"That is one nutty hospital." ~Bill Murray as Jeff, Michael Dorsey's best friend & roommate, watching Michael as "Dorothy" improvise on live TV in TOOTSIE
Jessica Lange definitely got the last laugh.
Julie throws her drink in his face.
Jessica Lange did that in real-life to an actor who was making a not-so-innocent pass at her. She threw a drink in the face of actor/director/choreographer Bob Fosse. Fosse directed Lange in 1979's All That Jazz. I got that item out of her during my interview that aired on national TV. Here's another tidbit for you that wasn't in the interview. You know who seriously wanted the role that Lange got in Tootsie? Suzanne Somers. She was fresh off years of Three's Company and felt that playing Julie in Sydney Pollack's comedy would distance her from that sitcom image.
When Tootsie was made, daytime dramas (soap operas) were really hot at the time. Hot the way reality shows are now. I worked for WISN and, being an ABC affiliate, the station benefitted greatly from airing that daytime ratings champion, General Hospital. Also, sexual attitudes, roles and images were changing. You saw this social evolution reflected in other films of that year -- Victor/Victoria with Julie Andrews, The World According to Garp with John Lithgow's character and Michael Ontkean as the suburban husband coming out of the closet in Making Love. Pollack's comedy had its finger on the pulse of the moment. Another Tootsie cast member would go on to accept a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award. Geena Davis has a bit part as one of the soap opera regulars.
If you're a 20 or early 30s-something actress and seeking a good monologue to do in class or maybe auditions, here's a suggestion: Julie and "Dorothy" are having girl talk as they share a room at her dad's country house for the weekend. Julie talks about her late mother and about flowers on the wallpaper she picked out when she was a little girl. It's about disappointments in life -- and about trying to have hope even though it often seems as though none of your innermost dreams will ever come true.
It's a very poignant, revealing monologue. Beautifully written and delivered.
There's a touch of the Marilyn Monroe in Jessica Lange's Blue Sky turn. The Monroe at the stage when she gave the then-unappreciated, solid dramatic performance in The Misfits. During her lifetime, Marilyn Monroe was a superstar but Hollywood and critics never really gave her respect for her acting skills. She was one of the screen's best comic actresses. Brilliant timing. She mostly made headlines for being a sex symbol. The raves for Billy Wilder's Some Like It Hot went to the men -- director Billy Wilder, actors Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis. Lemmon got a Best Actor Oscar nomination for it. Watch Some Like It Hot and try to imagine it without Marilyn Monroe as Sugar Kane.
I wonder if any of those male movie critics who considered Jessica Lange a no-talent in their reviews of 1976's King Kong ever wrote or said "I was wrong" after she won her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress of 1982? Six Oscar nominations and two Oscar wins to her credit. Today she's the Emmy-winning star of TV's anthology series, American Horror Story. The new season of that weekly fright night will have a coven theme. Fellow Oscar-winner and longtime friend Kathy Bates will play an absolute witch of a character. Jessica Lange will be a "glamour cat" in Season 3. Said Lange at a Paley Center media event last night saluting the show, "I don't know what a 'glamour cat' is, but I'm excited."
The fashion model is now a show biz role model for women and men. Enjoy Tootsie.
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