On Oct. 28, 2014, we were on the red carpet for a special screening of Millennium Entertainment’s latest film “Elsa & Fred” at Sundance Cinema. From the film: Shirley MacLaine, Erika Alexander, Osvaldo Rios, Deanna Meske, filmmaker Michael Radford, producer Matthias Ehrenberg, Ricardo Kleinbaum, Jose Levy and Nicholas Veinberg all walked the red carpet. They were joined by additional celebrity guests Kate Flannery and Dennis Christopher.
“Elsa & Fred” tells the story of two people who, at the end of the road, discover that it’s never too late to love. After losing his wife, Fred (Christopher Plummer) feels disturbed, confused and alone, so his daughter (Marcia Gay Harden) helps move him into a small apartment where he meets Elsa (Shirley Maclaine). From that moment on, everything changes. Elsa bursts into Fred’s life like a whirlwind, determined to teach him that the time he has left to live is precious and that he should enjoy it as he pleases.
Read our exclusive interview with Shirley MacLaine (who looked chic in black) below:
Your such an accomplished actor, what was it about “Elsa & Fred” that attracted you to the film?
SM: I loved the idea of doing a love story with people over the age of 60 and a film that will hopefully give so many of the audience a chance to see themselves on the screen.
And what was it like to work with the legendary Mr. Christopher Plummer?
SM: Oh he’s fabulous. We did a film together for Richard Attenborough, so this was like the second time we’ve worked together, we adore each other, it was such a wonderful time.
You play a firecracker on screen in this film and we love to see you doing that.
SM: Thank You.
What was the best part about playing Elsa?
SM: Working with Christopher Plummer, I adored him, we’ve been friends for a long time and to actually be able to improvise in-between sets and scenes was fabulous, I loved it!
Tell us about your role in the film?
Deanna Meske: I play the wife of Scott Bakula, and Shirley MacLaine’s daughter in law. And when Shirley hooks up with Christopher Plummer’s character we all become one unit in the scene and I play a stay at home mom. I have a young daughter who was absolutely wonderful on set.
Are you a mother off screen? How did you prepare for the role?
DM: I’m not a mother but I have nieces and nephews so that was easy, one of the scenes is a birthday party so I have to carry this big cake in and there’s all these kids and it was fun. Scott bakula is awesome, the guy is so down to earth.
And what was it like working with such heavy hitters like Shirley and Christopher Plummer?
DM: It was interesting, at first I was like “oh ok,” and then I was like “Ok Deanna just chill out, it’s great to be standing next to these people … I’m in this room and I just have to do my job and stay focused and live in the moment.” I learned a lot and I learned a lot from Scott and we knew that the camera would be more on him than it would be on me but he would tell me Deanna come stand by me and he really helped me out, he hooked me up.
Tell us what the casting process was like for you? How did you get the script and ultimately how did you book the role?
DM: I never had the whole script. I just got a casting call and I went in and I’d know the casting director Lisa Marie from before. She’s in Louisiana, I’m from Louisiana and that’s where the film was made in New Orleans and we basically went over it 3 times and I’d rehearsed it one way and I asked her if she minded if I did it another way and once we did that she was like “oh yeah I liked that” and two months went by and I’d forgot about it and my agent called me and told me that I booked the role.
This film is all about love, are you yourself in love right now?
DM: I have been in a relationship for a while and yep, I love him!
Some will say that this is a film for older people, why do you think younger people will want to go out and see this?
DM: Well because young people have grandparents and parents. A lot of people want their grandparents and parents to be happy and people get divorced and people pass away so this film kind of gives them hope and I think that even younger people are struggling trying to find the right one and feel like, I have to hurry or feel like oh I’m getting old and then they get to go out and see this film about two older people who fall in love at a later date and then realize ok I don’t have to hurry I can take my time a little bit.
We heard you say earlier that you’re working on a web series what can you tell us about that?
I have a web series that is out now its called “Government Lies” and that’s my series so I produce it, I I co-write and co-direct it; so that’s exciting for me because I get to showcase myself in a totally different way. It’s out now on outlookproductions.net
Following the screening, guests headed across the street to Hyde Sunset Kitchen & Cocktails. The film will be released on Nov. 7
Chasity Saunders contributed reporting.