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Established 1995 serves and documents relentless the festivals community, offering 92.000 articles of news, free blog profiles and functions to enable festival matchmaking with filmmakers.


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Antalya still abuzz with Faye Dunaway

The 43rd Antalya Film Festival is still buzzing with the presence of one of Hollywood’s last great stars, the evergreen Faye Dunaway. In addition to opening the festival and attending gala events, Dunaway has also held made herself available to the press. In a brief question and answer session with Jeremy Colson and other journalists Dunaway talks about Hollywood, Bonnie & Clyde and stardom.

Q: Bonnie & Clyde has become a classic. What does the film mean to you now?
A: Natalie Wood and Tuesday Weld were also after the role, so I was lucky to get it. I knew it was a star-making role, we all did, and we all wanted to do it. Warren Beatty put the movie together and a lot of people don’t realize that Warren is a deep, extremely intelligent man and we have since become close friends, he is still an inspiration for me. Curiously enough there was a great deal of controversy about the film in the USA when it first came out. In fact it was much better received in Europe than it was at home. The gangster film is a genre widely appreciated in the USA and after the initial controversy died down it started to become appreciated worldwide as the classic gangster movie of its time. In retrospect I can say that it was a defining experience for me, and not only for me. For example Gene Hackman had hardly been heard of until Bonnie & Clyde, it was his big breakthrough. It was also a landmark for Michael J Pollard. It made me a star in a sort of way. What can I say, it was like lightning in a bottle.

Q: What does stardom mean to you and how difficult is it to handle?
A: I don’t think you can enjoy cinema, as we all do, and see Helen Mirren. Kate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman and so on without acknowledging that there is such a thing as stardom. Joan Crawford said I was the last of the Hollywood stars. I don’t want to go into that, she’s a tragic figure, but I do want to say that I think nowadays we don’t think of stars as stars and maybe that’s because some of the glamour has gone. People like Rita Hayworth weren’t just stars, they were goddesses and of course the big studios helped to glamourize everything. Maybe nowadays we don’t look at the glamour so much, we focus more on acting, more on the substance of what they do on film than who they are.
Biographies show us that stardom is difficult to handle. The burden of stardom is that the temptation is to go off into that world. In order to avoid doing that, to avoid being transformed into what stardom wants you to be, you have to sort of extend yourself, affirm your real self in order to hold onto your sanity.

Q: You have worked a lot in the theatre. How valuable has that been to you?
A: The stage teaches you the craft you need in film. The constant repetition of performances on stage mean that you are able to refine performance that you wouldn’t be able to do otherwise. You can’t do it on film if you don’t know the craft. I owe much to film but it’s always good to know that the boards (the theatre) will always be there for you. Cinema, by comparison, is much more ethereal.

Q: How important was Tennessee Williams to your career.
A: We were friends. Tennessee Was a southerner, and so am I so we had a natural affinity. I played his Blanche in a Streetcar Named Desire and later he gave me a story which I adapted into a film called Yellow Bird. He was a dear friend.

Q: How different is Hollywood when it comes to film-making?
A: Well, I haven’t worked much in Europe recently but I think it’s fair to say that when the voice of the director is the voice of production, the result is better. It’s better in Europe. The voice of the director can be easily drowned in Hollywood because sometimes the guys in suits, the money guys, step in and try to re-direct a movie along the lines of something else that has recently achieved commercial success. In Europe there is greater respect for the director.

Q: You have had continuous employment throughout your career. How have you achieved this?
A: Well, recently I have been pulling away from acting and am now doing more work behind the camera, writing and directing. But in fact it is easier than before to continue working. There are many more roles for older women than ever there were before. You only have to look at Shirley Maclean or the amazing success currently being enjoyed by Helen Mirren to know that the older you get the better you get. You get wiser and better.
Story by Jeremy Colson / Pictures by Demet Azaklin


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