We know it when we see it, and we love the people who live it—the ones we can count on, always, to be brazenly, exhilaratingly themselves. Authenticity is funny, provocative, and it slices through the bull. Celebrate some of the greats with us!
Here's a tip for when you get to talk with Diane Keaton. Yes, she's agreeable to chat with and she's got a good, un-actressy laugh. But no matter how subtle you think you are, don't try to lure her into a discussion of her own genuineness.
If you're a woman in middle age—or a man, for that matter—you couldn't find a stronger model of independence, accomplishment, and self-respect. Keaton has never married, despite (because of?) her relationships with Woody Allen, Warren Beatty, and Al Pacino. She's had four Oscar nominations—and won for 1977's Annie Hall, Allen's stylized portrait of her. (Keaton, like Annie, wore men's trousers, vests, and ties then, and she was born Diane Hall.) She professed that she was over romantic love, and in her 50s she adopted two children. At 57 she did her famous nude scene with Jack Nicholson in 2003's Something's Gotta Give. Now 61, she's had no tinkering done to her beautifully aging face. When would she find time, anyway? Her latest film, Because I Said So, came out in February 2007, and she's completing a photography book—she's already published several. Until recently, she's been directing and producing in both film and TV. Of course, she's also a mother, so while she'll still take acting gigs, directing again "is going to have to wait for maybe two years."
But don't even imply that you might be implying that she might be a model for anyone. Say, by mentioning her well-known attitude toward cosmetic surgery. "I don't have an attitude toward cosmetic surgery," she cries. "What can I say? I'm not telling anybody else what to do. I don't know how I might feel at 70. I think I might feel better about myself if I kept that authenticity, but..." Well okay; at least she said the word authenticity. Guess she's not telling 57-year-olds to do a nude scene either, huh? But surely that must have been a personal breakthrough? "No. I didn't like it," she says. "But it was appropriate to the story. And it was funny. My body really doesn't matter—I want to take good care of it, but it's simply what it is. I don't have the expectations I used to have, and I'm not as concerned about privacy."
Is it clear by now that Keaton wouldn't want somebody rhapsodizing about the authenticity she's too authentic to talk about? So let's just note that in 1968, when she was in her early 20s, Keaton performed in the original Broadway cast of Hair—and she was the only one not to take off her clothes in the first-act finale. Different ages, different attitudes, different choices, same person all along.
We Hear You!