Award-winning actress Talia Shire, who helped create two of the most notable woman characters in film history with Connie Corleone in The Godfather and Adrian Pennino in Rocky over a legendary 40-year career, is kind of a tech geek.
After having some trouble signing into the app we used to record our conversation for CNET’s I’m So Obsessed podcast, Shire admits with a laugh she really misses using Microsoft’s original DOS operating system.
“DOS was simple — it didn’t have all these icons,” she says during a conversation from her home in Los Angeles. “You just hit that key and that key and then that key. I like things that present themselves simply because my imagination will kind of do the rest.”
It’s not long before we’re talking about the advantages of Cagney and Lacey and Columbo and Technicolor movie classics like the original Robin Hood and her favorite The Red Shoes. We also talk about how tech like artificial intelligence and American inventiveness need to come together to rethink education and remake factory jobs. A factory shutdown is at the heart of her most recent movie, 2019’s Working Man, in which she plays the wife of a longtime employee who keeps going to work even though the plant has closed.that allow her to binge-watch “the old stuff,” TV series like
“A man needs a job. A woman needs a job,” she says. “We need to wake up in the morning and have a structure.”
Talk of structure brings us to her big ask of the tech industry, something she’d happily come to Silicon Valley to work on as part of her interest in teaching and mentoring the next generation, just like old Hollywood actors Burgess Meredith, Barbara Stanwyck and Ida Lupino mentored her. “I would like to come there and work on the structure to creativity, ” she says. Due to the pandemic, “We might be home more and more, so we’re going to have to start opening up that right brain.”
In a wide-ranging interview, Shire spoke with me about the transformation of Connie Corleone in the first Godfather movie from shy, battered bride to family leader in The Godfather, Part III. She described working with Sylvester Stallone to create the character of Adrian, right down to meeting with an optometrist to get the right pair of glasses and going to Goodwill to buy the kind of clothes she’d seen certain women wear on the subways in New York.
“I would see a lot of women uncomfortable with themselves, with their heads down, dressed like that” she says. “You don’t offer that kind of girl a seat. I wanted to make Adrian that kind of girl — sort of discarded. Because so is Rocky. These are discarded people who find each other.”
Shire also talked about working with her son, actor and filmmaker Robert Schwartzman, to re-release Rad, the 1980s cult classic she and her late husband Jack Schwartzman produced and that she stars in.
“Rad was a great BMX bike movie that my husband and I did and nobody came to see it,” she says with another laugh. “That is very exciting — that a movie need not die. The opportunity to bring them back and use the technology and give people an experience to revisit that original experience is very exciting to me.”
Listen to my entire conversation with Shire on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or in the player embedded above, and subscribe to I’m So Obsessed on your favorite podcast app. In each episode, my series co-host Patrick Holland and I catch up with artists, actors or creators to learn about their work, their career and their current obsession.
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