Dee Wallace interview, talks ET, comedy and age

This is from a 2007 interview by Den of Geek.

Did E.T. help to diversify your career, given that you had taken ‘screaming’ roles in quite a few successful horror films by the time that it came along?

Oh, I think so. It opened up enormous opportunities for me, and interestingly enough not so much in films, but TV. And of course I did Cujo from that, but then I went on to do a wonderful sitcom with Elliot Gould, and I did a lot of comedy. The one thing that it really pigeon-holed me into, though, was mothers. Before E.T. I’d done a lot of TV playing hookers and astronauts…a plethora of different types of roles. But again, we in America…you all don’t do it so much over there, but we love to cubby-hole our actors. ‘She does this’, and ‘He does that’…in reality, most actors here can walk in and out of roles just like you all do.

You mentioned doing comedy; do you prefer that to the rather emotional and fraught roles you’re best known for?

You know, I just had a wonderful series on a year ago called Sons And Daughters. Well, I know it played over in the UK, cos I got recognised. That to me was a dream job because it was…it waslife, we weren’t playing comedy or drama. I could go from one incredibly funny, sarcastic scene into a highly dramatic emotional heart attack. In one day. It was a dream.

Do you think that Hollywood is ever going to stop dismissing actresses at some arbitrary cut-off point of age – a cut-off point that seems to be getting lower?

I think a lot of your icons have helped America move out of that; Helen Mirren, Judith…in London and Europe you don’t have that stigma as much as we do here. So I think yes, you can absolutely watch the entire energy of that turning around, I think we’re all laughing at several of our younger actresses – and I use the term ‘actress’ lightly – we’re laughing at them now and we’re going My God, where is the class of the aged beauty?

For women my age I think you’re seeing more, and even in television, especially off of the main network channels – HBO Showtime, all those…you’re seeing Glenn Close in Damages…but the mainstream is still holding onto that attitude you mention, and I think that’s one of the reasons why they’re lacking the success that they are, because they’re not moving with the energetic flow. We don’t want BS, we don’t want lack of integrity. We want actors with substance who can bring truthfulness to the screen, because as an energetic collective consciousness we are tired – sick and tired, literally, we’re getting sick, and more tired of it.

Check out the entire interview, where Wallace discusses many of the films from her great resume:

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