Through her incomparable voice, her trademark wit, and her charismatic presence, Cher has established herself as a tireless, compelling performer of inestimable talent and unstoppable drive. Her contributions in music, television, stage and film have garnered countless accolades and awards and the admiration of generations of fans.
To give “Burlesque” the marquee pizzazz they envisioned, the filmmakers knew that only a megastar would do. They pursued Cher tirelessly before the Oscar winner agreed to end a seven year hiatus and return to the big screen. The filmmakers believed that Cher would respond to the role of Tess because the character is both familiar and contemporary — somebody with a lot to give who’s in danger of having her dream taken away
MoviesOnline sat down with the legendary Cher to talk about her new movie. She told us what attracted her to the project, how much she enjoyed working with Stanley Tucci, and what it means to want something so much that you don’t care about what other people think. Cher also gave us some valuable tips on how to make a unique fashion statement.
Q: I like your belt.
Cher: Thank you. It’s about 30 years old.
Q: That’s vintage. It’s a keeper.
Cher: I do that. I have things that are older than almost everyone I know.
Q: How big is your closet?
Cher: You know my closet is a nightmare right now. It’s spilled out into my sitting room and it’s just a nightmare. It’s pretty big but it’s just horrible. I’d like to burn all of it and start again. It’s just messy and horrible and shoes everywhere and just a nightmare.
Q: Each artist has their own unique style and sense of fashion. Where did you get yours?
Cher: Sonny and I started making a fashion statement that wasn’t very popular and we loved it and then I met Bob Mackie and he had a certain idea and I thought that was fun too. So I don’t know. I think you just do what you think is fun for you. You do what you think works for you no matter what anyone says. And that’s kind of what it is and you can tell today how Mafioso Stanley (Tucci) looks. I have to see that movie. I’m just really excited to see it. “Road to Perdition.”
Q: I’m sure this is going to be an invitation for an Academy Award next year. What should we expect?
Cher: I think maybe we have to wait until the movie comes out to see what happens. I don’t know. I think that’s far, far away. When you do a movie, you have no idea if it’s even going to be a hit or anybody’s going to see it. Sometimes you think that something that you do is great and people are going to love it and nobody comes. And sometimes you do something like “Moonstruck,” we loved it but we didn’t think anyone was going to see it and neither did MGM. They actually didn’t even put it out. They only put it out when “Overboard” fell out of the theaters. They said there’s no audience for it.
Q: Which one is more comfortable for you: the singing or the acting?
Cher: Both. It’s just the same thing.
Q: I remember watching you as Cher at the laundromat. You were funny. You were an amazing sketch performer and yet when you tried to make a movie, people said “Oh no, she’s just Cher of Sonny & Cher.” But you proved a lot doing that show. Is it surprising to you that people are sometimes prejudiced against someone that has a talent and tries to cross over?
Cher: I think people don’t trust you if you do more than one thing. They have an idea that you’re *this* and when you go to another thing, there’s something – I don’t know – that rubs them the wrong way until you can do it. I mean, people don’t welcome you with open arms into another field.
Q: But you have to have the courage to be able to challenge that?
Cher: Oh, I don’t know if you have the courage, you just have to have the wanting it. You have to really want it more than you care about what other people think. Comedians are always the most morbid people in the world. But I’m sure that there are lots of comedians that want to do something really deep but if they do it… I remember when Bill Murray did “The Razor’s Edge.” It was a terrible film, but if they think you’re funny and then you want to do something deep, then they really are not looking for that.
Q: There are a lot of new actors in this movie. Did they seek advice or comfort from a big star like you who’s been doing this for a long time?
Cher: I said to Meryl (Streep) “What do I need to know about acting?” and she said “First you have to be better in someone else’s close-up than in your own.” And then “Never work with Roy Scheider.”
Q: What is the best advice you ever gave?
Cher: That I ever gave? Oh, I don’t know. I mean, who knows? I’m always giving advice. You know I don’t know that I actually give good advice. I don’t know. I don’t go around remembering these things. I told Stanley he needed to go back to acting school. I think that was the best piece of advice I’ve given in a long time. (Laughs)
Q: Cher, you’ve obviously spend a lot of time performing in my favorite city, Las Vegas. But the show is coming to an end in February. Is it going to be extended beyond that time or is there going to be something special planned for the last show?
Cher: No. No, it’s just going to be the last show and yeah, it’ll be over in February. It’s been three years. I’m happy to have done it and I’m happy to move on.
Q: Did you ever think of running a show like you did in “Burlesque”?
Cher: No, that never even occurred to me. Even though everybody says they want to be a director, you know, all actors and actresses want to direct. But I had a chance to do one thing and I really enjoyed it. I really liked doing it because you can forget about yourself. I actually even acted in it and couldn’t care less about my performance. I was just like “Take a couple takes.” And I thought “Okay. I’ve got it. Let’s move on.” But I think that was really a fun thing for me to do. It was called “If These Walls Could Talk” and I really enjoyed myself.
Q: How was it working with Clint Culpepper and what was it like being on a contiguous set that was designed so that you could take a camera and walk all around it?
Cher: He’s so much fun. There’s been a lot written about the film and the set and what the time was like while we were on the set, but I just think it’s just so not right because the set was really fun. It was hard and the days were long. They were 16-hour days. But Stanley and I laughed almost the entire time, and my time with the girls, we had great times together. We’d be stuck in the Make-up where we’d all be putting our make-up on and we’d just be sitting there while they were re-lighting and we’d just gab like girls and laugh and talk. It was a really fun set. I really enjoyed it and it was beautiful. I liked being there. I actually loved being on the set. You could go [up into the dressing rooms]. You could go into the bathroom. You could go into the office. It was great. It felt like home. I’ve never had that before. And also, being in the club, it was really beautiful. We all fell in love with being in the club.
Q: Did you have a favorite scene to work on with Stanley Tucci that was particularly challenging or fun or that really stood out?
Cher: I really liked…it’s not even a scene but I really loved our first thing together where we just break up hysterically laughing. I love him being so ridiculous. I love it because it’s so much like a relationship and it just made me howl. I mean, maybe people aren’t even going to notice it but I thought it was fun.
Q: Did you know each other before the movie?
Cher: Nope. Never met. Never met Christina either.
Q: When did you first meet each other?
Cher: We met at the read-through. That was pretty much of a nightmare. We kind of just looked at each other and rolled our eyes.
Q: Do you have Facebook or Twitter?
Cher: Yeah, I have both.
Q: Do you have a personal account with Facebook?
Q: And one for your fans?
Cher: Yeah. Yes I do. You know what, it sounds dumb. I can keep in touch with my friend, Nabilla, in Dubai. I can keep in touch with people that I wouldn’t pick up the telephone to but they’re friends that I haven’t seen in a long time and I really love hearing what’s going on with them and that’s what I like about it. And also I have lots of young friends that are on it too and we stay in contact.
Q: You were talking about the Las Vegas show, is that difficult for you constantly going out there and putting on the best show you can every night?
Cher: Well it’s hard in just one way. It’s physically demanding but it’s not undoable. I mean, I do it constantly and did do it for 3-1/2 years. It’s just the thing is that every night you want to do your best and so there’s pressure for that for me. I always feel like once I’m starting to do it, it’s okay. But in the beginning like going up and getting into the thing that I fly out in, I’m always feeling like I have to make this the best because it’s like this audience is never going to see this again. This is the one time for them so I have to be good.
Q: How do you keep up your energy?
Cher: I just have a lot, I guess. I mean it’s like even when I’m tired, I find the energy to do it. You just either have it or you don’t. Also, it’s like something that if you do it your whole life, you don’t think much about it.
Q: This is your first film in a while. When you started the production, did it remind you why you liked acting and had you maybe forgotten some of the elements of it?
Cher: Yeah. The truth is, once we started, I got along really great with everybody, probably more with Stanley than anybody else, but still I got along great with the girls and Christina and Peter (Gallagher) and everyone, so it was fun. It was grueling. The days were longer than any production I’ve ever worked on but it was fun. You forget that it’s fun.
Q: What attracted you to this project?
Cher: I just wanted to sing. I really did. I just wanted to sing.
Q: The director said that there were a lot of yeses and there were a lot of nos. What were those nos?
Cher: From me?
Q: Yes, going back and forth.
Cher: Well, because I thought that she should be a little bit different kind of character than she was written and I think both of us (Stanley and Cher) changed our characters. I mean, you have a feeling and you have an idea of what it should be. Then, I mean, at least Steven was so open to the idea of letting us go in and try things and change things and I had once said to Clint “Why didn’t you fire me?” and he said “Well if you had ever said you were going to do it, I would have.”
Q: Christina said she would promise to drink your bathwater. Did she do that?
Cher: (Laughs) Yes, I know, but I don’t believe that she actually said that. I believe that Clint (Culpepper), the head of the studio, said she said that.
“Burlesque” opens in theaters on November 24th.