May 22, 2008

Indiana Jones - Welcome Back Karen Allen

If you've been watching the Indy news over the last week the real news about the Steven Spielberg/ George Lucas re-teaming is the return of Karen Allen in the role of Marion Ravenwood, Indy's first and best foil from Raider's of the Lost Ark which was released in 1981.

She had been off the radar screen for years and now this week she's been everywhere and all are asking -- where have you been? I don't know why it surprises people that a woman who is 56 has had to do other things in life to make a living. How many females in her cohort actually make a living acting? Not too many. She's been where most women actresses of her generation are -- not working in Hollywood.

I've seen the film and at the screening I attended a big cheer erupted when Allen appeared on screen for the first time. The film is fun and a throw back to films before everything in the summer became about special effects. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of effects in this film, but there is also a story, which I appreciate. Marion is no typical female summer movie sidekick. Firstly, she's older, she's a mom, and she's not a pushover. Marion's in a lot of the action as a participant not as someone who needs to be rescued.

I also give Spielberg prop for making Cate Blanchett the villain. It is awesome seeing a girl being so bad. She kind of reminded my of Cruella de Ville.

So really, where has Karen Allen been? As the LA Times said recently: "What is the trajectory of a culture that has gone from Karen Allen to Jessica Alba?"

"I'm from a generation of fantastic actresses. It's a big pool of really wonderful actresses, and so many of them we never even get to see on the screen anymore."

She ticked off several -- Jessica Lange, Debra Winger, Julie Hagerty.

"I was thinking about Julie Hagerty the other day," she said. "Remember her in 'Lost in America'? . . . It's been so fantastic to see Julie Christie come back and be in films again, because I always loved her, and she disappeared for a long time. Glenda Jackson just completely walked away and became an MP," she said, referring to the actress-turned- British Parliamentarian.
"I just felt like I had to create a life for myself where I was more independent," she said. "Where what I was doing in my life was so interesting I could literally put my whole acting life on the back burner because I was so fascinated by what was right in front of me. And that was the only thing that felt healthy to me. Short of that, I felt like somebody who was waiting for the phone to ring."
The good news is that Karen's back with her first manager, Joan Hyler, so maybe we'll see her in more roles. Please.

Remember Karen Allen? Steven Spielberg Did LA Times
Q&A with Karen Allen EW