Tippi Hedren Stars Day 8 FFF 2013

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Tippi Hendren Shares About Her Career and Her Life

Tippi Hendren Shares About Her Career and Her Life

Today was a day filled with Tippi Hedren at the FFF. She appeared in the movie Free Sample, then again in her classic role in Hitchcock’s The Birds, after which she did a Q & A With the audience.

Free Samples

A Real FFF Sleeper

A Real FFF Sleeper

What an unexpected charmer. Frankly the description sounded a little inane–a young lady gets stuck handing out free samples of ice cream from a food truck all day. Perhaps I loved this movie because it exceeded my expectations so much.

The script was so witty and the performances so genuine this one turned out to be a real sleeper. Humorous, insightful and touching with an incredible cameo performance by Tippi Hedren.

Q & A With Director Jay Gammill
Q: How were you able to put together such a talented cast?

A: Very lucky, very, very lucky. This film began when I was in film school in USC and I met the screenwriter of the film. I knew we wanted to work together. At that time, Jesse Eisenberg was involved in another project with that director and it fell through. He read this script and said that he would do a small part in it. So that was the beginning of the snowball that became the cast. We knew we wanted Jess Weixler to play the lead and Jesse knew her and ran into her at an audition one day and said, “Hey I know these guys and they want you to be in their movie.” She read the script and she liked it and that’s what it comes down to. You can get people to play roles if they’re actually challenging. Jason Ritter was also someone who, if he said yes, we’d find a place for him. And he did! He also worked with Jess and Jesse before. Tippi was someone I wanted for the role. I didn’t think it would be possible. But she went for it. She really liked the script.

Q: How similar was the script at the end of the movie to what it was when you first started shooting?

A: We had some improvisation on set, not a lot, but some here and there. Some of the Jason Ritter scenes was just him riffing a little. Overall the script is what it is. We cut a few scenes and we moved some things around.

Q: What did you shoot on?

A: We shot on the Red One Camera with the MX chip and the Panavision lenses

At this point, Jay introduced a special guest star–Tippi Hedren came to the stage to answer questions

Q: Was that the first time you saw the film?

A: No it isn’t. I love this movie. I could see it over and over. I have the DVD and I watch it often. I really like it. I like all the actors. I think you’ve done a superb job on directing all of us, Jay. Just amazing. I hope that you will all see it again and again and pick it apart because it’s perfect. And tell your friends.

Q: There was an opportunity, perhaps, to play yourself in this movie with a little script adjustment. Was there ever any discussion of that.

A: No, I would never do that. I think the script as it was was absolutely perfect. I think that would have ruined my part.

A From Jay: There was never any consideration of that. I think it would have shifted the focus a little bit and made this world a little less “right.”

Q: Was the relationship with the woman what attracted you?

A: First of all, I thought the writing was absolutely brilliant. But I liked the fact that I was playing with a younger woman. There are decades of differences in the actual lives of the characters. My character totally emphasized with Jess Weixler’s character and put a little spin on looking at an older woman and her being able to remember all her romances. And that’s a fun thing to think about (audience laughs) and it’s fun living it, too. (Audience now laughs and applauds.)

Audience Comments While Waiting to See Tippi Hedren and The Birds
“This is a great damn Florida. It’s a beautiful afternoon and we’re looking to see great movies. We’re seeing The Birds. I wanted to scare my wife.” “And where’s your wife?” “She’s right here,” indicates woman behind him. LanceAround addresses the wife, “You have my condolences.” (At this, the group they are with all laugh.) Back to the man, “And how shall I identify you in the blog?” “Jason A.” Then to the woman, “And how shall I identify you?” Jason A’s wife, “Please don’t!” “Ah, so you don’t want to have any acknowledgement of the man to whom you are married, is that correct? Did I get that right? And you’re OK if I put that on the blog?” Jason A’s wife (laughing) “That’s fine.”

LanceAround, “You’re here to see the film? I assume so because you are standing in line. But you have a drink in your hand, so you might not be standing for long.” “Yea, it’s a Mint Julep. The festival is going great. I think this is film number 16 for me. It’s been awesome. I just came from the other film.” “Free Samples?” “Yea, Free Samples, it was great. We’re definitely looking forward to this.” “And how shall I identify you in the blog?” “Debra.” “Debra, the one with the tall glass that appeared to be relatively empty by this time.” (Debra laughs as she take another sip of her drink.)

“I try to do at least one movie every year and I chose this one,” says Roger.

“Any comments for the blog?” asks LanceAround to a patron standing in line. “I’m actually on a committee.” “Oh, which committee.” “International features.” “And which international feature was your favorite–Or are you allowed to have a favorite as a committee member?” “No, I think you’re allowed to. I Declare War.” “What did you like most about it?” “It just reminded me of childhood. Playing outside. It doesn’t seem like people play outside anymore.” “As a member of a committee, how many films did you have to watch, approximately?” “That is a good question. I watched less this year than when I was on the Docs committee when we watched, like, 300. It might have been 100 this year.” His female companion chimes in, “It might have been more than that.” “What was the criteria that you would use in your mind to help choose between films.” “Something with interesting characters. I really like to focus on characters. I Declare War had really interesting characters just because they’re all kids going through something and it just worked really well.” “And how shall I identify you on the blog?” “You can just say Mike.” “Mike it is!”

“Tell me why you’re here to see this film.” “I absolutely love Alfred Hitchcock. I love his movies. And I remember when I was pretty young seeing The Birds and being scared to death.” Mrs. LanceAround chimes in, “Ditto.” “I really wanted to meet, at least see, Tippi Hedren in person.” “And when you say ‘pretty young’ you were about how old?” “I think I was about 10.” “And you’re older than that now?” “I am, well, a little bit!” (Everyone in her group laughs.) “And which Hitchcock is your favorite?” “I don’t know if I can narrow it down. I really liked Dial M For Murder.” “That’s my favorite one, too. And how shall I identify you in the blog?” “My name’s Elaine.” “And how do you spell that?” “E-l-a-i-n-e.”

“Any comments for the FFF blog?” “I’ve enjoyed it.” “How many films have you been to?” “four.” “Which was your favorite.” “I Declare War.” “You’re the second person who said that. What did you like about it?” “As a male growing up we used to play war.” “That’s exactly what the other person said. It’s amazing. How shall I identify you in the blog?” “The newcomer to Orlando.” “How long have you been here?” “A couple months.” “And where are you from?” “Portland, OR.” “Portland? Could you have picked a farther place to go in the US?” “No, 3005 miles.” “3005–did you walk it?” “No, my son drove my car.”

The Birds and Tippi Hedren

Tippi

Tippi

With that last comment, the long lined filed into a jammed Enzian Theatre to enjoy The Birds and have a Q & A afterwards with Tippi Hedren. As for the movie, it’s such a popular classic that I can’t add much to it’s legacy; except to say this: There is something very special about watching a classic film on the big screen with an audience that truly loves film. During the movie, Mrs. LanceAround would lean over and whisper into my ear, “This group really knows how to appreciate a movie.”

Yes they do, dear. Yes they do.

When the movie ended, Tippi was introduced to a thunderous standing ovation. Rather than tell you what she said, just click on the link below to hear her in her own words…

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