The Acting Brilliance Continues!
|Shirley MacLaine (Photo: Millennium Films)|
To the older generation of movie fans, she is a highly respected icon in show business. For the younger fans and fellow actors, she is one of the most respected models of how the game is played. Shirley MacLaine has the kind of track record and laurels that few actors achieve in a career. She has excelled on every level doing it all i.e., stage, film, TV and writing best selling books. MacLaine has been nominated five times for an Academy Award® and hit pay dirt snagging the “Best Actress Oscar® in 1983 for “Terms of Endearment.” With her latest role, MacLaine brilliantly portrays the real life, late 81 year-old, millionaire widower Marjorie Nugent in the movie “Bernie.”
“Bernie” is a film based on the true story of assistant funeral director Bernie Tiede in the small town of Carthage, Texas. Tiede befriended Nugent and became so close to her that he managed all of her business and banking affairs which included them taking expensive trips around the world together. Nugent’s late husband was the town’s most successful banker and left her a fortune after he died. However, Nugent was the most hated woman in town. Her own family refused to communicate with her so Tiede was all she had. Eventually, Nugent’s strangled hold, increasing demands on Tiede to wait on her hand and foot 24/7 overwhelmed him to the point that his dark side came out and he shot her in the back four times killing her in 1996. After Nugent went missing for several months, the police found her body in a freezer in her garage. Tiede who was homosexual confessed to the murder in 1997. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
When asked about what she had heard about the real life Marjorie Nugent before playing her MacLaine states flatly, “I just heard from whomever I met during the filming, they truly hated her. Everybody thought she was the biggest bitch on the planet and were frankly so glad she went. Which is all the stuff that makes comedy for me. This included her nephew and sister. You would think the closer you got to the deceased it would get better but it got worst.” MacLaine paused then added a quick verbal jab, “Maybe because they were talking to me they weren’t sure she was dead.” Did Marjorie know what Bernie was up to all along in terms of getting on her good side to tap her money? MacLaine analyzed with her opinion, “I think she did. I think she knew it and accepted it. Being so hated gives you some kind of a sophisticated outlook on human behavior and I think she knew he would do anything to be loved. But she had never felt that kind of emotion. Nobody had ever put it out like that to her. So I think she understood, accepted it and it puts her in control if she is financing it. So they went around the world having a good time long as he stayed within her clutches."
|Shirley MacLaine & Jack Black (Millennium Films Photo)|
MacLaine also stresses, “To me it was as much about money than anything else and I think because she was financing him she felt she also owned every single sentence and hour of his time. And frankly, anybody would have killed her if she had acted like that and it didn’t have to be just him. But when you have that combined with a person who needs to be loved more and adored and celebrated as the adored one more than anything else, it’s a perfect combination for friendship.” What was her experience working opposite funnyman, master actor Jack Black? MacLaine lights up, “First, I loved getting up at 5 in the morning which I hate, to go and know I was going to speak and be with him all day. I think he should get a nomination, I really do. I thought he was going to be chew up the scenery and be all of that stuff no, he can really act. So I thought to myself hum, this is going to be interesting all day long to work with this guy who is really a mini genius.” When asked about why she chooses the roles of difficult women, MacLaine laughs, “I just love to be impossible.”
Rych McCain Media/Syndication tm
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