TCMFF 2016, Day 4: An Interview to Remember

Sunday, May 1

The final day of TCMFF has arrived and by now, I’ve reached the point where I have to put some effort into walking when I first wake up because all the running around I’ve been doing the past few days is starting to catch up with me. (If you’ve never been to TCMFF before, yes, you’d be surprised how much walking and running around you can do during a trip that largely involves sitting in movie theaters most of the day.) Luckily for me, I was planning on a pretty easy, laid back schedule of only three events.

Elliott Gould TCMFF 2016

Elliott Gould after the screening of M*A*S*H. Photo Credit: TCM

I started the day off at the Chinese theater for a movie that has been long on my list of movies I need to see — M*A*S*H. Somehow, I had never seen this movie before and have hardly watched any of the TV series either, for that matter. I wouldn’t say M*A*S*H is one of my favorite movies, but I’m glad I saw it. I have a bit of a dark sense of humor, so there’s a lot I liked about it.

After the film, Elliott Gould came out for a brief discussion. I actually think I preferred the Elliott Gould discussion after M*A*S*H over the discussion he had done at Club TCM the previous day. Naturally, today’s discussion was more M*A*S*H-focused and I appreciated getting to hear him talk more in depth about one of his films. While some actors like to say that they don’t watch their own movies when they see them on TV, Elliott Gould is not one of those actors. He still absolutely loves M*A*S*H and gladly admits to watching it anytime he sees it on TV. Even over 40 years after the film’s original release, Gould said he can still find new things in it to appreciate and that he had even noticed something new about it just a few minutes before the discussion.

Faye Dunaway TCMFF Interview 2016

Photo credit: TCM

After M*A*S*H, it was time to meet up with my friend Nikki to head over to the Montalban Theater for one of the events I was most excited for this festival. I usually try to keep my schedule flexible for Sundays, but this year, I couldn’t help but break my own rule. Not long before the festival began, it was announced that Faye Dunaway would be appearing to record an extended interview about her career down at the Montalban Theater and to introduce the movie Network. Faye Dunaway is one of my favorite actresses to come out of the new Hollywood era (1967 onward) and Bonnie and Clyde is in my top 10 favorite movies of all time. I also adore her performances in Network and Chinatown, so this news was a total game changer.

As great as Network is, I loved being able to attend the taping of the Sophia Loren interview at last year’s festival, so the Faye Dunaway interview instantly became one of my festival must-sees. Going to that meant making quite a few sacrifices, though. Between the time it would take for the interview to be recorded and having to line up rather early to make sure I get in, going to the interview meant having to skip most of the movies playing that afternoon, but it was completely and totally worth it. There’s nothing that could have come up in any of the TBA slots that would make me change my mind about the interview. I knew this was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime event and I was not disappointed.

Ben Mankiewicz conducted the interview with Dunaway and it was by far the best interview I’ve ever seen him do. (This year’s festival really drove home to me how very versatile of an interviewer Mankiewicz is. Just two days earlier, he was doing a very fun, lighthearted interview with Adam West and Lee Merriwether, then here he was doing a very intelligent, thoughtful interview with Dunaway, and he did an incredible job with both interviews.) He had clearly done a lot of research before the interview, something that did not go unnoticed by Dunaway, who mentioned how impressed she was by that on more than one occasion. The interview primarily focused on certain landmark movies throughout her career such as Bonnie and ClydeChinatown, Network, The Thomas Crown Affair, and Three Days of the Condor. But she also discussed a little bit about herself, such as her fondness for Bob Dylan, rock and roll music, and Ryan Gosling. Fun fact: Faye Dunaway is also a fan of Uber. She also mentioned liking the 1999 remake of The Thomas Crown Affair.

Many people think of Faye Dunaway being a difficult person and something of a diva, but if anyone at the interview was hoping to witness any of that behavior first hand, they were surely very disappointed. Dunaway was in a lovely mood that day, very relaxed, and clearly enjoyed every single minute of the interview. And, since I’m sure many people are wondering about this, there wasn’t a single mention of Mommie Dearest, Joan Crawford, or wire hangers. At most, she vaguely alluded to Mommie Dearest at one point when she mentioned making some mistakes in her career that she chooses not to speak of very often (and it’s pretty well-known which movie Dunaway does not like discussing.)

Faye Dunaway After TCMFF Interview

My photo of Faye Dunaway after her TCMFF interview

The crowd was loving the interview as much as Dunaway was. When she walked out on stage, I could pretty much tell the exact moment when she realized she was among people who truly respect her and admire her work. She was relaxed, having fun, and when the interview was over, she was so delighted that she took a minute to pose on the stage for fans to take pictures of her. That was the move of a true star. Don’t miss this interview when it airs on TCM sometime next year. TCM has shown a lot of great interviews over the years and was one of the best.

After the interview, I had a little bit of a break before seeing my final film of the festival: The Band Wagon. I loved the idea of ending the festival on a purely exuberant note, so The Band Wagon was a perfect choice for me. I absolutely adore the movie and the idea of getting to see the “Dancing in the Dark” number on the big screen was totally irresistible. Before the movie started, Illeana Douglas hosted a lengthy discussion with award-winning choreographer and director Susan Stroman.

The Band Wagon on the big screen was everything I wanted it to be: fun, joyful, colorful, and simply spectacular. That’s entertainment indeed!

And, with that, the 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival came to an end. After The Band Wagon, all that was left for me to do was go back to the Roosevelt to spend as much time with my friends as possible before we went our separate ways again.

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