Thursday, Sept. 11 at Noon ET

Carrie Fisher on 'Wishful Drinking'

Carrie Fisher
Actress and Writer
Thursday, September 11, 2008; 12:00 PM

Actress Carrie Fisher was online Thursday, Sept. 11 at noon ET to answer your questions about her life, career, "Star Wars," books and new one-woman show, "Wishful Drinking," which runs from Sept. 5-28 at the Lincoln Theatre.

A transcript follows.

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New York, N.Y.: Who first came up with the idea for your one person show, and how did it develop into what it is today?

Carrie Fisher: Well, I've been doing a lot of speeches, giving awards to George Lucas or getting awards for being mentally ill. So two portions of the show evolved from that -- the Star Wars portion and the Mentally Ill portion, which represents a fair chunk of what's there.

Then I went to my friend Josh Ravetch, who is a playwright, and asked him to come on and assist me. He directed the first run when we were in LA. So really Josh and I worked on it initially.

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New York, NY: I've always been a big fan! Not only did you show a little girl that a woman can keep up with the big boys in Star Wars, you have consistently played characters that are both funny and strong.

Will your show be playing in NYC?

Carrie Fisher: Yes, it's looking that way, but I'm not exactly sure when. They were talking about March, but it's yet to be determined.

Oh, and for the previous question -- a man from Berkeley, Johnny Linus, brought it up to Berkely, and it further evolved, and it evolved as it goes along.

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Washington : I was at opening night, and the show is brilliantly fun. I heard the show is a bit different every time, and can't wait to see it again. Not really a question I guess, but can you talk about how you decided what to add in each night?

Carrie Fisher: Well, what I do is, initially I talk about my friend, Greg Stevens, who was a political advisor from Washington, and I talk about how he died, in my bed, and then I say to the audience, do you have any questions, just shout it out and I'll try to field it. So that changes every night. I also say that he was Republican, which I think contributed to his death.

I have a portion of the show that I call Hollywood 101, and I pick someone from the audience to answer the questions that come up while I'm perusing a blackboard. The first row gets a lot of action from me. And someone comes up on the stage to help me with a life-size Princess Leia sex doll. I tell them that it's handy, because if someone in the audience tells me to go (expletive) myself, I can take it home and give it a whirl. But in case the doll is heterosexual, I ask for a male volunteer.

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U Street: I saw your show last night, it was AMAZING! If anyone out there is on the fence about attending, don't miss it!

You share stories about your father and Paul Simon in the past...how are your relationships with them now?

Carrie Fisher: Well, my relationshp with my father is excellent. It's never really been a father-daughter kind of thing because he was never around, but my father is an unbelieavably charming man, and when I was doing shows in San Jose, I brought him up on stage to sing with me.

With Paul, things are affable, but we don't have much contact. I don't think his wife likes the idea of ex-wives, and maybe he doesn't either at this point.

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Wilmington, NC: How have the benefits of "writing therapy" and the traditional clinical therapy differed for you?

Carrie Fisher: I've been in talk therapy since I was 15, so that's way too long. But as a manic-depressive, you have to have someone keep an eye on you. As far as writing therapy was concerned, I wasn't aware of the power it had until I wrote Surrender the Pink, which was based on my relationship with Paul. I was with him while I was writing the book, and I looked up at him and said "these two people can't stay together." Because i saw that these people's relationship wasn't the healthiest. We didn't really look good on paper.

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U street DC: Hi Carrie - I saw your show at the Lincoln Theatre in its opening weekend. I really enjoyed your style of storytelling - and you have a great voice! Thanks for sharing your life story with your audience. Based on your experiences and what you know now, do you think you would you have chosen a different career than Show Business if you could do it all again?

Carrie Fisher: Well, i don't like regret, because I view it as very much like self-pity. But, I don't think I was aware, when I was a teenager, how one's celebrity diminishes over time, and how heartbreaking that can be. I never had any illusions about the healing factor that can occur if you have an audience that's enthusiastic. I saw that with my parents. It was never a comfortable fit with me because I always knew that any fame subsides.

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Washington, D.C.: You were hysterical on "30 Rock" last season. Did playing that character take you back to your own days of hanging out with the early "Saturday Night Live" crowd?

Carrie Fisher: No, not really. I was quite young when I was hanging out with them. Tina Fey is incredibly talented though, and it was fun to be around someone that gifted, and to play a character that well-written. If someone asks me what kind of character I like to play, the answer is simply well-written.

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Arlington, Va.: To me, you will always be best known as Marie from When Harry Met Sally. How often do people come up to you quoting lines from that movie? My friends and I quote it all the time to one another - you're character was wonderful (and you were great in the role!). I guess my only true question is: Do you actually own any red suede pumps?

Carrie Fisher: No, but I do have some red suede sneakers. Very, very rarely do people come up to me quoting the lines from that, or any film for that matter.

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Washington, DC: Do you like Washington? What do you plan to do while you're here?

Carrie Fisher: Well, I'm enjoying it, I've been here quite a few times. We had a driver to take us around on our one day off so far. A man named Dwayne Gaines, who we called Capital Gaines. We went to the monuments and some of the shopping malls, because I'm a consumer from way back. I have a few friends in town, Judy Cooper, a political consultant, and her husband RJ is a chef at a restaurant here called the Dahlia. We go over there a lot and hang out with their twin 2-year-old daughters.

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Washington, D.C.: I enjoyed your one-woman show, but it seemed you were talking more about your family and less about yourself, is that intentional?

Carrie Fisher: Oh no, I do not talk more about them, I go on and on and on about my substance abuse, mental illness, marriages. I don't exist outside out of relationships with other people, and one is a product of one's background. But I talk about how I became a writer. I didn't talk about my mother as much in Postcards, but the adaptation was much more about that. I haven't written too much about my father or brother, but they're a vital part of my life, and I don't really have a big family, but what there is of it is big and loud.

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Laurel, MD: As one who struggles with mental illness, I wanted to say how much I respect you for being honest & out there about yourself. I also LOVE your novels!

Carrie Fisher: That's very nice. Thank you.

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Arlington, VA: Can't wait to see your show; I have tickets for next week! What are your long term plans--more books (please!); movies?

Carrie Fisher: Both. There's a book of the show, and I owe another book to my publisher, Simon and Shuster. I'm doing a horror film coming up, just because I've never been killed on screen before. I was nominated for an Emmy for 30 Rock, that's a first for me. I do a lot of things -- some more rewriting of screenplays, though that has evolved into a weird gig. I try to be a Renaissance chick as best I can. So I can afford the shopping.

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Bethesda, MD: Gotta get a Star Wars question in: What was the set (for the first movie) like? Was it fun, hard working, disciplined, a combination of all three?

Carrie Fisher: A combination. The hours are long, and putting that hair on me was ridiculous, about two-hours in the morning. I'd fall asleep in the chair as Carrie Fisher and wake up as Princess Leia. And I was the only girl on an all boy movie, which was fun. Like playing in boy's town.

I wasn't very good at shooting a gun in that movie though, so they gave me gun lessons before Empire. But it was different than the other two films -- we thought we were just shooting this little cult film, but we knew in the later two that they would be hits.

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Washington, DC: What do you think of the newer Star Wars movies (the last three done by Lucas)? I for one only really liked the ones you were in!

Carrie Fisher: George has sort of set the precedent for these movies, so people compare him to himself and find him wanting. I don't think anyone is as good at bringing these visually spectacular films to the screen. I think the earlier films were better with character and dialogue, but I'm friendly with Ewan McGregor, who was great, and I'm jealous of the new girl, because not only is she prettier than I am, but she got to wear a whole bunch of different clothes.

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Anonymous

Best time you ever had making a movie?

Carrie Fisher: The 'Burbs! It wasn't a really good movie, but I had a really good time with Tom Hanks. The crew, with Joe Dante, he ran a really fun, laidback crew, we would all hangout on the street. It was a total blast.

And I have to say, I had a good time on Empire.

Thanks for your questions today. Come to the show!

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