MacLaine has been a force in feature films since her
debut in Alfred Hitchcock’s "The Trouble With
Harry" in 1955. She’s received six Academy Award
nominations including for Billy Wilder’s "The
Apartment" (1960) and "Irma La Douce"
(1963) and won the Oscar for James L. Brooks’ beloved
1983 dramedy, "Terms of Endearment."
done big-budget films, quirky comedies like Richard
Linklater’s 2011 hit "Bernie" and even
guest-starred on "Downton Abbey."
nothing prepared MacLaine for "Wild Oats."
the production of the indie comedy two years ago on
Spain’s Canary Islands, finances got so dicey MacLaine
and her fellow stars including Jessica Lange and Demi
Moore deferred their salary.
Oats" not only doesn’t have a scheduled release
date, MacLaine hasn’t seen any money. "No one has
been paid," she said. "I got a book though. I
look at it that way."
the Line: My Wild Oats Adventure" is MacLaine’s
funny new book about the near screwball comedy of errors
making the film about a woman (MacLaine) who
accidentally receives a life insurance check for $5
million instead of $50,000 and is persuaded by her
friend (Lange) to keep the money and go to the Canary
film was original written for the friends to go to Las
Vegas, but the location depended upon where the
producers could find the biggest rebates, including
Pittsburgh, New York, New Orleans, Puerto Rico and then
finally the Canary Islands.
cast changed as the film was delayed. "The one who
hung on the longest was Jacki Weaver," said
MacLaine in Santa Monica. Weaver eventually dropped out
81, MacLaine is fabulously fit, funny and fearless about
speaking her mind, a trait she’s always had.
never been afraid of what people thought," she
Arkin also stayed with the project for a while, but
MacLaine noted: "I think he finally got tired of
Tennant ("Hitch") was hired as the director.
And Lange stepped into Weaver’s role. But no leading
men had been cast by the time MacLaine and Lange arrived
in the Canary Islands. Billy Connolly and Howard
Hesseman eventually came on board.
was told the cast signed despite misgivings about the
financing because "I was going to do it. What an
honor!" And the crew, she reported, also wanted to
work with her. "They didn’t get paid most of the
time," she said.
was often halted because the money ran out. MacLaine
recalled receiving phone calls in the morning saying,
‘"Hello, don’t come in today. We can’t pay
the cab drivers.’ That happened several times. Who is
not going to laugh at that?"
found herself laughing through all the craziness.
"What we would say to each other as we were
waiting, I nearly got a hernia from laughing. I learned
so much about the need for laughing."
"Above the Line" is about a lot more than
filmmaking. In typical MacLaine fashion she also writes
about reincarnation and metaphysics — subjects she’s
tackled before including in a previous book, 2011’s
"I’m Over All That."
her longtime agent warned her not to do the film,
MacLaine believes she was drawn to the project because
of the location. There are those who believe that the
Canary Islands are the location of the fabled Lost City
while making the film, MacLaine said she discovered she
had a past life in Atlantis.
did you think of that?" she asked about the
revelation. "I know it was true. I trust my memory.
I remember the environment. I remember the things that
happened. I remember the feelings. I am allowing myself
to understand the reality that there are other
dimensions and third dimension is just one. You have got
to lay down and dream. You got to let your mind, let
your soul, do some traveling."
would love to go back to the Canary Islands. "I
have good memories of Atlantis," MacLaine
any trip back to the islands will have to wait because
she’s working on numerous films this year, including
"The Last Word," directed by Mark Pellington,
in which she plays a successful business woman.
the big lead," she said, adding her character is
pretty satisfied with what’s she accomplished, but
nobody likes her anymore. "So she becomes obsessed
with writing her own obituary."