HomeBarbara Hershey on Beaches Woody Allen Breastfeeding on TV: ‘I Was Innocent’ | Movie

Barbara Hershey on Beaches Woody Allen Breastfeeding on TV: ‘I Was Innocent’ | Movie

IIn 1973, Barbara Hershey – then known as Barbara Siegel, for reasons we’ll touch on shortly – went on the popular American talk show The Dick Cavett Show and torpedoed her career. She was at the side of her then partner, the actor David Carradine, but when Hershey/The Seagull came out on stage, I heard their eight-month-old crying off-camera. So she ran away and came back with the little boy, named Free. Unfortunately, Free continued to worry. So the Hershey/Seagull nursed her baby on air. Cavett was amazed, and the producers were clearly annoyed with the commercials.

“Did I breastfeed the baby early or is this my imagination?” Cavett asked when they got back, Feed Frye now. “I did,” Hershey, then 25, replied unabashedly.

“I’ve seen it a few times in my life. I guess now I’ve learned to be cool about it, but it does bother me a little bit. Does it bother you?” asks Cardin, who shrugs his shoulders noncommittally. “Well, we presented the sergeant with a unique problem that will keep him up for days,” Cavett concludes.

And not just the sergeant. After the show aired, Hershey was widely criticized for breastfeeding on TV, and this was seen as the last proof of her unreliable hippie silliness, even more so than her decision to change her name to Seagull after a seagull was killed in the making. Movie. Cavett was clearly much less grotesque from this revelation than he was from breastfeeding.

Watching this clip now, I tell Hershey, I can’t help but be thrilled with how amazing she is. “Oh that makes me feel good!” She shouts. “I wish I could say that I [breastfed on TV] For some political or badass reason, but I was innocent. I knew what my son needed, so I gave it to him.”

Hershey has been in business since the mid-1960s, but her career was undoubtedly disrupted by public and media skepticism in the 1970s, and the assumption that she was just Carradine’s kind girlfriend. It wasn’t until the ’80s, after she broke up with Carradine (and brought down Seagull), that things really started for her. Do you resent the sexism of the ’70s, when they were repeatedly dismissed as some unstable heads?

“I’m not upset at all, because the reactions were honest and my reactions were honest. But when you’ve been acting for 50 years, you do a lot of growing up in public, and a lot of that is misinterpreted, so it’s hard. I think I was struggling with what a lot of was going through Young people of that period. I happened to do it in public,” she says.

Hershey, 73, in Los Angeles, talks to me via video chat, and even at this distance you can still see the same grace and self-possession she had when faced with Cavett’s rejection, when she played wealthy Hilary Whitney in the 1988 Beaches classic, and as a photo The mysterious Madame Serena in the 1996 movie Jane Campion lady picture, for which Hershey received an Academy Award nomination. She has the perfect attitude of a former dance teacher, which is exactly what she plays in her new movie, The Manor, Jason Blum’s latest horror movie. Welcome to Blumhouse series for amazon.

Hershey in The Manor, part of the Welcome to the Blumhouse series.
Hershey in The Manor, part of the Welcome to the Blumhouse series. Photo: Kevin Estrada/Amazon Content Services LLC

The movie has a great premise: What if the old people who say people are trying to kill them in their living center aren’t suffering from dementia but are telling the truth? Hershey plays Judith, a spunky grandmother who is neglected by her daughter and treated like a naughty child by the center’s staff. Even her beloved grandson thinks she’s losing her mind when she begs him to take her out before killing her. Obviously, the movie wants to do to the elderly what Get out He did it with people of color, showing how they are mistreated by the wider community and literally describing their worst fears, and it did well in the first half, but went perfectly in the second half (Hershey says the ending is “provocative, and I’m all for it”) . I ask if part of the movie’s appeal is how it overturns stereotypes about older people.

“Yes. I believe in age but I don’t believe in numbers. I’m 73 – that’s the truth!” she says. I tell her she’s looking at half of that, which is true, but she waves the comment away. But they must have gotten older for her in the movie because she looks twice as old, I say. “Mn, my teeth gritted, and that was the only old age we had. I think it was the lighting,” she says.

Hershey may not believe in age, but unfortunately others do, and she says it “definitely” difficult for an actress to find good roles as she gets older. “There are a few actresses who seem to have them all and the rest of us are scribbling. I hope if the audience liked this movie, it would encourage the filmmakers to see that we wouldn’t turn off audiences because we’re older. We can be more interesting because we’re older.”

Of course, sexism and ridicule of women wasn’t just limited to the ’70s. Hershey’s talk about the close relationship between Judith and her grandson Josh (Nicholas Alexander) is one of her most favorite things about the movie. “It’s not a relationship between an older person and a younger person, it’s a relationship between two people who are crazy about each other, and I love that,” she says. It’s hard not to hear in this a nod to the attention she got when she was in a relationship, first with the much older Carradine in the ’70s, and later, with Lost’s Naveen Andrews, who is 21 years younger than her. They were together from 1999 to 2009. Hershey describes herself as a private person, so I asked her how she found the light on her love life. “It’s tough. I accept it, because what else can you do? But I don’t encourage it.”

In one scene in The Manor, some residents of the house taunt an older woman who has had plastic surgery, and Hershey’s character gently warns them, “I understand people’s choices.” It’s impossible not to view this as a nod to the criticism Hershey received in the 1980s when she allegedly injected collagen into her lips. Did she want to address that in the movie?

“Well, what was said about me was really ridiculous. What I did was for a role, and it was a temporary thing. I didn’t have surgery. I wish I hadn’t done it now because I didn’t want to get attention that way and became the poster child for plastic surgery and it wasn’t fair, and it wasn’t What I was thinking or what I did. Look at my face! I didn’t change it,” she says.

He told her that since The Manor is about a heroine who begins to doubt her sanity, a former dancer, she imagined she was playing Nina (Natalie Portman) from the 2010 movie Black Swan, where Hershey played Portman. Mother, but now as a grandmother.

With Natalie Portman in Black Swan.
With Natalie Portman in Black Swan. Photo: c FoxSearch/Everett/Rex Featur

“Oh my God! Natalie! What an end to that character! Well, in Black Swan, it’s not clear whether or not Nina dies in the last scene. I’ve always chosen she died there,” says Hershey, definitively ending a decade of speculation. fans.

Born and raised in Hollywood, Hershey is the daughter of the second generation of Jewish immigrants and Presbyterians in the Midwest. From an early age, she wanted to act and ask why.

The truth is oppression. I had a stifled childhood. I wasn’t allowed to say anything negative, so I would go out in the backyard and act like a wicked witch and there was this release and freedom. I could be anyone and say anything and I was safe, free and happy. Most of the creators I know have had their own conflicted childhoods, which I think motivates them to express something. I don’t think talent is very rare, I think there is a need to express something,” she says.

Her brief transformation to Seagull in the ’70s wasn’t the first time she changed her name: Her original nickname was Herzstein, but her (Jewish) agent told her it sounded “too Jewish,” so he changed it to Hershey, “which I hated because it made me think of chocolate, And I said oh my gosh, so sweet! I accepted it, but it wasn’t my choice,” she says.

Names are changed in the family: when her son Frey was six years old, he asked her what his name meant. She laughs, “I told him, ‘That means you’re free to change your name when you want.’” He became an icon of the ’70s and I was embarrassed every time he introduced himself: ‘Hey, I’m free.’ This is a tough thing to live up to. So we got a book of names and picked Tom. But when he became an adult, he changed it back to Free,” she says fondly. Frey now works as a nurse in Los Angeles.

Hershey worked with some of the best directors of the ’80s, including Martin Scorsese (The Last Temptation of Christ), Barry Levinson (The Natural, Tin Men) and Woody Allen, who offered her the role of Lee in his masterpiece, Hannah and Her Sisters, three days after they moved to New York. Hershey is adorable as the fragile sister who falls in love with Elliot (Michael Caine), the husband of her sister Hannah (Mia Farrow). I asked Hershey if it later shocked her that Allen predicted his own life in this film, given that Farrow’s partner cheats on her with a female relative, as Allen will soon do, when he cheats on Farrow with her soon-to-be daughter. Previn (who appeared in the movie). A polite smile dies on Hershey’s lips.

Hershey (center) with Mia Farrow (left) and Diane West at Hannah and her sisters.
Hershey (center) with Mia Farrow (left) and Diane West at Hannah and her sisters. Photo: Allstar Ltd./Alamy . Photo Library

“I’ve never looked at the movie that way, I’ve only looked at it for itself. You know, yeah. I don’t have a lot of comments about that,” she says cautiously.

I ask what she thinks of Defame Allen over the past decade, with the public and media largely assuming that he molested his daughter Dylan, despite his acquittal through two investigations in the 1990s.

John Heard, Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey at the Beaches.
John Heard, Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey at the Beaches. Photo: Touchstone Pictures / Allstar

She sighs, considering her answer. “I think it’s a disgrace. I think people should get fair trials and I don’t know if he ever did. People were rushed into all kinds of judgments, and that probably says more about it than what happened – nobody knows what happened, really. I like to give it a try. doubt, but I don’t know what happened either,” she says.

Although it was difficult to find roles once a female actress dared to go north of the 40’s, Hershey’s never stopped working. However, the movie she is probably best known for today is Beaches, in which she starred alongside Bette Midler. The ’80s was a great era for dystopian films about women, with terms of endearment, Steel Magnolias and beaches, and Hershey asked her if she thought it could be made today. “Hmm. Not sure. I like to think so, but they might need another hook,” she says.

Like many films about and for women, Beaches has been heavily criticized when shown. “They called it a ‘flick,’ which really bothered me, because a movie with two guys is called a movie,” Hershey says. “But when we were making it, I felt it was important because it showed that friendship between women is strong and important, and as the years went by, people kept coming to me saying, ‘I saw it with my best friend and it changed my life,’ ‘I saw it with my mother…’ The repercussions are very strong. This makes me very happy.”

Even more amusingly, she and Midler stayed close after the movie and often went out to dinner together when they lived close to each other. “You see people doing a double take on us, and that’s fun. I’ll always love it,” she says.

I asked Hershey if she would take a short break after The Manor, laughing. “I love when people say it to actors, ‘Take a break,'” she says, as she clearly thinks of the aforementioned scribble for roles. I ask what you do when you’re not scribbling. And she basically says scribble.” And I’m learning Italian now. I love learning. I don’t close the doors, I open them.”

The Manor is part of the Welcome to the Blumhouse series and is available on Amazon Prime starting October 8