Young Hollywood stars’ dope and booze-fuelled antics have spiralled out of control, Shirley MacLaine claimed today.
As she promoted her latest performance in David Attenborough’s romantic epic 'Closing The Ring', which receives its world premiere in Belfast tonight, the Oscar-winning actress observed there was an addiction to fame now that did not exist when she began her career.
“Once People magazine was published, I knew it would become a tabloid nation,” the star of 'The Apartment' and 'Terms Of Endearment' said.
“I knew that our nation of America and also Europe would be inundated by the invasion of privacy of celebrities.
“Why is that? I think it makes money because when we see celebrities in trouble and we are having a poverty-stricken life of some kind, we think: 'Oh well, that’s fine. They’re in trouble, they have made a lot of money. They are rich and famous etc. We don’t feel so bad. Maybe we are happier than they are'.
“On the other hand, the paparazzi make so much money invading the privacy of these youngsters that I think they have induced a kind of latent addiction to fame.
“Some of the most prominent girls call and say: 'I am going to be in Starbucks. Meet me there and I am going to act like I don’t want you there'. They don’t realise how serious the addiction to fame is.
“That’s a big deal. That didn’t happen when I was young.
“As far as the doping and booze is concerned, it’s way out of control now. It wasn’t like that when I was younger.
“I don’t know if it is the chicken or the egg but they are acting as models for what Andy Warhol called 'famous for 15 minutes'. It is horrifying to watch - some have talent, some don't, some are famous for being famous.”
MacLaine will attend the world premiere of 'Closing The Ring', which reunited her professionally with Attenborough after they appeared together as actors in the 1968 film 'The Bliss Of Mrs Blossom'.
The actress said the prospect of working with the English actor-director again was what drew her to the movie, which was shot in Belfast and Toronto last year.
“We worked together years ago and watching his growth as a director, oh my God!” she said.
“So I couldn’t wait to work with him. He loved the script and sent it to me.
“Now the script was interesting in that my character was one who was withholding her grief for the death of the love of her life. He had just been through the death of his daughter and granddaughter and was withholding grief so that he could work.
“So you could see how we understood each other from the point of view of dealing with this subject matter. It was a matter of subtle performing.
“What makes him different from other directors is that he knows what an actor goes through. He is an actor, so he understands it.
“He has said to me many times: 'How can anyone direct actors if they haven’t been there?'
“Of all the directors I have worked with, he stands out because he was an actor.
“(Bob) Fosse wasn’t an actor, (Mike) Nichols was a stand-up, Willie Wyler, Billy Wilder, Alfred Hitchcock – I have worked with everybody except Fred Zinnerman and David Lean – but he, Dickie, was an actor and that was a big, big, big difference.”