Diane Keaton and writer-director Nancy Meyers have worked together on and off for more than 15 years, with their most recent collaboration, “Something’s Gotta Give,” yielding some major kudos buzz.
Keaton has nabbed a Golden Globe nom for lead actress in a comedy and honors from orgs such as the National Board of Review and the Broadcast Film Critics Assn.
Meyers was adamant that only Keaton take the role of “Something’s” Erica Barry, a divorced playwright of a certain age who’s rumored to be modeled in part on the filmmaker.
“Nancy is always fighting for me,” says Keaton, who has starred in four films penned by Meyers. “It has never been easy, dating all the way back to ‘Baby Boom.’ I am not quite sure what she sees in me, but even if it is just familiarity, I love her for it.”
To Meyers, the Oscar-winning actress (“Annie Hall”) is “an original and funny woman who manages to be off-center yet completely centered at the same time. It’s her mystique. I find her fascinating because her intelligence comes through in every film she does. I am sure that is one of many reasons why Woody Allen loves to write for her as well.”
Keaton, however, had some trepidation about creating onscreen chemistry with Jack Nicholson. “I was so scared to be in love — how would it be to work with Jack?” Keaton remembers. “I knew I had to love him, and I was afraid we would not have that thing between us that makes it all convincing. He is a legendary American myth after all.
“But, there are not very many parts for women over 50 in this business, especially not romantic comedies. Who am I to say no?”
In hindsight, Keaton must be pleased with the outcome — even if she did have to endure the most intimate of moments in front of the camera including near-full-frontal nudity, a passionate lovemaking scene and her tearful proclamation of love to a man she thinks will never be seriously interested in her.
“Having your heart break like Erica’s did is the essence of what it is to be human,” Keaton says. “Rarely am I ever that unguarded; I will remember that feeling forever.”