Actress Morgan Fairchild was online Wednesday, Feb. 23, at 1 p.m. ET to discuss her role as Mrs. Robinson in "The Graduate," now playing at the Warner Theatre, her many other television, film and stage roles and her political activism.
"The Graduate" is now playing at the Warner Theatre and runs through Feb. 27.
A transcript follows.
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When did you first see The Graduate, the movie, that is? How old were you, what influence, if any, did it have on your growth and development as a person?
Does your play feature the original movie soundtrack in it? Thanks.
Morgan Fairchild: I saw the movie when it first came out when I was a kid. The movie, per se, wasn't necessarily an influence on me, personally, but the time period and the artistic and creative iconoclasm that was going on in that period had a major influence. This movie was part of that, as was Bonnie and Clyde, which I actually worked on.
A lot of the movie soundtrack is featured in the play. In the movie, there's music along with the action but in the play the music is mostly between scene changes and features the Simon and Garfunkel score, The Mamas and The Papas, the Beach Boys.
Do you prefer the spontaneity of live theater or the character development of a TV series? It seems like both would be exciting --the ability to get to know a character so well in performing the play a number of times and seeing a character change and elicit change as a storyline develops in a TV show. Do you have a preference, and why or why not.
Thanks very much!
Morgan Fairchild: I really like both. They're just very different. The TV series schedule is a little easier in some ways than doing a tour. I'm a bit long in the tooth for eight shows a week and then traveling on your day off to the next city but it is extremely exciting to get to go out every night and get another shot at it and try to find new levels that you might not have thought of before. In that way it is similar to what you are talking about -- the long-term development of a character on a series. You're doing it long-term, you're discovering new things every night. It's just the same scenes every night instead of new ones.
We are a big fan of yours! Loved you especially in "Dallas" and "Falcon Crest." Can you share your thoughts on being on those two wonderful shows?
Morgan Fairchild: Sure. When I did Dallas, the show was not on the air yet, so who knew the show was going to be such a big hit? We were shooting in Dallas in 110 degree heat (40 days in a row/over 100 degrees) and it was a life-altering experience for the L.A. people who weren't used to it. Larry Hagman and I, being the only native Texans, were used to it. But also, everyone would follow us around and show us their script with their lines and asked us to say it in Texan so they could figure out the accent. The problem was that they kept doing Southern and Texan is not southern -- it's twangier.
I loved doing Falcon Crest. Jane Wyman was a doll to do it with. My first scene with Jane ... we were rehearsing and I had to walk out of a room when she walked in, so as I exited I made a wisecrack and there was total silence and somebody grabbed me off-stage and told me, "Didn't anyone tell you that no one is supposed to make jokes while Jane is on the set?" And then, you could hear Jane just laughing her guts out on the set. She thought it was funny. So I became the one person who could make jokes. She was great.
I remember one day we had a big party scene and I was in some red leather mini-skirt suit, very 80s, big shoulder pads with a lot of that oversized jewelry and someone came over to me and said, "Oh God. Jane is going to hate that. You're gonna have to go change." And about then, Jane walks on the set in her little perfect Jackie Kennedy A-line dress with pearls and looks me up and down, takes her fingers and just clicked one of my big jeweled cuffs and said, "This what this damn show needs, a little glitz."
According to the Internet Movie Database, you appeared in Bonnie and Clyde as an uncredited double for Faye Dunaway. If true, where can I find you?
Morgan Fairchild: I was a double in Bonnie and Clyde for Faye Dunaway. My hair is longer than Faye's and a slightly different color and you can see me in a lot of the getaway scenes. There are several shots where the camera is in the back of a car where you can see, if you're looking, that the hair is a little longer and little more golden. (It's the scene where there's a truck full of chickens that's coming down the road towards us and we almost hit it.)
The show began getting a lot more attention once Mrs. Robinson's "flash" was introduced. Do you have the option, or is it an expectation? Does it take away from the rest of the play (as the audience settle in after the moment)?
Morgan Fairchild: It's not an option. It's in the contract. Believe me, we have all tried to talk them into letting us wear a body suit but the answer is no. I think it fits in with the play. I don't think people are that freaked and they seem to settle right down.
Tough decision. Who is the hotter babe? Anne Bancroft in the movie or you in the theater production? Wish all Mrs. Robinsons were as witty, charming and sexy as you! My fiance at 42 sees you as her role model for growing older and sexier!
Morgan Fairchild: I thank your fiance for that vote of confidence. It's very subjective so I can't say who's the better Mrs. Robinson. I just try to go out there and make her very interesting and sexy and twisted and strange and I think she's funny.
Besides the nude scene , what other scene in the play has been the most difficult for you?
Also, anything we can watch for you in anytime in the near future?
Morgan Fairchild: I've been on tour with this since October so I think every TV show that I shot has already played by now and I've missed a few because I've been on tour. I'm booked on this tour til May. Then we'll see what happens in pilot season and hopefully I'll snag one and we'll have one for next year.
We thank Morgan Fairchild for being with us. "The Graduate" continues through Saturday, Feb. 27 at the Warner Theatre.