Interview: Julie Andrews
"The Princess Diaries 2"
Posted: Thursday August 5th, 2004 3:53PM
Author: Robert Sanchez
Location: Los Angeles, CA
With regular DH LA correspondent off on holiday in Australia, the awesome Robert Sanchez over at IESB has been gracious enough to help out and covered the press junket for the "Princess Diaries" sequel the other day for his and DH. Here's his interview with the legend that is Miss Julie Andrews who plays the kind grandmother Queen Clarisse in the film:
Question: You seem to be channeling queens recently
Answer: Oh come on, give me a break. I've channeled queens and nannies and cross-dressers.
Question: But you played one in Shrek and these two.
Answer: Yes, that's three queens in a row. I think I have to look for another day job, don't you?
Question: But you're the only one -
Answer: No, come on. The thing is - first of all, why not? Because I get to wear all these great jewels and these gorgeous dresses, and I get to work for Garry Marshall, what's nicer than that?
Question: What was it like working with Hector again?
Answer: Great, great. First of all, he's lovely to work with and everybody from the first movie, people would stop me on the street and say, 'Were you an item, and will you get together in the next one? Is he going to be in it?' They love him and his character. So I think it was a foregone conclusion that we had to do something in this new movie.
Question: He seems to think that there is more coming up between Clarisse and Joseph
Answer: Oh, I can't imagine where we'd go from here.
Question: Bed and Breakfast on the border?
Answer: Too late to have babies I think; so breakfast on the border (?), maybe. Maybe a bedroom scene, who knows. It's a family movie, so we have to be careful.
Question: Congratulations on Shrek - it's number three spot of all time yesterday.
Answer: Amazing, isn't it? It's wonderful. It's like one of those lovely perks that come along every once in awhile. I'm so proud to be part of it, and this movie too.
Question: Weren't you nominated for an Emmy for one of the Eloise movies?
Answer: Yes, yes. Totally surprised.
Question: The last time we spoke you were talking about your children's book coming out.
Answer: It's out; that one's out. It's called Dragon, about a wonderful dog called Dragon. And there's a new one that I'm working on at the moment coming up for next year, you know what, to be really honest with you I'm not mentioning it, because if I give you the title I think it will give away the story and I'd rather not at this point.
Question: It was such a joy to see you sing again - I know you said you were talking/singing, but it sounded like singing to me
Answer: Thank you. Actually, if you really watch it it's very carefully - and I kind of slide in and out of it. I really don't sing. Not the kind of Sound of Music singing.
Question: It was rapping basically
Answer: You know what's so clever is that the minute I walk off that stage and hand it over to the kids, they do rap; they do sort of do their thing. It's certainly hip-hop.
Question: Did you fight against doing it?
Answer: I did wonder if I should, and then I have to admit it was slightly intriguing to see if I could pull anything off at this point. And Garry and I promised each other that if it didn't work it would not be in the movie. I actually wondered if it was right for a movie. I said, 'What if it holds up the action? What if people say, 'Oh, they just did that.' But it comes out of a real place, so it's okay.
Question: At the Shrek junket you said you didn't know if it was going to be in or not
Answer: That's right. So we made that deal with each other about it.
Question: Were there legal implications if you're singing and you have a bad throat?
Answer: Well, I don't have a court action anymore, it's six years since all of that. And I'm not singing, I'm not able to sing really, to practice, you can hear. So it was really talking in a very, very low key and just occasionally touching notes here and there.
Question: Did I read that you moved from Malibu to New York?
Answer: No, you're slightly wrong. We did sell our place in Malibu. We now do live in - we have a very small place in Brentwood. But we do have a hideaway in Long Island, because my middle daughter's there, the one that I write my books with, and who runs my company. And some of my grandchildren are there.
Question: And you don't consider either place home?
Answer: I think this is probably more home base, because this is where Blake works from most of the time. But I'm in and out quite a bit.
Question: And the last time we spoke you were saying that there was a possibility of doing something with Carol Burnett again. How is that coming?
Answer: For this year, the timing of it fell through. She wasn't able to do it when I could, and vice-versa, but it's certainly being considered for next year.
Question: When you did Princess Diaries it was Anne's first film, I wonder how she has changed from the first one?
Answer: Was it her first one? Wow. Truly - (the man brings in Julie's book - hands them out) Truly she's a natural and she's a very, very good actress, she's wonderful at comedy, she's as beautiful inside as she is outside. I think, yes, does she know her craft even better than she did, probably. But I don't think she needed to be taught very much.
Question: Hector said you were like a mentor to her
Answer: I was?
Question: He noticed that you brought her by your side to watch dailies and said 'Look at the camera,' etc
Answer: I think he's being a little over kind. That's very sweet. Well, she's good. I did, I don't anymore because she's fine. I did feel protective, she's such a lovely talent and such a sweet girl, that I do want the best for her, but no she doesn't need much from me, she's got it. I think she's going to be a huge star.
Question: James Garner said that The Americanization of Emily was his favorite movie - do you have any story from that or any of your big films?
Answer: Oh God, I have tons. What do you want to know? Garner I adored to work with, he's a friend, we've been friends ever since then. We worked three times together as you know, Victor Victoria, a television movie called One Special Night and The Americanization of Emily. We both loved Emily. It was such a great screenplay, Paddy Chayefsky and he wrote so well and I am so thrilled to have been a part of it. Alright, I'll tell you one about James himself. Almost one of the first scenes we shot, and you have to remember I had only made Mary Poppins, never made a serious, non-singing role, never done a love scene, never done anything. And one of the first things we shot was the bedroom scene in The Americanization of Emily, which is pretty passionate. For some reason, our director decided to get everything on the bed, a lot of rolling and kissing, and I mean really having at it, and all the time I'm doing it I'm thinking, 'I can be professional, this is what people do, they do love scenes all the time, it's not going to affect me,' and at the end of the afternoon, after a lot of takes, I got up off the bed and my knees buckled. So I guess it got through to me more than I'd like to admit.
Question: He was a pretty dashing guy
Answer: He was devastating, and such a great guy. He's a great friend.
Question: With the 40th anniversary of Mary Poppins, how did it feel to watch the film now.
Answer: It's kind of wonderful. First of all, the DVD has a second DVD package with it. It's a double DVD, and they had found photographs and outtakes and rehearsal footage that I had never seen, so to look at it all it was like, 'Oh God, I remember that.' The energy we both had, Dick and I, you say, 'That was the very first take I ever did,' and so on, all sorts of things like that. It's a very, very good 40th Edition, it really has a lot going for it.
Question: You did commentary on it
Answer: Yes, not only commentary with Dick, obviously reminiscences and commentary and all this out stuff, plus a new animated piece that I actually am in. We actually shot it for the DVD, so it's good value.
Question: Clarisse has her poodle that she's very close to, do you have pets?
Answer: That dog, if I could have taken him home. Sadly, I cannot remember his real name, it was Caesar or some wonderful - Maurice was the name in the movie but his real name I can't remember, but talk about a pal, talk about a pro, he was one of the great dogs. He did things, on the day that the Queen is sitting on the throne, it's not in the movie, and I kept saying to Garry, 'You must use it,' there's a scene where I was very sad and I had my hand on the throne and all of a sudden I feel his nose (indicates nudging her hand) like, are you okay? Sweet guy.
Question: Garry said you had a real sense of this place Genovia
Answer: Because he asked. He said, 'You're European, what would she have? What would it be like in Europe?' I kept thinking, what do they do in Monaco? What do they do in Liechtenstein? So I tried to say, well what do they do? Pears and goat cheese became the two eatables that we're famous for, lace making because the nuns in the cloisters would be doing that kind of thing, so we came up with all these wonderful ideas.
Question: He said you were the only one who could pronounce Genovia right
Answer: Actually I can spot that a lot of people don't, but I kept saying, 'They must say Genovia, they mustn't say Ganovia or Janovia.
Question: Were you surprised that it was on the coast?
Answer: No, Monaco's over there on the right and Genovia's over there on the left. It's between France and Spain.
Question: Do you have pets?
Answer: Yes, I do. They're Scotties and actually my beloved Scottie just passed away, but we also have a little West Highland whose name is Sugar.
Question: Do you take them with you?
Answer: They are so happy in the garden, honestly they have a great garden in Long Island. I do bring them back and forth, but I've had Scotties a great deal, we've always had Scotties, but had everything from Labs to - we have to great cats here, Abyssinians and they are the best guys. One is an Abyssinian and one is a Abyssinian/Bengal mix.
Question: Are the dogs small enough where you can put them under the seat in a plane?
Answer: No, sadly, which is why I don't travel - I think Sugar might be, but I don't think so. And you know what, I don't like to put them in the hold, so unless it's a really important journey and we're going for a long time.
Question: What do you hope young girls will take away from this movie?
Answer: You know what, it's great that it's a family movie that adults can enjoy as much as the kids really. I think that there are some nice hidden messages, they don't hammer them at you, because you're meant to have a pleasant, pleasant feeling when you see the movie. But it does deal with responsibilities being assumed as you grow older, decency, courtesy and politeness and manners mattering. There was a lot of that, we shot a lot of things like manners matter, and I think they're wonderful things to imply in a movie like this, because a lot of teen movies go to the other place, they go to the lowest common denominator, kind of like the child can identify and vent. But this one really makes you aspire a little more I think.
Question: Did you have any doubts yourself about the idea of her not accepting her responsibility as it was written into Genovian law?
Answer: I think this grandma was probably very torn and quite guilty, I know I played and asked for that to be put into the movie because today I think - I didn't want it to look like I encouraged her to do an arranged marriage, and in fact it's actually her choice, this is my best me (?), it's what I was born to do, and then I go along with it, but by the end of the movie, as you see, I say no, it's wrong, just in the nick of time.
Question: The last time we saw you, you had just had a grandson - how's he doing
Answer: Had he just been born? He's doing great. We have little Hope, who is Emma's little girl, who is now going to be a year old, and Hank's about five months. He was there last night. He's adorable.
Question: If there's a sequel are you going to be able to put any of your family in like Garry?
Answer: In this one, my granddaughter is in it, my lovely Hannah, who's now 11 but was 10. She's the little hip-hop girl, the little blonde, and her name is Hannah. Wasn't she wonderful? They said, 'We're looking for a little girl that can dance,' and I said, 'Excuse me,' and that's exactly how it happened.
Princess Mia has just turned 21 and is suppose to succeed her grandmother as the Queen of Genovia. But Viscount Mabrey who wishes that his nephew who is also in line to the throne to be the new ruler, reminds everyone of a law that states that an unmarried woman can't be made queen, and with the backing of parliament, he opposes Mia's coronation. But Queen Clarice asks that Mia be allowed time to find a husband, and she is given 30 days. But Mabrey tries to do what he can to stop that. But his nephew, Nicholas has met Mia and they are both attracted to each other but Mia upon learning who he is, dislikes and doesn't trust him but Clarice has invited him to stay with them for the 30 day period to keep an eye on him.