Anjelica Huston and I are talking about our right to bare arms.
The famed actress and daughter of legendary filmmaker John Huston says, "This thing that happens with one's upper arms when you age…it's just not fair!"
"It never goes away," she says. "Those are the little shocks you get as you age."
Anjelica says aging sort of snuck up on her.
"Getting older? I had no conception that such a thing happened when I was in my '20s!" cries Huston who turned 60 in July.
"I'm shocked every time I look in a mirror or pass a shop window. I had no conception that one got older," she says, laughing. "You go, 'Oh my God!' Even my birthdays always shock me, but in a positive way.
"I can't believe that I've spent all these decades on this planet. It's a beautiful thing," she says.
But since we're women, there are just a few more cosmetic gripes.
Me: I don't care what else happens today. I need to do a touch-up.
Anjelica: "Oh, I hear you. I have to touch up gray hair every other day. I'm thinking that a long, gray braid might be the way to go. That idea looks better and better every day!"
Me: The question is would I be Helen Mirren gray or.....
Anjelica: "I know. I'm sure mine would come in salt and pepper color, but one has to make the best of it. In the meantime, I'll just moisturize and use self-tanner for the rest of it."
A PERSONAL JOURNEY
A conversation with the screen legend known for "Prizzi's Honor," "The Grifters" and "The Addams Family" takes many twists and turns and includes some heartbreaking moments.
Huston stars in the new film "50/50" where she plays a mother dealing with her husband's Alzheimer's disease and the fact that her son (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has just been diagnosed with cancer.
The fact that Houston could even do this role is extraordinary.
She took it on after losing her beloved husband, Robert Graham in December of 2008 to a rare disease.
"My husband was probably sick for 12 years, but just didn't know it," she says, talking about it for one of the first times. "It was very mysterious. His kidneys suddenly collapsed and he had a heart attack.
"That's when doctors found out he had a very rare vascular disease," she says in a quiet voice from her suite at the Toronto Film Festival. "We found out in August and he died in December, all the time not knowing which way it would go."
"It was one of the hardest experiences in my life to watch someone I adored deteriorate. The not knowing which way it would go was devastating. The day-to-day uncertainty was horrible."
She did the film as a way to cope with her loss.
"It's a lucky thing if you're an artist. You get to put your heart and life into your work. It's can also be very cathartic."
"My own medical experience was very fresh with me – and it was an honor to bring it to this beautiful movie."
"I guess you can take it to a psychiatrist's office. I chose to rise about my real horrible situation through work."
She has advice to others facing the role of a caretaker.
"Nobody really knows what that caretaker role is like until you go through it. I went through it with both of my parents. Then I had to face the mourning and the loss of both parents and then my husband.
"I think this movie for me is a love letter to the situation.
"As a caretaker, I know the powerless feeling you have in these medical situations. The fact that this movie is a comedy about it was remarkable. Crazy stuff still happens during these medical emergencies. There will be absurd moments when you're in a life and death situation. I think it's always about making brave choices for everyone."
A FEW BEAUTY SECRETS
We agree to change the subject...and find a really fun alternative one.
Ask about her gorgeous skin and Huston says, "It's kind of you to say so. I'm afraid I'm mortal, too. I see lines, so I try to moisturize as much as possible."
"I'm a crazy skin care person now because I still love the sun," she admits. "So, that's a constant push pull thing. I do think people look better with a little sun.
"That's where self-tanning products come in. The goal is for them to give you a healthy glow instead of turning you blood orange," she says.
"I think the biggest beauty secret is laughing and being with the people you love. At this age, I crave that warmth and comfort I find in my heart when I'm with friends and family," she says. "That's what really keeps you young because it keeps you happy."
Huston will soon star in the comedy "The Big Year" opposite Steve Martin, Owen Wilson and Jack Black. It's about professional bird watching.
"All I can tell you is that those three actors were so fantastic with me. And I know there is probably a whole secret world of bird watchers who are about to get their moment."
She's also about to film a must-see new series for NBC called "Smash" produced by none other than Steven Spielberg. The series rips the curtain back and shows all the behind-the-scenes drama of Broadway.
It's being called a "Glee" for grown ups.
" Yes, it's being called the adult 'Glee,' and I also think of it as a great drama," Huston adds. "I play Eileen Rand, a Broadway producer. She's a strong businesswoman who is going through an ugly divorce. She's a mover going through hard times, but she's also tough.
"I just don't want her to be bitchy. But it is good to see a woman who is strong and a grown up making tough decisions with a good heart."
But will she sing? Huston laughs in a deep, warm voice.
"They'll have to get me very drunk to make that happen!" she says.
Remind her: "You're filming in New York. A few martinis….."
"A few martinis and I might be belting on Broadway," she says.
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