Here and Now

The ac­tress dis­cusses the Sarah Jes­sica Parker-led drama “Here and Now” and her film projects ahead.

WWD Digital Daily - - Front Page - BY KRIS­TEN TAUER

Jac­que­line Bisset is hav­ing

the time of her life.

Even Jac­que­line Bisset couldn't pass up an op­por­tu­nity to meet cul­tural icon Sarah Jes­sica Parker.

"I said yes be­cause it was her, and I thought it'd be fun to meet her, hav­ing watched her so much on tele­vi­sion," says Bisset of tak­ing her role in "Here and Now." The up­beat 74-year-old ac­tress was con­clud­ing a full day of press for the new drama, which stars and was pro­duced by Parker. But first, Bisset needs a piece of choco­late. Ri­fling through a glass jar of candy op­tions in a suite at the Es­sex Ho­tel, she ul­ti­mately set­tles on a small Cad­bury.

The adage that you should never meet your heroes didn't ring true in this case. "She's very warm, very friendly, very wel­com­ing — per­fect," Bisset says of her costar.

In the film, Bisset plays Parker's "over­bear­ing" mother; al­though it is a smaller role, Bisset en­joyed play­ing around with the idea of a "bad" mom. "I love play­ing bad moth­ers, ac­tu­ally — or sup­pos­edly she's a bad mother, be­cause she has a life of her own and she's selfish. But it makes for a funny char­ac­ter," she says of her part. "It amused me that she was so obliv­i­ous with what was go­ing on with her daugh­ter. She gets it in the end, that she's not wel­come, so she gets a bit huffy. That makes me laugh, too."

The film, which takes place over the course of a day af­ter its pro­tag­o­nist re­ceives a trou­bling med­i­cal di­ag­no­sis, was di­rected by first-time fea­ture film­maker Fa­bien Con­stant, who Bisset gave rave re­views. "He was very nice, he's a nice guy — seemed to be happy to be do­ing it, and was very smooth," she says. "I was hav­ing fun…even if the per­son is to­tally es­tab­lished, you never know what's go­ing to hap­pen. You could hit them on a good day or on a bad day."

Bisset, who th­ese days seems to take a happy-go-lucky ap­proach to her ca­reer af­ter be­com­ing a screen icon in the Seven­ties, lives in L. A. and was head­ing to Europe the next day to be­gin film­ing her next two film projects. De­spite her decades in the in­dus­try — or per­haps be­cause of — she seeks out roles that of­fer her some­thing new to play with, char­ac­ters that feel more 3-D to her than "cookie cut­ter," and, most im­por­tantly, projects that don't make her yawn. Not sur­pris­ingly, she's at­tracted to in­de­pen­dent film­mak­ing and specif­i­cally projects that ex­plore in­ter­per­sonal dy­nam­ics.

"I never re­ally liked the big ma­chine [of Hol­ly­wood]. I did quite a bit of that when I started act­ing, and I've got­ten in and out of it, but the last time I was on the set of a big [film] I re­ally felt like it was a ma­chine: all th­ese peo­ple and all th­ese car­a­vans and all th­ese cater­ers," she says. "It runs very beau­ti­fully in Amer­ica. But I love the in­ti­macy of film, and the films I like are usu­ally in­de­pen­dent. That's al­ways been my taste, the in­di­vid­ual, one-off stuff," she adds. "Un­for­tu­nately, one gets paid vir­tu­ally noth­ing, but that's what hap­pens."

First up next is the ten­ta­tively ti­tled "Very Valen­tine," which will see her play­ing the part of an Ital­ian grand­mother run­ning a strug­gling hand­made shoe com­pany; the other project, "Loren and Rose," has her play­ing a part a lit­tle closer to home — that of an iconic ac­tress work­ing with a young di­rec­tor. She met that film's di­rec­tor, Rus­sell Brown, through Christo­pher Münch, who di­rected her in "The Sleepy Time Gal" and which Bisset de­scribes as one of her fa­vorite projects. Bisset will also ap­pear in Michael Ca­ton-Jones' "Asher," be­ing re­leased this De­cem­ber.

The ac­tress has a busy few months ahead for an­other rea­son, too; she's a vot­ing mem­ber of the Acad­emy. "I'm so be­hind," she says of watch­ing the fall awards-sea­son re­leases. "I haven't been here; I've been away in Europe. I'm go­ing to have, when I go back Christ­mas­time, moun­tains of DVDs [to watch]," she con­tin­ues, as she de­cides to make her­self a cup of tea and looks through the room's tea of­fer­ings. "The whole thing is such a big job, there are so many. I was ac­tu­ally plan­ning to not work for this pe­riod and just re­ally en­joy the whole screen­ings and stuff in L. A., but this came up and I thought, 'Well, OK.' It's hard to find good work, so when you get it you should go and do it."

PHO­TO­GRAPH BY LEXIE MORE­LAND

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