The Legendary Kathy Bates Explains How to Live a Remarkable Life | Impact Theory | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled "The Legendary Kathy Bates Explains How to Live a Remarkable Life | Impact Theory".
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I don't know if there's God or not in the way that we think of a bearded God up in heaven. I think there's a part of God in each one of us. And when I say there's a moment of grace, I think it's when we really listen to us, each other, like you and I are doing right now. That's what I love about this show, about you. It's not a show. This is a connection that you make with people and that you've made a conscious decision. That's God. You're creating these moments of grace because you want to illuminate more than someone's career. Hey everybody, welcome to Impact Theory. Today's guest is one of the most talented and celebrated actresses of all time. She's been nominated for a Tony Award and several times for the Golden Globes, including Two Winds. She's been nominated for an Oscar on three separate occasions, including one win. And she's not only won multiple Emmys, but she's been nominated an unbelievable 14 times and only twice for the same show. According to IMDB, across all of the different award shows, she's been nominated a staggering 89 times and won an unimaginable 36 times. That's a win rate of over 40 percent. Assuming there are five people nominated each time, giving them all a 20 percent chance, history has proven that she's more than twice as likely as the next nominee to actually win. That is completely mind-blowing, given the longevity of her career and the fact that she's been in some of the highest grossing and most iconic films and TV shows ever produced, including Misery, Fried Green Tomatoes, Titanic, Primary Colors, Waterboy, American Horror Story, and Countless Others. And to top it all off, she has earned some of her highest praise for some of the most substantive performances of her career in her 70s after a double mastectomy and surviving cancer twice. Simply put, she doesn't just play some of the most badass women on the planet. She's actually one of them in real life. So please help me in welcoming the star of Richard Jewell, the national treasure and national spokesperson for the Lymphatic Education and Research Network, the legendary actress, Kathy Bates. Wow, wow. I will say, people will wonder why I didn't grab you into like a death bear hug to show you my appreciation for you, but you're not feeling 100 percent today, so you're protecting me. Yes, I have bronchitis, but can I just say, I'm so glad I have your introduction on film, because in the event that I do die, which will be someday, I want them to play that at my memorial service. I didn't know any of those facts. My head is getting bigger and bigger. That's hilarious. Looking at the numbers, it really is amazing.
Kathy'S Acting Journey And Personal Experiences
How Kathy broke out as an actress without Hollywood's obsession with youth. (03:09)
And for somebody who, I think a lot of people, when they're younger, they think 40 is sort of the end of the game. And for you to really have gotten started at like 42 with your breakout role in misery is pretty extraordinary. And then to be performing such amazing work, you've already been nominated for a Golden Globe for Richard Jewell in your 70s. I mean, you just keep getting awards and you keep putting in performances that deserve those awards. That's what's so incredible. How do you keep your work ethic at such like a fever pitch? Well it's a life force for me. It keeps me alive. When I started this business, I was kind of in and out of it in my head because it seemed self-aggrandizing to me. And today even more so because, you know, there's so much to do in terms of publicity and things. But I finally realized that what we can do as actors, if we're lucky, is to create empathy. I think that's the most important thing, not only for artists, but for the world, especially now. And to bring people out of their tribes and open their eyes to other worlds, other cultures. And that's what keeps me going. And I feel lucky that I've been able to, and you know, as an actor, I've always said you don't know what your work is going to be because you have to kind of sail your little boat out there and then let it go and you don't know who it's going to touch or where it's going to go. And you have to have faith that maybe, you know, you will touch someone's heart and change their minds about something. And you've got to keep hubris out of it. You just got to focus on the work. And I always felt that early on the work speaks for itself. And after that, you've got to let it go. So that's what keeps me going. I want to show the humanity and characters, even though they may be people that have done terrible things. I want to try and create human beings because I think we're all complex. We all make mistakes. We all struggle. And everybody's got a story. Do you find that playing some of these characters and really having to get in there, I mean, embodying them physically, thinking about their motives and all that, does that give you more self-awareness for yourself in real life? Yes, and it's a double-edged sword, really.
The double-edged sword of method acting. (05:49)
In 1983 on Broadway, I worked a lot in New York. I went there in '70, I think, 1970, Fresh from School at SMU and worked there for many years and I was lucky to do a play called Night Mother that was written by Marcia Norman and it won the Pulitzer Prize that year. And there was a two-hander hour and a half with Anne Patoniak. And it was about suicide. It was about a young woman who at the beginning of the play tells her mom that she's going to commit suicide. And she gets her mom ready. She puts candy in the dishes, it does a manicure for her mom. And her mother, of course, is freaked out and is trying to talk her out of it. And before that, my dad was born in 1900. So I was very late in life. My sisters are nine or 15 years older than I am. So they really had their family. And so I came along, very late in life for them. And I think I struggled with that a little bit over the years. I feel that my mom gave up so much, especially for me to have a great education, nice clothes to appear well and nice manners and taught me all about reading. And so in 1983, my dad was 83 and he had diabetes and he was facing an amputation because of that. And in my naivete, I was like, come on, dad, you've still got a life, a lot of life left in you. It's going to be great. And he turned to me and he said, you know how I feel you're doing that play up there. You know, he had tried to commit suicide and my mom found him and revived him. He never forgave her for that. So I approached that play with a kind of tragic feeling for my dad. And I learned that actually the people that are most at risk are the people who will go to their psychiatrist. They've been seeing somebody for help, perhaps. And the day they walk in and they say, thank you so much. I feel so great. I'm actually going to go get my hair done tomorrow. And I feel like my whole life has changed and then bam, they're gone. So I had to really switch into that gear. It took a while. And then when we were on Broadway, doing those lines every night was like a mantra. So it gets into your brain chemistry. And I started seeing weird things like Anne had, I didn't know she had on shoes, night shoes like my mom wears. Daniel Green, I thought, gosh, I've never seen those before. And she pulls down the attic and it said made him Memphis, Tennessee, which is my home. And I thought, whoa, somebody's gaslighting me. So I really got into a bad space and I had to stop. And it was either Jesse Cates is going to live or Kathy Bates is going to live. You know, and I had to step out of the show for a performance or two. And I realized that when you do something because you love it, it's being an amateur because it comes from the Latin, amo amas amat. Do it because you love it. And if you're a professional, you have to do it regardless of whether you love it or whether you feel like it that night. The trick is to keep both because if you don't love it, then it's empty. And as someone said to me back in those days, you need to head like a bullet in a heart like a baby. Yeah. So that's what kept me going.
Why Winning Another Oscar Has A Lot To Do With Her Mom (09:58)
My parents came to see the play when it was out in Los Angeles here. My dad couldn't hear it and he couldn't see it. And he said, he used to call me cat. Everybody in my family does because I land on my feet. I don't know. I'm so lucky. I'm telling you. And I've seriously landed on my feet with the cancer. But he said, I'm not going to call you cat anymore. I'm going to call you tiger. And so at least I feel that they got to understand that what they did really meant a lot. But I don't think I've thanked my mom adequately. I thanked my dad with the Oscar speech. I didn't thank my mom and I didn't thank my husband. I was with Daniel Day-Lewis. I said, we were just off stage. I said, oh my God, I didn't thank my husband. And he said, well, let's go back out there. And I was like, no, no, I know we can't go out there. We can't go out there. So in a silly way-- it's not silly, I guess. In a way, one reason I want to win another Oscar is so I can thank my mom. So-- Man, one, I completely understand the power and influence that a mother can have. What was it specifically that she gave you that has served you so well that that's like something that you strive for such a monumental achievement partly to acknowledge that?
The Importance Of Reading Growing Up For Kathy's Mother (11:15)
Words. From a very young age, I can remember her reading to me. And she had a wonderful voice. It was a low voice. And to me, she smelled like gingerbread. And she loved reading her sister, my Aunt Lee, worked for a bookstore first in Tennessee and then out in California. And she would get these advanced copies from the publisher. So she would wrap them all up individually so we'd have more things to unwrap at Christmas. And so I remember on Christmas, we would just grab our books, everybody. My father would get a book about pyramids. And I would get a book about horses and stuff like that. And we'd all go after Christmas celebration. We'd all go to our bedrooms. And we would be like reading and reading and reading. So that's what my mom gave to me was that joy. And her bearing. We didn't have a lot of money, but it was very important to her that we knew how to behave. She would keep three books by her bed, the Bible, Emily Post and Shakespeare. So with the Emily Post, you want to make sure we knew the right silverware and how to write thank you notes. In fact, I remember going to the premiere of Misery with my mom. And we were leaving the party. She turned to the guy Ralph Pipes, I never heard of his name, who was our bodyguard. Oh my God, had a bodyguard that might. And she said, "Who do I write a thank you note to?" And so she was always about being proper. If you can only buy one thing by the best you can afford. You know, if you only buy one dress, then buy the best you can afford. And so those are some of the things that I remember about my mom. Or if I did something that she didn't like, she said, "Oh, Kathy, that's common." You know, she said, "You ought to be able to walk with paupers and kings." That's amazing. I love that. Going back to your dad and what he struggled with and the idea, which has to be hard for a daughter to bear, that knowing that your father's upset with your mother for saving him. And then what you've gone through with cancer, you're such a fighter and you've made fighting and fighting in the name of other people, such a huge part of your life. When you could just sit back and be famous and your career is, it really is a legendary career. And yet, you're more active on that side than ever. And you're being a spokesperson. When you think about fighting or not fighting, like how do you feel about that? Is part of how hard you fight a reaction to your dad not? Well, I think there have been moments in my life. I've suffered from depression. And thankfully, in the last few years, I've gotten help for that. And I wish my dad had. I wish that the medications that have helped me had been available for him. Because I think he suffered from depression. And also, I grew up with them when they were old. And so it was different. And when I talk to my sisters, they have a very different dad than I do. He would sit in his chair and say, "I don't understand why in life you gather all this information. You learn all these things and then you die and it's gone." And there was no way to help that point of view. Our audience happens to have a lot of people who have struggled with either depression or anxiety. So for them to hear about that kind of stuff is super, super powerful. And one thing that I find so incredible in your story is, so I find that people react in one of two ways. So if you come from a family where depression runs and you've seen that modeled, a lot of people, they just lean into it. Whether they mean to or not, right? So you are who you are as you say. The world has been mapped for you. You saw your father go through it and so you go through it in the same way. Then there are other people who break that cycle. And you definitely fall into that camp. And one thing I'd love to hear you talk about is I know when you were first diagnosed with breast cancer and you had the surgeries and you had the lymph nodes removed that it sent you into I think multiple years worth of just anger. I had a relationship that was the worst relationship I'd ever allowed myself to stay in for eight years.
Love Relationships (16:00)
And this guy had lymphedema in his arm. He had melanoma, I think. He survived. He had stage four, stage five because of this experimental treatment that he had to go back and get all these different injections. And by then he just had it with the doctors. He would never go. And lymphedema when you remove the lymph nodes, the lymph fluid backs up in the affected limb. And he never went to the doctors. It's progressive, it's incurable. So his arm was like wood. And the lymph fluid would sometimes come out. And it made him very angry and bitter and he was a difficult man to get along with. But he reminded me of my father. And I thought very arrogantly, I can change this. I can make it better and in some unconscious way I can fix my father. And it was just not a good relationship. And then when I, and my mother had had lymphedema, when I didn't know what it was, she'd had a radical. So the first thing I did when I went to my surgeons, like I told them three times, dude, you know, I don't want to get this, please, if the sentinel nodes clear, get out. Because for me, and I told them, I said, I can't believe I was telling my doctors about this relationship, this love relationship that had gone bad. I just didn't want to look down and see his arm for the rest of my life and be reminded of all of that. And so when I went for my first checkup, I was there with my best friend, Billy and my niece. And I said, how many did you take? And he said, I took 19 from this side and I went. I have never gone crazy like that in my life. I just flipped out and people were coming in. I was screaming and crying and I could hear him say, I cured you of cancer. I cured you of cancer and trying to say, you know, you're going to be okay. You're going to be okay. And I just couldn't hear anything. And I had, it was my first checkup. So I had the drains in for some reason. They do, they put something in a drain in, but it's almost like a corner and they put this really strong stitch. And then you have the grenades, they call them that will do the draining and everything. It must have had some kind of a nerve. So I was really in a lot of pain. It was the middle of July and they give you these pillows to hold against you. So you won't move a lot of stuff around. I ran out of a building in LA right across from the Beverly Center. And I didn't know where I was going. And finally I thought, you're going to rip this loose. You're in the middle of recovering. You've got to calm down and get home. And I was so upset and so bitter for such a long time and my show had been canceled before then. And I thought, this is it. I'm done.
Angry for a Long Time (19:08)
It's over. And there was a day when it was all, the drains were out. I was out at this La Nina. I have these two huge plate glass windows. And I literally was sighing and I thought, oh, thank God. And wham, this little finch slammed into the window and fell down onto the bricks dead. And I thought, it's always something. And so I opened the doors and I went out and I picked him up and I held him in my hands and went over and sat down. And he was still warm and the ribbons around his eyes were all screwed up. And one claw was up here and my mom was down here. And he was on his back and I just prayed and sometimes there's moments like there's a moment of hubris, you know? And you think you can heal something and then you think, oh, that's blasphemous. So your mind's going all these different places. And I was holding this little bird and all of a sudden he flipped over in my hand. And I could feel his little claws in my palm and his wings were okay and his beak, he was moving, his eyes were open and okay. And I thought, holy crap. And my niece who as I spoke about her before, she's like Francis of the CZ, but very practical. So she came out and she said, oh, he needs some water. So she went in and got one of those little Dixie cups and tore it down so and put water in it. We put him on like a, in a little planter there. So no cats or pucks would get him. She told me she said, now leave him alone because she knows me. And after a while I went back out, of course I wanted to see and he flew away. And I called Linda and I said, you'll never guess. You'll never guess he flew away. You flew away. And she said, are you getting the message? And I said, and I suddenly thought, I can heal like Jesus. And I didn't say that to her.
Second Chance of Life (21:09)
I just thought, oh my God. And she said, no, no, what is the message? And she said, you thought you were dead, but now you have a second chance of life. And that was the thing that turned me around. And then went to the doctor and told her my sad story about my love and relationship gone bad, still very angry at times. And she's Czechoslovakian and she's wonderful healer. This woman, she said, shawling that is all in the past. I have a patient, a woman who is 105. And if you want to know anything about the stock market, you ask Margaret. And she said, that was a different life. And now you're going to begin your new life. Let's have a glass of chumpea. So all of that really, I feel like there are these moments where, and I'm sure all of us have these moments of grace. Where somebody comes along at just the right moment and helps you, you know, write yourself and see a light that's at the end of the tunnel that grows brighter that you can come out into. And so that's been my spiritual journey. And then to be able to take that with the swollen arms, that wasn't able to wear, I still have problems wearing women's clothes and, but to be able to have the opportunity then to meet Bill Rapice, who's our CEO. And when he told me the figures, which I think you and I talked about, that doctors spend 15 minutes and four years of medical school, a little emphatic system.
Lobbying in Congress (22:41)
And 10 million Americans suffer from this. And the majority are cancer survivors. So we lobby every year in Congress and we all go to the Lincoln Memorial and we sit and talk afterwards. We have our walk around the reflecting pond and some people can barely walk because their legs are swollen and in their courage and the fact that they live day by day by day, it's just figuring, it's psychologically damaging, it's progressive, it's incurable, doctors don't know what they're doing. So thank you, dude, for giving me an opportunity to talk about this because we're determined to, you know, I spoke in front of the subcommittee appropriations last spring. Rosa Delario is a fabulous woman from Connecticut representative. And I got to speak at the American Society of Breast Surgeons, but it's hard to get them to change their ways. And I think, I don't know, but I'm guessing that they don't want to think that something they've done can create something that someone else has to live with for the rest of their lives. And somehow we've got to get the ego, the hubris out of it, you know, I have to go back to my father too. I remember he was facing a second amputation, which meant, and this was later in life, of course.
Will Grace (24:10)
And I remember driving him up to the hospital and for this operation to try to open up his veins and get blood to his foot. And then we went to see him the day afterwards on that Sunday and my mom was with me and they pulled the sheet back from his foot and it looked normal. And my mother turned to me and she said, you did it. And for a second, I was really excited. And then I thought it was like Greek theater. It was like the Greek. And I thought, oh no. I've let that pride wash through me. And it's, I don't know why. I guess it's crazy to think like that. And then the next day he unfortunately passed away. But he said, I guess the thing that's hearing what I'm saying to you is that I want to fix things and you can't always fix things and you don't always have the right to fix things. Sometimes those moments of grace just have to come. You can't will them. You can't push them on somebody else. And I'm learning now, I think, to try to go with the flow, to enjoy things, not to worry so much. And just, I know it's cliche to say, but to feel grateful, I feel like as we say the governor called, you know, there's been a stay of execution. And now I've got these extra years to live and I want to enjoy every day of it. I'm so lucky. I think we talked about how I've lost 65 pounds and I was diabetic for a while.
Will People Make a Moment (25:53)
And I thought, you know, my father died of it. His mother died of it. My sister is dealing with it. And I thought, man, I've just got to do something. I don't want to have that be my future. How'd you pull that off? Well, by the grace of God, but also there is a thing that happens when you eat, where your brain communicates with your stomach. You probably know about all this. And maybe 10, 15 minutes into your meal, you experience this involuntary sigh like that. And if you take your time and you pay attention to it, it means push your plate away. That's the hard part. Push and don't hold on to it. You know, you got to just push it away out of arms reach. And I heard about this and I tried it and it really works. After like five minutes, maybe 10 at the most, you don't want anything on that plate. And that's what did it for me. I mean, I cut out all the sodas, the Coca-Cola. My mother said back in the day, it really had cocaine in it. So they used to say, let's go get us a dope. So Coca-Cola and bourbon, that's mother's milk to me, not at the same time. But anyway, tell me, what do you want to talk about? I'm just gagging it. No, this is amazing. And so in your stories, I hear some very interesting things. So you're saying how you learn this thing. There's this connection between your stomach and the brain and you get this exhale and look for it, time it, push the plate away. But I'm guessing that you've said that to countless people who are in your position struggling and they don't do it.
Listen to Us (27:36)
So we don't, this isn't a knowledge issue. You've tapped into something either a desire to live or to help others. Even the moment with the bird, so many people could live that exact same moment. The bird flies away and they were like, oh, I guess I was wrong. And it was just dazed and cool off the way. Yeah, sure, that's what it was. And they don't make it a moment, right? You made it a moment. You've decided to be empowered by these things and to lose the weight and to keep it off for the first time in 72 years. It's like, you've done all of this.
The Tipping Point (28:12)
And so I love that you, you're, I don't believe in God, but I get what you mean, you say, by the grace of God. And I think the humility of that is very wise. But I think there's also a powerful lesson in when people that I know and love, who look like you in ways you can't imagine, just see themselves almost exactly the same age as you, but they see themselves as their life is winding down. And to see you making more of your life now, to be taking on the medius roles of your career and killing it. And also speaking up and fighting for this is fucking incredible. And so like that to me is so inspiring. And I just wonder if you have words around what was finally the tipping point that gave you the courage to continue to step into that or the, the want of something that you just have to be around long enough to pull off. Like, what is that? Well, I don't know if there's God or not in the way that we think of a bearded God up in heaven. I think there's a part of God in each one of us. And when I say there's a moment of grace, I think it's when we really listen to us, each other, like you and I are doing right now. That's what I love about this show about you.
Emotional Connection And Positive Thinking
Making a Connection (29:28)
It's not a show. This is a connection that you make with people and that you've made a conscious decision. That's God. You're creating these moments of grace because you want to illuminate more than someone's career. And a huge moment of grace came for me 12 years ago when I was in Paris making a film. And I don't know if you met my friend Philippe Bienaire. And he was my driver and assistant and everything. And we became very close friends. And it's very rare, I think, late in life to let someone in your life in a very intimate way and trust them. And we've both been each other's angels. And that friendship, if you go back and you look, I think when I was doing that first film was Sherry and I went back and did The Woody Allen. And I was at my lowest point. I was like 240 pounds.
Letting Someone In (30:30)
There's an online, you can find a brief video of me and Philippe's in the background. I look like an old woman. My whole attitude is not just being heavy. It's just my hair. I didn't care anymore. And I was ending that bad relationship where I had really given up and it was devastating. I still get PTSD. I mean, it's a two way street. I participated. But the friendship with Philippe, he's opened my eyes for the world. And I feel so grateful to have that in my life. That was all part of the transformation for me. Give me some of the secret sauce. So many people get hurt. They go through a bad relationship. A part of them closes down and it never opens up again.
Being Open (31:14)
And to see you be saying, I have PTSD over this past relationship. I fully accept my responsibility in it. But it was that fucking hard. And to come out and still open yourself. I've always said the most beautiful thing about love is knowing this person might kick the shit out of me. And then going back again with the same innocence to somebody new and to give them a from the ground up fresh start and not carry that baggage in. I don't know that many people can do that. What was it? Is there things you guys discovered together that he said to you, how did it help you get to that place where you could be open again? Well he didn't proselytize. He just treated me differently. And in fact, the relationship that was the bad one and then starting to be friends with Philippe, I was actually on the road in my RV and I was sitting outside talking to Philippe. He was in France and my friend came to me, the guy that I was in this relationship with. And I guess he overheard me talking to Philippe.
Looking back on old photos to bring positivity (32:19)
He said, you don't talk to me like that. And I thought, well, you don't talk to me like he's talking to me with respect and kindness and honesty. I'll let me tell you, the French are really fucking blunt. Totally. I mean, he's like sometimes I'm like, just back off. But it's that. It's also Linda in my life. The support. My moods go up and down like crazy or cycle and they know when I've just got to go to ground. I've had to train myself, I think, along with these wonderful supportive relationships. And yes, it's been hard. But I've got to get through it. I've got to take a snapshot of the really great moments and carry those with me through the really bad ones. And the trick is taking your blinders off and remembering to look at those photos. And like I said, sometimes I just put the music on and I look back at all the photos and how great all of this was. And it changes the brain. And it changes the wiring. And I try to breathe. Breathing changes the wiring. But it's conscious. You have to just slow down. You have to cut out all the noise. You have to respect yourself. You know, I would be sitting on the sofa and say, oh my God, I really want to go make popcorn or I really want to have this and that. And then I really have to just say to myself, and I hate the word willpower. It's pejorative and it's just it people have been hitting over the head. Oh, well, you didn't have enough willpower. You just couldn't do it. My word is determination because it's your choice. It's my choice. Do I want to go upstairs and fit in these fabulous arm money trousers or do I want to have that dessert? You got to take care of yourself. I mean, there's no way to tell people and wish I wish we could give them that message. I wish I had learned it 40 years ago. You know, I was on the Dr. Phil Show and they had all this retrospective. I was like, oh, please don't show those photos of this woman, you know, and these tent dresses and stuff. I just, I wish I hadn't done that. There's so many things I wish I hadn't done and you can't go back.
You don't have to be perfect to be remarkable (34:58)
You can't change it. You can't fix it, you know. Can I give you an outsider's point of view that I hope changes the way you see a retrospective? Cathy, you've given us all a gift and being able to watch you go up, go down and always push forward and really, I mean, looking back, doing the research, seeing the different interviews, seeing your sizes change. Your haircut, you clearly caring, you not caring and yet here you are like still fucking killing it in your chosen craft, playing at the absolute highest level. There is no one at any age that is playing the game better than you and the, oh God, you have a quote. You said someone once told you that you don't have to be perfect to be memorable, interesting, extraordinary, remarkable. So Melissa, telling her kids, Melissa McCarthy, say that quote. I thought it was so great. I think she said you don't have to be perfect to be remarkable. That was it. You don't have to be perfect to be remarkable. That's what she was telling her. Oh, damn. Cathy Bates, you don't have to be perfect to be remarkable and home girl. You are fucking remarkable. Well, so I'm telling you part like for us, the rest of the world, like you have chosen to live in public. That's not an easy route to take. You've done it so fucking well and to be able to look at you and be blown away to the point where sometimes I think my brains will leak out of my ears from watching you perform because it is so fucking good and to be like, hey, and yet through all of this, she's had the same ups and downs as anybody else. It is so amazing. So that is, I want you to see that retrospective the way other people see it because it's breathtaking. Thank you. Tom, I just have a, it's great. I'm so glad and I'm going to play this over, I'm sure, especially that intro. But I always have this thing in my mind about hubris. It's great to receive the accolade, but I remember working with this amazing South African playwright, Kathleen Ethel Hugard, and he was so instrumental in changing things in his country and contributing to fighting apartheid. I did just play the road to Mecca. What an amazing play. Can I just say people should read that play about an artist at the end of her life and how she was maligned. And we were walking out and he suddenly got in this huge article in Time magazine. So we're walking out and I see this and he says, here, take it out of my way. He said, I'm about a board and two trestles. He says, that's what I do. And you just don't want that to begin to be the road that then you start going down. That kind of accolade can be like somebody's putting, what is it? Alan Watts said, you don't want to go up the signpost. You want to go down the road. That's really good. You know, and I mean, there's so many wonderful things. I think Emerson has something somebody sent me about, it's not about going down the path. It's about going where there's no path and leaving a trail for other people. And I think that was Ralph Waldo Emerson. I keep quotes like that. That's the other thing. I love words and I keep quotes like that because I want to, they're inspiring to me. My friend Jennifer loves, loves, loves books and she restores old books. And so that's the kind of relationship we have.
Catherine's version of humility (and hubris) (38:32)
We talk about books and oh my God, look at this quote and we're sending it the way people put into words what I can't put into words when you're asking me about how do you help somebody else? You know, how do you give what you want to somebody else? And like I said, you just, you have to wait for the bird to come. Very fair. So hubris clearly is something that you avoid. Talk to me about humility. I've heard you talk about it quite eloquently. And then I'd love to hear more about your notion of keeping the beginners mind. I remember years ago working with Shelly Duvall and it was shortly after misery and we were doing one of her fairy tales. And I was asking her about the character. She said, well, I don't have to direct you. You wanted an Academy Award. And I said, yeah, but for that part, you know, this you start from scratch. And yes, you've learned how to play the piano. You're not just doing your five finger exercises. You've gotten, you know, you've gotten your craft under your belt, but it's still a new piece of music. And the people that I really admire like Dustin Hoffman, Sam Rockwell, he's done a lot of studying his script.
Professional Experiences And Interactions
A lottery game in the Catskills turns into a lifelong gift of humility (39:46)
He was on the plane coming back and he's got two different scripts. So that kind of commitment and that kind of respect. I remember getting to meet so Caldwell, fantastic actress and a close friend of Jessica Tandis. We were at a party and I was literally sitting at her knee, a phenomenal stage actress, phenomenal. And there was a young writer sitting next to him and he was going on and on about him. She said, I'm a first chair violinist. You wrote the music. So I never forgot that, that kind of respect. And okay, I don't know if you're going to use this. Do we have time? Please. Okay, right. All right. I was a singing waitress in the Catskills. As every good story starts. Okay. So I'll let that go by. Although we, there was a strip club nearby. It was called Fragile Fills and we would go there sometimes at night. I remember some girl coming and said, oh, are you here to strip? And I said, no, I'm here to drink. You know, it's like, thanks anyway for the compliment. You know, so wait a minute, where was I? I was singing waitress in the Catskills. Shit. I, oh, okay. So Bob Tartaglia was our piano player. What a character. So he tells us this story, true story apparently according to Bob about this famous conductor who came over from Europe to conduct in the Philharmonic in Los Angeles. And this guy talk about hubris. This guy was so full of himself. He treated everybody in the orchestra like shit, disrespectful, yelling at people. And so there came a special concert for the patrons one afternoon or evening. I don't know. And the orchestra is out there on stage and this asshole comes out to tumultuous applause. They're all, you know, he's all puffed up and he turns around and he gives the downbeat to the orchestra and nothing happens. And that was the response in the audience. Like, oh, and he just, he was livid and he gave the downbeat again and nothing happened. And finally, the first chair of violinist stood up and said, that's just to show you that no fucking music comes out of that baton of yours. Right? We're all in the orchestra, baby. That's why I always thank the crew. I'd be dancing around in an empty park in lot of my underwear, just spouting lines without everybody, even marketing people, PR people, everybody, everybody makes the movie and gets it out so that people can see what you really care about. What you want to say, and it's such an honor to be able to have that particular symphony, especially this one that we've been working on with Richard Jill because you want to change something that's been a travesty in someone's life.
Mama Richard Jewell, a warriors heart and a soldiers strength (42:47)
And to have the honor at my age to play a real woman and after 23 years, see her swanning up and down that red carpet with popcorn at last that her son's name is being played. A little bit of backstory on what the Richard Jill story is. So in 1996, there was the bombing at the Olympics. Richard Jewell was even from the age of nine, super vigilant and super caring about people. And he would run around the church, make sure everybody had their programs. This was at nine years old. He wanted to be a policeman in the worst way. He was his mother's only child, she'd had miscarriages, so they were especially close. His real dad dropped out of the picture early. His stepdad was there for a few years. He dropped out. So Richard's dreams were always on kind of a slippery slope. And I'll tell you this, a couple of stories about him. So he had a car which he kept wrecking and that's why he ended his days at the Habersham County Sheriff's Department. But they called it the death mobile because he would have everything he needed. He'd have a 130 pound battering ram on the back seat of the car. Every kind of thing that you needed for safety. And in his glove compartment, he had beanie babies for the kids that he'd find in accidents so that he could give those to him to comfort them. The other story about Richard that I want to tell you is that one night they had to go and try and get a drug dealer out of his house and in the front yard were these vicious dogs and they couldn't get in. So they gave him, went home. So six months later, they went back nighttime and Richard said, "Let me go in first." And they were like, "Okay, good luck, dude." And so he went in and they didn't hear anything. After a few minutes, they went in and there was Richard middle of the night with these vicious dogs licking his hands and he was feeding them hot dogs. And one of his colleagues said, "Gosh, was that the secret? Should we just like, have fed them or something?" And Richard in a very humble way said, "You know, I've just been stopping by every couple of weeks or so and getting to know him." And it's that vigilance that then enabled him at the Olympics. He was security guard at the sound and light tower and this particular night, he had the runs and he didn't feel like being there but he made himself go and then he finally had to run up and use the restroom. And when he came back, there were these benches around the tower that he put so that the cops could come and rest their feet and have coaks and water and even for pregnant women and stuff. And he came back and he noticed this Alice pack, which is a big military pack underneath it. He noticed everything and in kind of a weird way because, and he was always made fun of it. He was like, "Oh, okay, Richard, right." And he had seen some teenagers there messing around with beer cans and stuff and he chased them off. But he sees this Alice pack and he says to one of the GBI that are there. He said, "I don't like the way this looks." They were like, "Richard." And this Paul Walter Houser plays Richard and he ad-libbed this line and he said, "I'd rather be crazy than wrong." So in the park, Richard finally gets the bomb guys to come over and take a look at it. And it's the biggest fucking, it's three pipe bombs in there loaded with shrapnel. So they started getting people back, hundreds of people back, back, back, back, back. And time was running out. And I think at like 120, the bomb goes off. And one woman, unfortunately, Alice Hawthorne was killed. She was there with her daughter, Fallon, who was also injured. A hundred people were injured horribly.
Richard Jewell (47:08)
The bomb was so powerful that it went 500 yards. They found shrapnel on the on-ramp of the I-75. And what was interesting, a moment of grace, these kids who had been there almost took the Alice pack and when he had chased them off earlier, they hit it by mistake. So the blast, instead of going out, went up. So it didn't damage people in the way that this guy, who they six years later, was Eric Rudolph. So then they learned that Richard was the one that spotted the bag and he was a huge hero and everybody was talking. And he had to see an end. Katie Kirk, all these people, you're a hero, you saved all these people's lives. He was this simple guy and he was like, it's mom, mom, what's happening. And then three days later, a reporter from the Atlanta Journal Constitution got wind through a tip that they were looking at him as the suspect. So she wanted to break the story because it was Atlanta, it was their Olympics. And so they said, okay, we're going to break it. From then on, 88 days, he was the suspect. The press were all saying horrible things about him in the press and they just didn't know what to do. And so the film is about that. Paul plays Richard, I play his mom, Bobby, who's still alive. And I got to meet with her. She made me a pound cake. What was it like working with Clint Eastwood? That had to be pretty amazing.
Terrified of Clint Eastwood (48:51)
I was terrified, absolutely terrified. The first night I had a huge scene, which that God is not in the movie because it impedes the progress. But also I was just talking about, you said, I'm still killing it. Okay, let me disabuse you of that. Because I had a crisis that night, I really did. It was one of the most difficult scenes and it was the first up scene I had to do. In this business, it's always about location, right? If they've got to do the location at that time, you've got to do the scene regardless of where it is. I didn't know this woman yet. I didn't walk around in her moccasins yet, as my mother would say. And I didn't know this woman. I didn't feel like I had her in me and I had to do this scene. And I had a breakdown. I really did. And every time I look over it's like Clint's name got bigger and bigger on his director's chair. And for some reason, Hillary Swank was in my head, bao, bao, bao, knocking people out on the carpet. And I really thought, girl, you've lost it. You don't got it anymore. You can't play at this level anymore. You're done.
Getting back on the horse (50:08)
And I was really, really, it took me, thank God I came back to LA and I was able to work on something else. And I kind of got my breath again and went back and I thought, okay, you know, it's time for the next round. You know, I got to get in there like Hillary. And thank God I was able to, and he was so great that night. He was so great. And I was in the car and his hands were on the side of the window. I can, these beautiful old hands. These 89 soft voice talking to me, you know, talking it through. And I just, at one point, I was just in tears. I said, I don't want to fail you. I don't want to fail you. I want this to be great. I want it to be, you know, and I told him, I said, it's been so long since I've done this, you know, I've done all of television and I was doing all the stuff for lymphedema. And I said, I just feel like I've been away. I've been out of the saddle too long. You know, and I just thought, oh my God, I can't play with the big boys anymore. So, but it's my passion. It is for all of us actors, especially this crew, Sam and John and Olivia. And, you know, all of them, Nico, who plays Duchess, who's amazing and Ian. And it's, it's, it's, and it's just been an amazing group to be a part of. I've learned so much from them. For me, watching the younger ones come up, the really good ones who are disciplined, who really care and learning how they work and the craft is getting more and more subtle. So the craft itself really excites me. And when it's done well, I jump off the sofa, you know, just really when it all comes together, it just makes me, it just thrills me. And if there comes a day when I can't do it anymore, at least I'll be able to watch them do it, you know. Well, I will say that, that day is definitely nowhere near.
The truth in the media (52:16)
You've already been nominated for a Golden Globe for your performance in Richard Jule. So that certainly says a lot. Oh Lord. I think there are going to be a lot of different opinions about it. I want people to see it. It's relevant. The FBI got it wrong. The media got it wrong. In this case, and it's not spin here that I'm about to say, it's true. We need the truth in the media now more than ever. It's like Washington Post, Democracy, Dies and Darkness. We need truth in government. And I hope people don't think we're painting this with too broad a brush. It's their story, Richard and Bobby and what they went through at the hands of people who, look, the FBI had Waco, they had Ruby Ridge, they had the Federal Building, they had World Raid World Trade Center, the first truck bombing, and they had a lot of pressure. The newspapers had a lot of pressure. They were starting to go out of business. CNN was starting to rise up. Everything that we have now is just beginning. And it's got more and more and more and more rapid around the world. And so now is a good time for this cautionary tale, for people to pay attention and say, you know, it's what his big daddy says in "Cat on the Hot" to "Ten Roof" "Mendacity, Liars and Lying." And I think it's important to pay attention to that. There's a lot of different angles to this story, and I hope people will see it make up their own minds. I have no doubt they will.
Impact on the world (53:56)
I have one final question for you. What is the impact that you want to have on the world? You're trapping me. I just, I don't know. I just, people, I don't have, I can't say that. I don't know.
I mean, I hope I've done some good. I hope I've entertained some people. I hope I've, but you know, I'm not in control of that. I know it's your show, and I'm glad you invited me because you think I do have some kind of impact, but I think that's going up the signpost and not down the road. All right, fair enough. Kathy, thank you so much for coming on the show. I loved it. It was absolutely extraordinary in what you've done with your career, what you're doing for lymphedema, all of it is just breathtaking. It's somebody that's truly committed to what they believe in, and they're going after it. They're extraordinary at your craft. And the fact that you put so much time and attention into that so that we can connect with something and empathize with somebody that we might not otherwise be able to is extraordinary. So thank you for all of that. Back at you, bro. Well, thank you. Guys, if you haven't already watched every single movie and TV show that she's ever done, I highly encourage that you do it. And then once you finish that, be sure to come back here and subscribe. And until next time, my friends, be legendary. Take care. If you always do good work from your standards, whether you're in a project that fails or succeeds, you can live with that. But if you're doing things on other people's criteria standards and you fail, you feel terrible.