Julie Christie talks ‘Away From Her’

Ian McShane dominating 'Homecoming'

“LIFE ISN’T a straight line. It’s a series of eruptions.” That’s Julie Christie, as we talked last week about her acclaimed performance as a woman stricken with Alzheimer’s in “Away From Her.” The movie took on an unexpected immediacy when former Chief Justice Sandra Day O’Connor revealed an identical true-life scenario. (O’ Connor’s husband, suffering from Alzheimer’s has forgotten her, and fallen in love with another woman.) In “Away From Her,” it is Christie whose memory fades, to the distress of her spouse, played magnificently by Gordon Pinsent. Without recollection of her former life, she turns to another man. I used the word “tragic” to describe the situation, but Julie said, “Yes and no. The way Sandra Day O’ Connor talks about it — and even in our movie — there’s a sense of humor, a bittersweet irony. Sometimes things that seem tragic can be turned around. Accept life. It’s the Buddhist way.” … Christie has never married, though her long relationship with Warren Beatty was relentlessly chronicled. Her private life has remained singularly private — and when it hasn’t been, it hasn’t been her doing. She lives in Wales and works when she wants to. Fans cherish even small turns in films such as “Troy,” “Harry Potter” and “Neverland.” We spoke on the Monday after the Golden Globes press conference, at which she took the award for actress in a drama. Had the “real” show gone on, giddy and glamorous, would she have attended? “Most probably not. I don’t care for that sort of thing. It’s just … too much.” She was attending the National Board of Review dinner that night in New York, warily trying to convince herself it would be bearable, “It sounds rather nice, don’t you think?” As for the Oscars, “I just don’t have the guts not to go. It’s pathetic, truly, to admit this, but even now I don’t think I could deal with pissing off the media and all they’d say. I mean, what if I won and wasn’t there? I don’t care about pissing off ‘Hollywood’ because it really doesn’t exist anymore. But pissing off the media? It was difficult when I was a girl, and they’re not any kinder now. I just hate not being strong enough.” Talk of Oscar led to the phenomenon of the red carpet. “It’s product placement now. ‘Who are you wearing, where have you borrowed you jewels?’ I don’t know where the ‘glamour’ is in admitting you’ve borrowed your jewelry, or you’ve been put together by a stylist? How about not wearing jewels. Would that be so terrible? And what’s wrong with fakes? They glitter, that’s the point, isn’t it?”

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ONE OF TV‘s most evil villains, Ian McShane is also one of the most loved and charming actors in New York. He wins raves from his acting cohorts in Harold Pinter’s fiercely bittersweet “The Homecoming.” It’s a smash at the Cort Theater. McShane, Esparza and McKean do a Border’s Q&A at Columbus Circle on Feb. 8. Info at www.borderstores.com.