“Titanic” and “Unforgiven” actress Frances Fisher sat down with The Creative Coalition CEO Robin Bronk in the latest episode of “At Home With The Creative Coalition,” a podcast featuring unplugged and uncensored conversations with today’s biggest stars. In the newest episode, Fisher talks about crashing commercial auditions to get acting work, Clint Eastwood’s directing style, changing a scene with Kate Winslet in “Titanic,” and much more. Highlights below.
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Highlights from “At Home With The Creative Coalition” featuring Frances Fisher –
On her “big break” and finding a mentor doing commercial acting: “I truly don’t know what that means except that maybe more people knew me. But there’s one little part that I just didn’t want to skip over just because I have such gratitude for the people who I’ve mentioned before, who helped me like John Holland. One of those magical things happened. Remember, I was telling you, I would just bring my picture and resume and that had nothing on it. I made everything up except for the theater stuff that I did. The night before Christmas eve, I get a phone call. And they’re saying, ‘We want you to do a buyout commercial on a shirt thing the day after Christmas. And we’ll give you $400. And it’s a buyout. ‘ I go, ‘What’s a buyout?’ He’s like, ‘Well, you’re not gonna get residuals because it’s non union, but we’ll give you $400 cash.’ $400 cash, oh, my God! I was working as a bartender. And that was a lot of money. So I actually know how it happened. This producer, I was talking to him on the set when, you know, we had a break and he goes, ‘How did you get here? You don’t even have an agent.’ And I go, ‘I don’t know. I was just putting my picture and resume on a lot of desks in advertising agencies.’ He goes, ‘Well, if I knew that I never would have hired you. I thought you came through an agent.’ Oh my god. Anyway, the guy who played the elevator operator in this little commercial, his name was Richie Allen. And he looked at me and he felt sorry for me. He saw that I had talent, but I had no idea what I was doing. So at lunch, he came over to me, he goes, ‘Frances, I’m one of the most popular New York commercial actors right now.’ And he was– I looked him up and I saw the stuff he did. He says, ‘I’m gonna take you around and show you how it’s done. I’ll teach you how to crash auditions.’ There was a way you could show up. If there’s so many people, you just put down the name of an agent even if they weren’t representing you, because if you got the job, you could go to him and go, ‘Hey, look, I just got this job and I’m giving it to you. Will you represent me?’ He was amazing. He got me going. I ended up doing a Dristan commercial. I ended up doing a couple of other commercials. And then I got myself an agent who said, ‘Hey, you know what, you’d be good on soap operas. You ever go up for a soap opera?’ I went, ‘Really? Yeah, okay. Sure.’ And, you know, it’s like, ‘Okay, I’ll do a soap opera.’”
On working with Clint Eastwood on the set of “Unforgiven”: “Well, it was one of the best experiences. The thing I’ll say about Clint Eastwood is that he really runs a quiet set. It was a pleasure to be on, you could hear yourself think. Nobody talks on that set. The ADs, you know, you don’t hear people going, ‘Okay, quiet on the set, rolling speed, action!’ You don’t hear any of that, you know, you have to look at the ADs and they’ll be running their finger around, like, in a circle, like, ‘We’re rolling now.’ It’s so quiet, because everybody has such respect for Clint. And he has such respect for everybody. You know, he’s just very quiet, methodical, knows exactly what’s going on. His crew and he have worked together for so long. There’s such a shorthand. And– I don’t know if you’ve heard this story before, he tells a lot– that he learned early on that when he’s directing instead of saying, ‘Okay, action! You know, it would freak me out too, it freaks everybody out when the director goes, ‘Action!’ You know, it’s like, this is a very intimate scene, you don’t have to yell it, you know. Especially if everybody’s listening so quietly, you know, the AD is just, you know, rolling his finger to indicate rolling. And Clint just says, you know, ‘Go ahead.’ And he said he learned that from when he was doing “Rawhide,” and the actors would be with the horses. And then as soon as the director would yell action, it would spook the horses. And they’d have to, you know, spend time getting the horses back in line again. And then the director would go ‘Action!’ It’s like, stop doing that! So Clint learned to just keep everybody calm by just saying, ‘Go ahead,’ or, ‘Whenever you’re ready.’”
On the idea to rewrite a scene in “Titanic”: “I met Leo and Kate, before we started shooting just to get to know them a little bit. And the first scene was the corset scene. Oh, this is the other thing. So Kate and I are in the makeup room, right? It’s my first day on set. That was my first day, they start with the corset scene, which was the reason I wanted to do the movie. You know? We’re women, our choices are never easy. I wanted to say that line. We’re sitting there. And Kate and I are talking and all of a sudden, ‘You know what? Don’t you think because it was written where she was putting me into my corset? You know, I think maybe I should be putting you into the corset.’ She said, ‘I was thinking the same thing. You should be constricting me. That’s the whole point of it. Right?’ I say, ‘Yeah. What do you think Jim’s gonna say?’ ‘Well, let’s go talk to him.’ So when we get to the set, we walk in, and Jim comes bounding up to her saying, ‘You know, I’ve been thinking, you guys need to switch. You should be putting the corset on her, Frances.’ I went, ‘That’s a great idea!’”
More about “At Home With The Creative Coalition”
Hosted by The Creative Coalition CEO Robin Bronk, “At Home With The Creative Coalition” brings listeners intimate portraits, key moments of discovery, and “art and soul” conversations with iconic entertainment industry personalities from the big screen to the boardroom, from L.A. to D.C. Listen now at http://thecreativecoalition.org/podcast.
Upcoming guests include Jaren Lewison (“Never Have I Ever”) and Iain Armitage (“Young Sheldon”).
Previous guests include Jason Alexander (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”), Shiri Appleby (“UnREAL”), Justin Bartha (“The Hangover,” “National Treasure”), David Alan Basche (“The Exes”), Asante Blackk (“This Is Us”), Carly Chaikin (“Mr. Robot”), Aaron Cooley (“The First Lady”), Wilson Cruz (“Star Trek: Discovery”), Alan Cumming (“Schmigadoon!, “The Good Wife”), Ethan Cutkosky (“Shameless”), The Creative Coalition President and actor Tim Daly (“Madam Secretary”), Lea DeLaria (“Orange Is the New Black”), Griffin Dunne (“This Is Us”), Kerry Ehrin (“The Morning Show”), Wayne Federman (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”), Michael Fishman (“Roseanne,” “The Conners”), Jim Gaffigan (“The Jim Gaffigan Show”), LaMonica Garrett (“1883,” “Sons of Anarchy”) Willie Garson (“And Just Like That…”), Judy Gold (“The Other F Word”), Nicholas Gonzalez (“The Good Doctor”), Clark Gregg (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”), Tony Hale (“Veep,” “Arrested Development”), Evan Handler (“And Just Like That…,” “Californication”), Patricia Heaton (“Everybody Loves Raymond,” “The Middle”), Jon Huertas (“This Is Us”), Jason Isaacs (“Star Trek: Discovery,” “Harry Potter”), Susan Isaacs (“Compromising Positions”), Richard Kind (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”), Nathan Kress (“iCarly”), Chad Lowe (“Supergirl”), Aasif Mandvi (“The Daily Show”), Rachel Mason (“Circus of Books”), Marlee Matlin (“CODA”), AnnaLynne McCord (“Let’s Get Physical”), Eric McCormack (“Will and Grace”), Wendi McLendon-Covey (“The Goldbergs”), Katherine McNamara (“Shadowhunters”), Melissa Manchester (“Don’t Cry Out Loud”), Molly Smith Metzler (“Maid,” “Shameless”), Marta Milans (“Shazam!”), Rob Morrow (“Billions”), Kathy Najimy (“Younger”), Ken Olin (“This is Us,” “Thirtysomething”), Haley Joel Osment (“Future Man,” “Entourage”), Joey and Daniella Pantoliano (“The Matrix,” “Memento”), Ross Patterson (“Range 15”), Bill Prady (“The Big Bang Theory”), Kyla Pratt (“The Proud Family”), Jessica Queller (“Supergirl”), Sheryl Lee Ralph (“Abbott Elementary”), Anthony Rapp (“Star Trek: Discovery”), Yolonda Ross (“The Chi”), Reid Scott (“Veep”), Mona Scott-Young (“Love & Hip Hop”), Alena Smith (“Dickinson”), Julie Taymor (“The Lion King”), Lea Thompson (“Back to the Future”), Tramell Tillman (“Severance”), Krista Vernoff (“Grey’s Anatomy”), KT Tunstall (“Black Horse and the Cherry Tree,” “Suddenly I See”), Matt Walsh (“Veep”), Alfre Woodard (“Clemency,” “Luke Cage”), Constance Zimmer (“Good Trouble”), and David Zucker (“Airplane!,” “Scary Movie”).
More about The Creative Coalition
The Creative Coalition is the premier nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) social and public advocacy organization of the arts and entertainment community. Founded in 1989 by prominent members of the creative community, The Creative Coalition is dedicated to educating its members on issues of public importance. The Creative Coalition also creates award-winning public service campaigns including #RightToBearArts to promote the efficacy of the arts. Actor Tim Daly serves as the organization’s President. For more information, visit https://thecreativecoalition.org.