are
wonderful. Its hip and with it. I don’t think
there’s anything to fault really.
Cameron, listening to Julie talk about her memories and
living through a important time in Hollywood history.
Do you think you’re going to look back someday the way Julie is
look back right now?
She WILL have when she gets to my age.
Sure, it’s part of my life so I definitely will look back and have
these memories, but it’s amazing to get to sit and listen to
[Julie]. It’s very comforting to have someone who is held in
such high regard and who has accomplished so much and to hear how
grateful she is for it, and how she looks at it. I look at my
career the same way. I’m just grateful for everything
that’s happened. I feel lucky. I’ve said that from
day one. Every time I get a job I’m just like “Thank
you!” I just don’t expect it.
Why do you say that?
I think that’s just because of the way I was raised.
You’d be a pretty crass human being if you thought you deserved it
in any way because there is so much talent out there.
That’s one thing you both have in common. You
both have incredible mainstream appeal and success.
You both appeal to a wide audience. Do you have any sense of
I think I do know why, and that is in that I got fortunate enough to
be in two or three of the biggest blockbusters of all time.
The bigger the movie the better it is remembered, and therefore so
are you. How lovely to be part of these iconic things.
And [“Shrek”] is another one.
“Mary Poppins” recently celebrated its anniversary
on DVD. When you look back at that film do you see it as a
collection of memories?
I look at it as a movie. I remember exactly the wonder of
making it. It was the first movie I ever made. It was
the best lesson I could possibly have had it terms of filmmaking
because everything was special effects in terms of live action and
animated sequences. So I had to learn the patience to make a
I did the same thing. “The Mask” was my first movie and I
was reacting off of animation that wasn’t there and I had never
acted before so I was like, OK here I go. [Julie] had done
But it does take a great deal of patience because it is about will
the effect work and how can we get it to work.
Were you thinking about the special effects side of it when
you were making “Mary Poppins”?
If you’ve never made a movie before, everything about the filming
is interesting. Why and how. It’s a learning
experience. You learn so much.
You garnered a lot of success very early in life and
early in your career. Do you have any lessons or
advice for younger actors who are finding themselves with such
success very soon in their
Yeah, it helps to be well rooted in yourself because big success is
an assault, it certainly was for me. It’s also for people
that are passionate about this business or theater; the chances are
that with a bit of luck, wonderful things can come your way, but
you’d better have done your homework. Be ready. Pay
What keeps you guys grounded?
think I have to thank my family for that, my father particularly.
My mother was saying, “Don’t you get a swollen head” and
“Don’t you show off” and “Don’t you complain about all the
cigarette smoke in the theater.”
Working together in these movies, what have you picked
up from each other?
We have some similar values.
It’s like soul food for me to hear her speak. It’s so
inspiring. In your life, pieces of the puzzle fall into place
and it’s great to see.
It’s nice to find out that she’s as lovely a lady as she is in
What would you like to see them take the characters in
the future “Shrek” movies?
I’ll take whatever they hand out.
Tell us about “Shrek the Halls”.
It’s great. It’s so sweet. It’s a Christmas movie.
It feels like those television specials when I was growing up like
“Frosty the Snowman” and “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” and
all these specials that would come on at Christmas. It’s
exactly that. It’s the “Shrek” version of the
traditional Christmas specials.
What else are you working on now, Cameron?
I have a couple of things that I’m just waiting to see what sticks
to the wall first. But hopefully I’ll be working this
Julie, do you think you will do a Volume II to your
I don’t know yet. One may be all. We’ll see what I
come up with. I’m very nervous about it. It’s a big
effort. I hope I’m going to write it well. I’m
trying to but I don’t know.
Do you have a title?
I do, but I don’t want to mention it just yet because they may
Do you every get frustrated who complain about being in
I don’t bump into a lot of people like that.
I think your relationship with fame is like any other relationship.
It is ups and downs. Some days you wake up and you’re like
amazed by it, and sometimes you wake up and you’re floored by it
and you just don’t know how you’re going to get through it.
I think like any career, [such as it your case] you love that
you’re a writer but some days you like, “I can’t believe I
have to go to another junket.” But then you remember why
you’re doing it and what it means to you. There are days
when you are not as grateful for everything you have, but that’s
just being human. I’ve had moments where I’ve just wanted
to wish it all away because it is just overwhelming, and then you
rediscover it and you remember why it’s so important to you and
you can embrace it again. Unfortunately everything we say goes
Has that perception of fame changed as you’ve gotten
It’s like a roller coaster. It’s like any relationship –
even with your car. [You think to yourself] I love this car,
this car drives so fast, I love this car – God, I need a new car!
It’s constantly evolving and changing. The thing that I
always remember is how lucky we are and how wonderful and beautiful
the life that I have is. I consider myself the most fortunate
person on the planet.
The best possible thing is that you realize as you get older that it
is all about the giving back. It’s all about the giving.
When you are a young person it’s all about “what am I doing?”
But nowadays, it’s all about “Can I make you feel great?”
Let me know
what you think. Send questions
and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.