Lead Actors: Harrison Ford and Michelle
Director Robert Zemeckis
Costars: Diana Scarwid and Amber Valletta
Producers: Steve Starkey and Jack Rapke
Sunday morning at the Four Seasons Hotel in
Beverly Hills, the Press splits up into four
Harrison enters our suite tentatively, sporting a
bit of a wince; something that Indiana Jones may have
displayed before entering some dark tunnel. His voice
is librarian soft, but it resonates like an aquarium
pump. An awesome voice indeed, the little 1.5-inch
speaker on my taping device flutters
helplessly on playback. It's no wonder his voice
keeps those theater sound system's bass sections in
Press: What's your favorite
Harrison Ford: You can't talk to me about
movies because I don't really know that much about
them. I never was historically a moviegoer. I like
making them, but I don't go a lot.
(On choosing the script...)
The complexity of the screenplay, the entertainment
value. I thought it would be a taut and interesting
movie. I always wanted to work with Michelle and Bob.
I look for just the best stuff available, not genre;
best movie, best people to work with. It's a matter
of taste, what I like might not appeal to somebody
else. I read it; it was a real page-turner. I was
immediately drawn into the story and because I knew
who the other players were, I called up and said
I don't see it as homage to Hitchcock, I frankly
was never scared by Hitchcock films. I never really
psychologically believed [Hitchcock's] characters
that much. These days we tend to make scary stores
out of violence, but this film is more maturely
Press: If Hitchcock doesn't
scare you then what does?
HF: The news. (smirks) the scariest movie I
ever saw was "Bambi."
RA: How many other scripts
did you read before you picked this one?
HF: I'll read 7 or 8 pages of something and
decide it's of low ambition (grins devilishly).
Sometimes I'll finish it and still not like it, but
there are lots of reasons not to take it based on
it's similarity to something I've recently done, a
judgment that it's commercially un-viable, that it's
wrong-headed, a judgment that I don't emotionally
relate to the character.
(On possibly directing...)
That is not my ambition. I don't want to be in
development, I don't want to direct. I don't want to
be in the movie business one minute longer than I'm
already in. (chuckles) And I mean that in the nicest
way. I really enjoy my work and the amount of work I
do... leaves me time to have a personal life and
(On Ridley Scott's statement that Deckard of
"Blade Runner" was actually a replicant...)
That's news to me. I mean that's the argument that
Ridley and I had from the very beginning and I said I
think the audience needs to have a human on screen.
Someone they can depend on and relate with. I think
that I was assured by Ridley that Deckard was not a
replicant. (smiles slowly during the next sentence)
But I am delighted now to finally know the truth.
(chuckles all around)
(On the lifetime achievement award from the
It was significant embarrassment; it hung over my
head like a sword. I was certainly flattered by what
was said and delighted that so many of my
[colleagues] were so generous and kind to me but you
know, I'm not much of a fan of public speaking.
Having to actually come up with something to say in
that context is daunting.
(On searching for the Indiana 4
Not looking, we're developing it. It won't happen
without Steven and it won't happen without
Harrison thanks us and departs. A few minutes
later, Michelle, in a carefree woman on the town
demeanor enters. She's more bubbly and even seemingly
innocent than one might have expected from her more
serious/thick roles on the screen.
(On her fav scary movies...)
Michelle Pfeiffer: The first "Alien" is one
of my scariest movies, "Birds" really terrified me
and "The Exorcist." And when I was really little I
used to be obsessed with vampire movies
and Frankenstein and "The Bad Seed" was my very first
introduction into thrillers.
(On being alone on screen...)
I thought, "Who's gonna watch just me walking around
the house?" And I panicked, I'm too boring, but the
other character with me always is that cameras. There
was a synchronicity with the camera, where ordinarily
as an actor you don't want to know about the
(On kissing Harrison Ford...)
Is he a good kisser? Yes, he's an excellent kisser.
The age difference between us is a lot less than
usually, so, we're actually a better match
[age-wise]... than some other couplings. (chuckles
(On shooting underwater...)
It was awful. I took some scuba lessons because I was
really uncomfortable in the water. Being in the
bathtub was the worst because it was so confined and
I think it was weeks in that bathtub, I'd be in there
for 5 hours [at a time] just laying there.
(On being in tune with the
I have never been a good judge of how an audience
will respond. I just show up and do my job and
they're either going to get it or not. See that's
what Bob would say, "I think the audience needs a
little something here." And he was right ... they
love all that stuff.
Press: Did he ever do
something not in the script to...
MP: To surprise me? No.
(On possibly directing...)
I might. It's incredibly consuming and I'm not ready
to be consumed. I feel real competent about character
development, but the tech end and how it will all cut
I just wrapped this in December and I committed to
take this year off. The hard thing is, I'm so busy,
and I can't even tell you what I fill my time with.
It's so unbelievably difficult. I'm a shuttle bus.
All of sudden you look at your life and cupboards and
you see six years of junk.
(On the supernatural encounters...)
I'm not a believer or a non-believer that they do
exist. I know people who have had encounters. People
that I respect and I have no reason not to believe
them, but myself I haven't.
"What Lies Beneath" director Robert (Bob) Zemeckis
slides into the room. He's rather jubilant.
(On choosing the script...)
Robert Zemeckis: I kept second-guessing the
main character, and that kept me turning the page
which when that happens, I have to consider it.
Secondly, there was an intelligence and kind of
elegance to the writing and drawing of the
characters. And there was an undercurrent of
(On changing the original work...)
I've never come across a screenplay that you could
just go shoot ... making movies is endless writing
even right up to the final mix of the sound.
Press: Of the scripts you
made into movies which ones were the ones in best
RZ: The ones I made myself. (chuckles all
(On scheduling "What Lies Beneath" and
You can't afford to hold a crew for a year so I took
the same crew and rolled them onto "What Lies
Beneath" and then rolled them right back onto
"Castaway." We were paying people to wait for Tom
[Hanks] to lose weight, so we made a movie
in-between. We wrapped "Castaway" in April, started
"Beneath" in August, wrapped that in December then
went back to Fiji in March so it worked out.
Enter Amber Valletta ... the apparition in the
film. She's sharp, bold, and career minded.
(On the ghost's similarity to Michelle
Amber Valletta: Actually the character was
never written to look like her, I guess they liked my
tape, then Bob and the producers said, "Oh wow, she
looks like her too, cool."
[However] It was a requirement to be comfortable
with water. I loved being Madison, she has a lot to
her, and she's not just a ghost. Robert's really good
at developing characters and giving the life ... so
to speak. (chuckles)
Press: Was Harrison someone
you were attracted to before you started working with
AV: I think he's a great actor, and I think
he's handsome, but I wouldn't say I'm attracted to
him. (squints eyes) He's definitely an icon and he
was pretty hot as Han Solo. But, I have a lot more
respect for him than having a girlie flirty
attraction to him.
(On being pregnant...)
[I'm due in] October. I think as a woman [Michelle]
exudes qualities of classiness and being a good
mother and you don't necessarily need to pry into
someone's life to know how they do it... you can just
see that it can be done with care. You can have a
career and loving, healthy family at home.
Diana Scarwid not unlike the fun-loving,
quasi-kamikaze, kindred spiritual friend she plays in
the film, takes the seat.
Diana Scarwid: I was kind of tentative
about the Ouija board thing, I kind of
blessed the area there.. because the last time I
played with one was 20 something years ago when I was
doing dinner theater, one of the actresses pulled out
a Ouija board. There we were, the hair just went up
on my arms, because it's very slow with the letters
and he said, "Loraine had eyes of nighted blu...."
This was taking hours with letters and letters. As
the story progressed he [the spirit] told how he was
tortured. The disk thing was just going crazy, just
flying around and Bobbie said "We got to stop this
I've seen this thing come up and hit people in the
face." I said, "Well we've got to resolve
Press: Was there any movement
this time on the set?
DS: No, there was just too much activity,
plus I did kind of bless the place.
Producers Steve Starkey and Jack Rapke slide in
(On the trailer...)
We feel we took the trailer as far as we could take
it without giving away too much.
(On the success of "Sixth Sense.")
We were already into the process of making our movie
when "The Sixth
Sense" came out so it really had no bearing
(On letting the cat out of the
It seems as if the audiences are very respectful of
another audience member's experience of a movie, so
when they go out there and talk about it it's really
quite unusual for somebody to give away what they
shouldn't give away and spoil the movie for somebody