Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Robin Wright Penn's First Film Experiences (Persona, Deep Throat)

(image via cbc)

Say what you will about Interview magazine -- they have no presence in the blogosphere, a self-indulgent Peter Brant vehicle to promote pals, too many gratuitous cheesecake photos of Brant's soon-to-be-ex-trophy-wife -- they do have an interesting little formula. Celebrities interviewing celebrities. In this month's issue they have Francis Ford Coppola, the ultimate American indie director, interviews Robin Wright Penn, one of the most beautiful actresses in the world. Because Coppolla is so well-regarded, he is able to get details from Penn's life that a regular journalist probably couldn't. This detail from her childhood, though, was almost too much information. From Interview magazine:

"COPPOLA: But it sounds like, as a child, you had a pretty deep impression of acting, if you said, 'Oh, this shows my soul!'

"PENN: Yeah, but probably because I had been exposed to certain things. I mean, it was just by happenstance that I wound up seeing an Ingmar Bergman film when I was a kid. I think I was at a friend’s house across the street, and her parents were movie buffs. I’d never seen anything like it.

"COPPOLA: What film was it? Do you remember?

"PENN: I think it was Persona [1966].

"COPPOLA: [laughs] Oh, my goodness.

"PENN: I remember seeing that at 9 or 10 years of age. Then there were these other weird neighbors who lived in Woodland Hills, this very hippiefied couple. He was a veterinarian—there were always tons of animals in their house. I remember going over just to hang out with his animals and they were watching Deep Throat [1972] with Linda Lovelace and drinking their white wine in the middle of summer ... I remember they said, 'Oh, Robbie, I don’t think you should be watching this. Would your mom let you watch this?' And I said, 'Oh, god, yeah, she’d let me watch it.' [laughs] So it was Persona and Deep Throat—I think those were the first film experiences.

"COPPOLA: Was it sort of traumatic for you, seeing Deep Throat at 9 years old? I mean, I didn’t understand those things until I was 14 or 15 . . .

"PENN: [laughs] I think it brewed inside me for so long. What seeing Deep Throat at the age of 9 instilled in me was this great fear of, Oh, my god, is that what you have to do to be an actress? I mean, those were pretty intense examples of baring one’s soul. You’re like, 'Whoa, if that’s what acting is ..' I don’t think I was putting that together at the time. But later in life ..."

Yikes. More here.

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