Carrie Fisher on Leia, Shock Therapy and Tea Partiers
By Nicki Gostin Posted Jun 14th 2010 12:19PM
Carrie Fisher knows that when she dies a photo of Princess Leia will pop up during the Academy Awards tribute reel -- and she's accepted it. The born-famous actress (dad Eddie Fisher left mom Debbie Reynolds for Elizabeth Taylor) has a permanent place in pop culture history thanks to 'Star Wars,' but her personal life has made its share of news. She's currently enjoying massive success with her book and one-woman show, 'Wishful Drinking.' PopEater got a few minutes with the acerbic actress-writer, and she talks candidly about her famous name, the ups and downs of being bipolar, the benefits of electro-shock therapy, and offers a few choice words for members of the Tea Party.
Explain to the kids back home how culturally significant your parents are.
I don't know if they were culturally significant, but they were very popular. My mother and my father were America's sweethearts. They literally received that tag. Even my parents sort of went along with the assumption that they were a good couple, but they probably weren't a very good couple. Anyway, my father was best friends with a man named Mike Todd. Mike Todd was married to Elizabeth Taylor. Mike Todd died in a plane crash, and my father consoled Elizabeth Taylor with his penis.
I can't imagine Elizabeth Taylor as my stepmother.
I was a child. I remember meeting her once. If you describe your childhood to me, I probably couldn't imagine that. It was my normal. Up until I don't know what age, probably recently, I thought everybody had stepmothers living in bungalows at the Beverly Hills Hotel wearing negligees.
Was it weird running into her as an adult?
No, it takes a lot to make something weird for me. She and I became friends much later on.
What kind of mom are you?
I am certainly not ordinary. I think it's been hard for my daughter. I know it's not easy for her to have a mother who is bipolar and had a drug problem. My father had a drug problem. That stuff's tough. It makes you grow up too fast. My daughter has had to be very strong to overcome some of my challenges and she is.
Does it bother you that when you die they'll run a picture of Princess Leia with the bagels on the side of your head?
No, that would be stupid because that's what's going to happen. When I die and they do the Academy reel, they will show Princess Leia.
I hope you get a big round of applause. Those things are popularity contests.
It's really sad, and what about leaving off Farrah Fawcett? I mean it's just weird. I didn't know they made that distinction. She did movies didn't she? Just as many, I'm sure, as some of the other people that nobody even remembered.
Ever get freaked out by 'Star Wars' fans at conventions?
It's hard to freak me out. I've had a lot of extreme experiences in my life. Most of the time the fans are very nice, but there are some of them that feel entitled to any sort of space you have and that stuff can get disconcerting.
Carrie Fisher Snapshots
Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill from 'Star Wars' are shown on screen while musicians perform during 'Star Wars: In Concert' at the Orleans Arena May 29 in Las Vegas. Check Out More Carrie Pics >>
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There are probably worse things. That's a high-class problem. In those days, we didn't know. There was no such thing, so I wasn't giving anything away that was actually valuable.
Any inkling how big it was going to be?
No, not at all. You'd have to be John Edward [TV psychic] or something. No film up until that time had really done that well. They invented the term blockbuster for it, meaning the lines busted the block.
Did you think it was going to be a goofy low-rent film?
No, not low-rent at all. The script was fantastic, so I thought I will like this. It will be this hip little whatever film off to one side. That's what I thought. What it did in my opinion was misbehave.
You've had electro-shock therapy. You've kind of become its poster girl, right?
[Laughs] I guess so. Look, they tried to convince me for years to do it and I said absolutely not because I believed everything they said about it. It has a very bad rap, but I found it very effective. I would not have done it unless I was desperate, which is a shame because I wish I had done it years ago. It would have made a lot of things easier. It's not the first treatment of choice for bipolars. They'll try medication, talk therapy, everything until they go to that.
Do you feel like it's under control now?
[Laughs] Well, sometimes, but the very nature of being manic depressive is not to feel like you're under control.
I know the lows are awful, but aren't the highs incredible?
Do they make up a little bit for the lows?
It's like one hand doesn't remember what the other one's doing. When you're manic, yeah everything's great. I don't know if it quite makes it worthwhile, but it's better than any drug certainly.
You're a script doctor. Were you more creative during your highs?
Yes, but it's not necessarily that you're more creative, that's arguable. But its liquid confidence. You think you can do it and that's a huge part of being able to do anything, believing that you're great at it. Whether it's true or not, that'll give you a lot of energy to close the distance between you and whatever you have to do.
Are you dating anyone?
All I can say is, I'm not whatchamacallit, and I'm too old really to date. I'm not celibate, there you go. I couldn't even think of the word.
Didn't you tell people off for publishing unflattering photos of you last year?
They didn't run unflattering photos. They said I looked like Elton John. Tell them off, no. My point was a) I'm 53, and b) [I look like that] because I take medication. This is the worst thing about being bipolar. It makes you feel better, but then you look like s**t, so whatever you've gained in terms of feeling better you've lost because you look like s**t and in a world where appearance is huge. So I said, I did not realize that I had signed an invisible contract when I wore the metal bikini stating that I would stay looking the exact same way for the rest of my life. I wore the metal bikini 30 years ago, and now I am killing myself to try to get my body back, but between age and medications it's an uphill battle.
Is there anyone you haven't met that you've always wanted to?
I'm surprised you haven't met him.
I know. I love him. Hopefully I'll meet him sometime. I'm just happy he exists.
Do you think Tea Party is just people who are pissed that there is an African American president?
Yup, and the fact that they chose to call themselves "teabaggers," which is slang for a certain act involving b***s. It sort of says a lot. I would say a mouthful. Looks like it's very upsetting for them, but he's brilliant. The thing is, he's half white but that's still not enough -- for them it's all white or f**k off. I think we don't deserve him and certainly teabaggers don't deserve him.
HBO announced earlier this month that they were bringing 'Wishful Drinking' to the small screen. The TV special (no air date yet) will feature bits from the stage show, plus archival footage.
Haven't seen the live show yet? Catch Carrie at the South Orange Performing Arts Center in South Orange, NJ on June 25-26. Buy tickets at SOPACnow.org.
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