Jane Seymour on East of Eden
Oprah: I was just looking at some clips of your performance in East of Eden almost twenty years ago, and I think there was no other Kate. In my mind, you personified all that she was and captured that in a way that I still marvel. What did it take to do?
Jane: I think it was the best role of my career. It was an incredible journey. I read the book and then I read his journals...and I just kept reading the book and the journals. Every day, I read what Steinbeck wrote about his mental state as he was writing the book. I just felt like I wasn't acting. I felt that it just happened...somehow it came through me.
Oprah: [Kate/Cathy Ames in East of Eden] was such a defining role for you, but after this happened, did people look at you…strangely?
Jane: I was seven months pregnant at the time of one of my best friends' weddings. It was a Catholic wedding and the mother-in-law literally threw holy water at me. I mean, buckets full! She was absolutely convinced I was evil incarnate!
Jane: I have to tell you my confession. There is nothing greater than playing evil incarnate. It is wonderful! It is an amazing experience, because you climb into a spirit or a soul that you have no idea you know, you can't even imagine it. But Steinbeck said in his journal the reason people are so excited about reading Kate is because they can't understand it, but a tiny bit inside all of us has that sense that one could be evil. We have the choice to be good. You can make your own life. And I think that is an incredibly important in this book.
Oprah: In developing the character for the screen, you must have thought about [Cathy Ames] more than all of us who have read the book, about why she was the way she was. Do you have an answer?
Jane: I think she is totally sociopathic. I think she did it because she had that power. She just could. I think she had no human feelings. She had no sense of remorse. I think there are people in this world who don't have human feelings. They don't have emotion. When she shot Adam, it was cold-blooded.
Jane: I can't thank you enough for choosing East of Eden for the Book Club. I read this book in a completely different way this time and I saw things that were unbelievable. Now you have to understand, before, when I played Cathy I had never had children. Now I've had six! I have twin boys who are seven and I'm watching how they are. They are completely different. They torment one another. They love one another and they are competitive. I got so much more out of this book than before!