“The 1988 Project” Interview with Elizabeth Perkins

•• Interview from The 1988 Project! – Ms Perkins is a star of stage and screen, getting her Broadway start in the great Neil Simon’s “Brighton Beach Memoirs” (when they renamed the Alvin Theater, “The Neil Simon”) I could go on forever about her many memorable projects and how much she has contributed to  our pop culture lexicon. This is evident by her multiple nominations for her work on the TV show Weeds.  “Indian Summer“, “28 Days” and “He Said/She Said“, the list of projects is endlessly great. I can not watch He Said/She Said enough and have always thought it was such an original concept in the way the story flows back and forth, like Pulp Fiction if it was a romantic comedy. Oh my gosh, I can’t forget Barry Levinson’s “Avonlea“. A perfect movie about the joys and heartbreak of family. When I worked at Johns Hopkins I tried to track down the locations! But, as always, as much as we want to ask her questions about everything, we focus our attentions to 1988. In 1988, Ms Perkins starred in the top grossing comedy Big and the drama/comedy Sweetheart’s Dance. Big would go on to be the 4th highest grossing movie of 1988 and be said to launch the next level of success for many of its stars, director Penny Marshall,  and screenwriter Gary Ross (Pleasantville, The Hunger Games). Her performance as an executive trying to find a new sense of wonderment through 13 year old turned 30 year old Josh Baskin,  is the stuff of movie legends. Welcome Ms Perkins to the 1988 film project.

•• 1988 Film Project: What do remember about 1988?
– That smoking was banned on airplanes, The Boss separated from his non-Jersey girl wife Julianne Phillips, and the Bush-Quayle ticket

•• Big would go on to be one of the highest grossing movies of 1988, despite a full slate of body switching films that year (18 Again!, Vice Versa,etc). However, your acting roots are in the theater.When it comes to making a production that will make an audience laugh, is there more pressure in a film or a theatrical performance?
– I  was blessed, as T-Hanks was a consummate actor; giving, blessed, truly gifted. There were many body changing movies, but Big was the one that had heart. There is pressure on film AND theater when big money involved. Fear is a motivating factor of so many projects…sad but true. You can’t be truly creative in FEAR.

•• If you could go back to 1988 and change anything, would you? What would it be?
– Bush/Quayle; Get tickets to Amnesty international concert and MY HAIR (I am adding in the Vimeo Link of the HBO concerts…6 weeks of Sting, Springsteen, Peter Gabriel, Tracey Chapman….wow,now I wish I had gone too!)

•• What did you take away from Big and Sweetheart’s Dance that you still carry with you in your own career choices?
– Work with talented people; never stop being a child at heart. Don’t judge yourself and be REAL. Have no fear; trust your instincts.

•• One of the notable results of Bigwas that Penny Marshall became the first female director to helm a film that made  $100 million at the box office. Do you think it has become easier for women in the film industry since 1988?
– NO. It’s harder for women. But that makes us stronger, less fearful. Gender will be an issue until we stop separating. IE: a “womens” film

•• You have worked with some of the most talented people in the business and some of the most brilliant writers and directors and been nominated for prestigious awards. If you had found a Zoltar machine when you were 13, would this life have been your wish? and would you have wanted to skip right to it?
– I would have wished to be an actress. Wish fulfilled. I found a Zoltar at local county fair. 🙂

•• The Lightening fun round: You are driving to the set. What are you listening to?
A. George Michael’s “Faith”
B. Whitney Houston “I get so Emotional”
C. Beach Boys “Kokomo”
D. Debbie Gibson “Foolish Beat”
E. Bobby McFerrin “Don’t Worry Be Happy”
F. Guns N Roses “Sweet Child of Mine”
G. None of the above
– None of the above, I was listening to The Police, Roxanne or… maybe “Sweet Child O’ Mine—cuz Axel ruled. But with the face stuff now? Awwww poor Axel.

•• It is 1988, you want to catch a movie. What are you most likely to watch out of the top 10 movies that year?
a. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
b. Rain Man
c. Cocktail
d. Big
e. Twins
f. Crocodile Dundee II
g. Naked Gun
h. Beetlejuice
i. Coming to America
j. None of the above, I preferred to watch:
– BEETLEJUICE. Keaton is brilliant… Baldwin… Ryder… Still holds up… Amazing work.

•• It is 1988, you have downtime from work. You were most likely to read:
a. a Tom Clancy book
b. Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time”
c. Stephen King’s “The Tommy Knockers”
d. Thomas Wolfe’s “Bonfire of the Vanities”
e. None of the above, I was reading:
– I was reading the Village Voice and scouring the equity office for jobs.

•• It is 1988, you manage to catch some TV…would it most likely be?
a. Roseanne
b. The Cosby Show
c. Cheers
d. The Wonder Years
e. None of the above I was watching
– Cheers. Golden Girls (brilliant); Murphy Brown; SNL. I am still watching The Wonder Years and Miami Vice!! 🙂

••Three bonus questions!
Even though you were not in the FAO Schwartz scene…did they still let you jump on the giant piano?
– Never even SAW the piano!!!(this is where we are adding a sad sigh and hope that someone will rectify this travesty of justice)

•• Who would win in a real game of handball, Tom Hanks or John Heard?
– Tom Hanks would win. Smarter, faster, quicker. Ha!

•• What are you currently working on?
– New show @ ABC. Its called How To Live With Your Parents For The Rest Of Your Life. But I think they’ll make the title longer once we air.

•• Thank you so much for stopping by the 1988 film project! We will be watching your show this fall!  Here is the rundown on the show.