Wednesday, February 02, 2011

My Cher interview...

How Cher, 64, manages to look 44
By Raymond de Asis Lo - L.A. Correspondent (The Philippine Star) Updated February 03, 2011 12:00 AM Comments (0) View comments

MANILA, Philippines -  Those searching for the proverbial fountain of youth can very well start stalking Cher for clues. The seemingly ageless megastar met with this writer in early November last year just before her latest movie, Sony’s finger-snapping musical extravaganza Burlesque  was shown in US theaters and she looks as if she has found the magic formula that keeps her eternally youthful and beautiful.

“I would love to be like those women who are just so happy with their age,” she tells journalist Cynthia McFadden for a Nightline interview she did the day before ours, “and just feeling like they’ve never been better and all that but I just don’t believe it. For me, it’s just old age gets in my way.”

Many women would certainly agree but unlike a few who would go berserk if asked about their age, the outspoken film and music icon does not even bother to think twice about answering the question. Cher does not attempt to hide her true age and has no qualms revealing how she makes herself look young. She is 64 but looks 20 years younger!

Perhaps her wit and candor have something to do with it. The actress has been in showbiz for so long, she’s had her share of fans who encompass various generations. She was laughing when she related her experiences with some fans who have approached her.

“I have people coming up to me that look really old and go, ‘I watched you when I was a little girl,’ and it makes me laugh but I always think, ‘My God, you look so old!”

“I am just really immature,” she replies when this writer asks what her secret is in keeping herself youthful. “I just always have been like this. My mother is like this, too. My mother is 84 and she is really immature and the older we get we just seem to get more and more immature.”

“I keep thinking, I am gonna act like a grown-up woman someday,” she adds. “And the only think I am, kind of, responsible about is I take care of my family – that part is, kind of, responsible. And then for the rest of it, I don’t know how to act any different than I am.”

In her interview with Nightline, she reveals how “the girls were mesmerized with the fact that I was my age - could not believe it; could not compute it.”

The girls she is referring to are her Burlesque costars which include pop music superstar Christina Aguilera, who makes her major movie debut, and Julianne Hough, Dancing with the Stars breakout sensation who has crossed over to singing and acting.

In Burlesque, the Oscar-winning actress portrays a down-on-her-luck nightclub owner struggling to keep her business afloat. Creditors are threatening to take over her club when she discovers Alice (Christina’s character) and sees how she can tap her talent to attract more patrons to her club.

Cher hasn’t acted in a movie since her cameo appearance in Matt Damon’s 2003 comedy Stuck on You. And she still wouldn’t have made Burlesque if writer-director Steven Antin didn’t spend weeks hounding her.

“We were on the set when I finally said yes,” she jokes. “I didn’t feel it. I wanted to sing in a film. That’s what I really wanted to do. I didn’t quite feel Tess (her character) was exactly the person that I, kind of, thought she should be. But I really wanted to work with Stanley (Tucci) and I didn’t really realize I would have much fun working with everybody as much as I did.”

For someone of her stature, Cher has a rather lean filmography. Burlesque is only her 16th feature film since she started acting in 1965. “I didn’t actually think of acting ever again,” she revealed. “I always knew I wouldn’t do a lot of films. I started late. I don’t even know how old I was.”

Cher started as a back-up singer in the early ‘60s and initially found success on television with late ex-husband Sonny Bono. But what made her very famous was the combination of her bold personality, outspokenness and headline-grabbing string of boyfriends younger than her and outlandish outfits that today would even put Lady Gaga to shame.

“I am stupid. I should keep my mouth shut and yet when someone asks me a question I just answer it like some insane I-don’t-know,” she explained. “But I have always been that way. I just always said what I thought and it’s not a good thing, not a smart thing to do in our business.”

Her Burlesque director calls this trait “fabulous honesty”.

“If you live in America, you would have to live in a cave to not to know anything about my life,” she said. “It’s boring for me to keep talking about it but it doesn’t seem to be boring to other people.“

There were earlier rumors of clashes between her and the director on the set of the film but these were denied by Cher who, this writer realized, would almost allow anything be attached to her name except one word: Diva.

“No, it’s not anything that I ever give a thought to,” she replied when asked if she would call herself a diva. “I joke about it in my show but who goes around thinking those things? I am worried about other things. I am not thinking about that. That doesn’t have any kind of meaning to me.”

But if you strip all the glamour and take the spotlight away, what is Cher really like in private?

“Nothing exciting. Nothing that is really interesting,” she declared. “I can cook. But I don’t cook because I don’t really like to cook unless I want to cook. I can really make good Thanksgiving dinner and anything Italian.”

Asked if she does any grandmotherly chores like knitting, she replied: “No, (but)I used to needlepoint,” before sharing a cute story that took place nearly three decades ago when she and Meryl Streep were doing the movie Silkwood in the early ‘80s. She recalled how Meryl was trying to knit a sweater for her husband “that ended up being a sweater for, like, the ram. It was so awful!”

When she looks back in her life, she considers the ‘80s her favorite decade “because that was the best time I’ve ever had. I was just having a really good time. I did three movies in a row, I did an album and my kids were still at home so how bad can that be?”

It was in the ‘80s when she won her Oscar for best actress in the movie Moonstruck where she played the part of a woman in love with a younger man. It is a role that she mostly identifies with in real life.

It’s not a secret how Cher dated men younger than her. There are so many tabloid reports of how many men she has dated over the years that some couldn’t possibly be true.

“I am fascinated with men with great sense of humor and that’s a major thing for me,” she said. But, at 64, does she still prefer younger men to older men?

“I kind of do but now I am so old that even old men are not interested in me!” she teasingly replied. Yes, only Cher - and her trademark wit - can pull that answer off.

Burlesque is now showing nationwide.

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