Welcome to this week’s “Just for Variety.”
If you haven’t taken a look at Diane Keaton’s Instagram feed, you really should. The 76-year-old Oscar winner entertains her 2.1 million followers with a range of video posts. Some of my favorites include a photomontage of famous men — Justin Bieber, Lil Baby, Oscar Isaac and Kodi Smit-McPhee, to name a few — set to “It’s Raining Men,” and another explaining why she prefers almonds to walnuts while she shows off her snack closet. In April, Keaton’s “Spring Cleaning” video featured her in one of her signature black-and-white ensembles, a hat and studded black leather gloves as she picked through a closet for items to donate to Goodwill.
“There’s something wrong about that, but really I’m glad that I’m part of it,” Keaton says of her Instagram popularity. “I do like it. And I could play around with things.”
I chatted with Keaton for this week’s “Just for Variety” podcast ahead of the release of her latest film, “Mack & Rita.” In the Katie Aselton-directed comedy, a 30-year-old influencer named Mack (Elizabeth Lail) is transformed into a 70-year-old called Rita (Keaton) during a visit to a Palm Springs shaman (Simon Rex). The movie follows Rita as she befriends a group of older women while searching for the shaman to reverse his magic.
Talking to Keaton was a blast. It may have been the most fun I’ve ever had during a “Just for Variety” interview. And that’s saying a lot because I’m always having fun on the podcast.
I keep telling people this is sort of your Lucille Ball moment. It’s the same physical comedy. It’s the goofiness.
Thank you. That’s really very kind of you. Yeah, it was fun.
How did the pitch come to you? Was it “So there’s a woman in her 30s, and she has to be in her 70s, and you’re the woman for us”?
There you go! I’m willing to accept that — with gratitude actually.
Do you remember when you were 30? Did you say, “What will my life be like when I’m in my 70s?”
No, I was too anxious and I was too concerned by, oh, I got to get a job here and act there.
In one scene, one of Rita’s friends [played by 91-year-old Lois Smith] gets impatient about opening gifts at a party and someone says, “She’s old so every second counts.” There’s such great self-awareness because obviously you are a group of women of a certain age.
Of course. What am I going to do? Get all upset about it?
In the movie, Rita does mushrooms. When was the last time you did shrooms?
No, thank you! That was never something that I engaged in at all. I missed out on that. I would prefer just to have a glass of wine with ice in it. I don’t want to go there. I like ice and that’s fun, but no, that’s not fun. That’s scary. I don’t want to do that.
How much fun is it acting like you’re on shrooms? Is it just like, ‘Go crazy!’ Actors also talk about when you have to act drunk, that it’s very hard. It’s not easiest thing to do.
I’m sure that you’re correct on that. But being on just mushrooms, I think is just like you’re an idiot. That’s all. I’m best at being an idiot. I don’t want to let go of my idiot.
I notice that in another interview you also called yourself an “idiot.”
It’s true. It’s totally true.
Why do you say that?
Because I am, kind of. Part of the family trait.
Have you ever been offered a role in a superhero movie?
Those gloves alone are perfect for a superhero movie.
You think somebody would do that? I don’t think so.
If Diane Keaton calls Marvel and says, “I want to be in a superhero movie,” Diane Keaton is going to be in a superhero movie.
There’s no way. I’m not the right person.
You in a cape and a superhero suit?!
You’re the worst person I’ve ever met. [Laughs]
I imagine you probably have a few capes in your closet that would be perfect for the MCU.
You’ve lost your mind.
Do you remember the first audition you went on?
Yeah. It was junior college and it was for “Carousel.” Do you know this song? [She sings a couple of lines from “Mister Snow.”] I did that song. They cast me.
You almost released an album in the late ’70s.
Urgh. It was not good. That’s something you don’t want to experience.
I think you should do a musical superhero movie.
Shut up. Who are you, by the way? [Laughs] You’re crazy.
This interview has been edited and condensed. You can listen to it in full above, or find “Just for Variety” wherever you download your favorite podcasts.