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tv   Piers Morgan Tonight  CNN  November 22, 2011 12:00am-1:00am EST

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thanks so much for watching, please let us know your feedback biggest stories in the world, and she walked away from one of the top jobs in television news. meredith vieira has always done it her way. now she gets personal. a life with husband richard cohen, the challenge of his multiple sclerosis and her struggle to balance career and family. plus michelle williams. many say she was born to play marilyn monroe. you must feel damn sexy when you're playing marilyn monroe? >> honestly? no. >> what does michelle think marilyn's life was really like? >> she created this kind of prison she couldn't get out of. >> michelle williams on being
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marilyn. this is "piers morgan tonight." meredith vieira has pretty much done it all. "today," "who wants to be a millionaire," and 30 rock. meredith and her husband richard cohen are featured in the december issue of "aarp magazine." and they're here now. >> what a stunning picture that was. >> it was a stunning picture. you scrubbed up surprisingly well, meredith. >> occasionally. how are you, piers? >> well, let's just say i was well. i was looking forward to this enormously. very excited. i'm going to pay homage to one of my favorite ladies on television. >> as well you should. >> well, you've always been this epitome of kindness and humanity and decency. >> oh, please. >> then i was shown a video -- >> yes. >> of something done on this new
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fangled technology thing called tout. and you recorded this literally minutes ago. i have to say, i'm disappointed in you. i'm going to show the viewers why. let's watch this. >> i'm personally offended that a brit is at the helm of an american show. i think it's wrong, inappropriate. he's got a weird accident. i don't understand a word he says, to be honest with you. i don't understand what issue you have with that. >> the whole tone of your voice dropped a few octaves to this kind of mean, hard, ruthless meredith vieira that i knew existed but i was surprised that you'd be prepared to show in public. >> boy, you are reading into that. no, that was just pure honesty. really. and why are you there when we're here, by the way? what is that about? >> well, precisely for the reasons that video has just shown me is that i should -- the further i am away from meredith vieira, the better for my career. >> that's probably true.
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i can't hold down the job. >> the thing is meredith, i saw you first hand in london. i remember this very, very, very clearly. because it's the "britain's got talent" auditions. >> susan boyle. >> she'd become this phenomenon. and you had flown in to get the big interview. and i was expecting as a judge on the show who had discovered susan that i would get the interview, but no, no. meredith vieira and her ruthless rottweiler team blew me away, snagged the interview, scooped me in my own backyard on my own show with my own auditionee. >> we would have done it with a chihuahua, trust me. >> but i realized then, i mean this in all sincerity, actually, that you were at heart i saw a brilliant journalist and that's how i suspect you would like to be seen. >> yeah, i would. and you helped us get that
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interview, so you're the reason in large part that she trusted us to interview her. >> more fool me. >> exactly. but back then, i don't think she trusted the media much at all because she was very shy, quiet woman and the fact that we had the chance to sit down with her was in large part due to you so -- i still got it before you. >> you did. you scooped me. and it still hurts, by the way. but tell me how life has been for you. it must be odd to be out of the news game albeit temporarily, i suspect, after so long being in the forefront of all manner of news coverage. what's it been like for you? >> it's really weird. when i left the "today" show it was my decision. and it was the right one and i have no regrets about it. but when you're on something, which i've been on for five years, which is nothing compared to how long matt's been on here. five years to me is a long time. and when you get off, it messes with your identity even when you know objectively that the job
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does not define you, i think because it's television and you're doing it every day and you're out there and thousands are watching and to suddenly not be in that box is a weird thing. i had trouble adjusting. i couldn't watch the show in the beginning at all because it would make me sort of sad. it's only recently that i started watching it again. actually, i was on today, doing an interview on charla nash who was mauled by the chimp and is six months out from having a face transplant and doing great. it was nice to go back home again, but it's an odd feeling. >> i loved seeing you back there this morning. richard, i don't want to cause any problem here, but i used to thoroughly enjoy waking up to your wife in the morning and i miss it. >> well, you didn't wake up at 2:30 in the morning to a very jarring alarm clock. they were five long years. but they were great years.
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look, it was a terrific show. they were great people. they are great people. >> they are great people, yeah. >> and it was a joy. it just wasn't a joy at 2:30. >> and i think for us that was one of the deciding factor. i mean, the lifestyle was extremely difficult. >> here's the weird thing. why did you have to get up at 2:30 in the morning. >> 5:00. i had to be there at 5:00 and i live outside of the city. i'm a neurotic. i would get up and immediately check my blackberry because inevitably the stories that you thought you would be doing would change overnight. i don't want to come into work ill prepared. it was better for me to spend that hour to and hour and a half at home getting up to speed on a story i didn't know i had than to walk in at 5:00 and be thrown for a loop essentially. then i had my responsibilities. we had a dog and two cats. i'd feed them every morning. then i had to make my mark, sort of leave my mark in the kitchen
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that mom had been here, whatever that was. so there was a lot of other stuff going on. >> i have to say that meredith did not get up in a way that resembled a commercial for a sleeping pill. she didn't stretch and say, oh, what a great day this is. it took a crane to get her out of bed. it really. it took high explosives. >> another shot of whiskey. it was ugly. >> it was tough. >> richard, i'd always heard that meredith was explosive in bed. >> oh, geez. >> well, i'm not going to hear that. >> don't believe what you hear through walls really. >> when you watch the news and you see things now which really annoy you -- because even before you had to keep a kind of self-control, but now do you find yourself ranting about stuff?
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for example, today when you heard this supercommittee, one of the most ill advised titled committees i could imagine had once again blown it and there was no deal to be done on the debt, for example, when you hear that, do you now vent your spleen? do you feel free? do you feel liberated to have an opinion? >> i have to be careful because i am part of "rock center" as well. i start that in january. i'm still wearing the hat of journalist. but i found that story sickening as a citizen that they couldn't figure this thing out. ridiculous. it does make me crazy. i don't go screaming. i don't go to 30 rock and start yelling out windows. i guess, i could, but that could be pathetic. >> richard, you've always been mired in politics and news throughout your life in different guises. how do you feel about what's going on with your country, with america, with washington, with the process. because to me as a brit coming into this, i'm incredulous that
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so much taxpayer money can be wasted on going absolutely nowhere. it seems the whole year has been wasted on petty political point scoring. >> that's absolutely true. you really could not write this as fix. nobody would believe it. i have to say that the failure of political institutions to deal with simpson/bowles which i think was a fair commission, did a pretty good job, should have been embraced by the president and both parties, was abandoned by everybody because they didn't have the guts to do it. if they didn't have the guts to do it then, why would anybody have thought they would do it now? >> but what is fundamentally wrong here? is it barack obama being weak as president? should he have avoided saying i'm going to unite everybody? does that make him look weak to republicans? or is there something
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fundamentally inherently wrong with the process that has to be dramatically changed? >> i think you'd get different answers to that. my answer would be that television has a great deal to do with this. that the 24 hour news cycle of cable news has heated up every issue. people are very polarized. the networks or these cable outlets have political identities now, and that's driving people apart. and people don't trust each other. people don't like each other. and people aren't giving an inch on either side. there's no compromise and there's no sense that people are working for the public good. they're working for themselves. >> what i don't understand is why there's no incentive to compromise.
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that's what i just don't get. >> i was going to ask you, meredith, you've been the sharp end of dealing with what i would call real americans for the last five years. people that watch the "today" show who lead very normal live well away from all this who must be looking at this in complete -- i would imagine -- increasingly indignant bemusement saying what is happening here to the people supposedly charged with making our lives better? >> well, i would think that people are truly fed up at this point and they're frustrated and they're hurting because of the economy as well. then they see a washington that is broken or chooses to be broken. it doesn't have to be. compromise has become a dirty word in this country. and as a citizen, i have this feeling just throw them all out. people feel the same way because of the frustration level. it's very hard to comprehend why we've reached this point given the fact that we are the great nation that we are.
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it's an embarrassment, i think. >> i couldn't agree more. let's have a little break, meredith. when we come back, i want to talk to you about exactly why you walked out of what some may think is the best job in tv news. >> matt lauer. >> well, i heard that. i heard that. unbearable man in many ways. you know why they call it black friday? 'cause i'm like a savings ninja. ok... [ male announcer ] black friday's here. deals start thursday 10 pm. but we're open all day and night so you don't have to wait outside. the only place to go on black friday. walmart. ♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] everyone deserves the gift of a pain free holiday.
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will be giving awayte. passafree copies of the alcoholism & addiction cure. to get yours, go to ♪ roll the dice ♪ just one more time ♪ some will win ♪ some will lose some are born to sing the blues ♪ ♪ the movie never >> that's meredith's farewell to nbc in june. she's back with me now with her husband author and journalist richard cohen. must have been an emotional time leaving "today." you were so inexorably linked to that show. >> it was hard that day. i had no idea what they had planned. and that sequence that you saw when they led me through the plaza and everybody was out there with t-shirts.
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and it was a lot of love and a lot of support. i really lost it. i didn't intend to do that, but it just hit me. the enormity of the job that i had held, of the love and the affection that i felt for these people. you cannot do a show like that given the hours if you don't like the people. it's impossible. the chemistry, obviously, on air is essential. and behind the scenes as well. and it is a phenomenal group of people. i can't say enough about the crew at "today" who are there a lot of them start their day at midnight, if not earlier. and they're setting up and getting all the shots right, the producers who work so hard. and then obviously the on-air talent. there's nobody that's more generous than matt lauer and al and ann and natalie and hoda and kathie lee and the whole group. i don't want to leave anybody out there. but i really did hit me that i was leaving i had family. and yes, it had only been five years, but you establish bonds very quickly and they're very tight because of the work
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situation that you're in. but i knew that i was doing the right thing. and it was a decision that i did not come to lightly. i mean, i had a year to think about it. i finally realized that the best thing i could do for myself and for my family was to get off of that treadmill and to really sort of breathe a little bit and enjoy life while we have our health. and that was an important step for me. and it was hard, but i'm convinced it was the right thing to do. >> what i remember you saying at the time was many were trying to make this big thing was it was because richard has multiple sclerosis. but actually i remember you saying quite strongly no, it's a fact that he's been healthy recently. >> exactly. >> comparatively, that you wanted to make the most of that time with him. >> absolutely. >> both of you fully aware of the longer term prognosis. >> things right now are great. anything could happen. i could get hit by a bus tomorrow is the truth.
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we've reached a point in our lives where the grind was getting to both of us. about once a month we would do a piece on "today" on sleep deprivation, how bad it is. i'd be sitting there saying, hello? i have that. i could have a heart attack and be obese and this, that and the other and i was starting to get all of it or feel it all. so i realized that that wasn't a healthy way for us to live. and a lot of people said to me, well, your kids are all out of the house, isn't this the time you would want to hunker down and have that type of job. i said, no, this is a time where we can actually explore lie together. fortunately we still like each other. >> richard, you've had multiple sclerosis for a very long time. in fact, you told meredith on your second date 30-odd years ago that you suffered from this. what has it been like for you battling most of your adult life knowing that you have this awful condition? >> well, i've had it for almost
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40 years. and it certainly has become a large part of my identity. struggling with it really has become second nature. i did very well. i had a career in the news business for a long time. and it didn't really catch up to me until the last ten years or so. it's tough. look, progressive diseases progress. and it's a one-way street. you know, you're not going to get better, and what you've got to do is make your peace with it as best you can and live as full a life as you can possibly, you know, pull off. and i think it's all possible. i think that people give up too easily sometimes. i think people dig their own graves and we're not doing that. we're trying to have as good a time as we can, and i think we're doing pretty well. >> meredith, you've always put an incredibly brave face on this
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situation. you've completely avoid any sense of self-pity for either yourself or richard. but there is a reality here as richard just said. i mean, this is not a normal situation that loving, married couples have to endure. you've had to live with this dark shadow for a long time. how do you cope with it behind the scenes when the cameras aren't rolling and you don't have to be brave? is it very difficult? >> well, you deal with it on a day-to-day basis. when we're having a tough day, that's hard. sometimes you're angry, sometimes you're upset. but i think both of us have very good senses of humor. that's what carries us through. you have to maintain a sense of humor in your life whether you had an illness or not. but it's being able to sometimes see the absurdity of a situation and laugh at it that helps ease you through it. and i think that has helped us tremendously. and we have three wonderful children. and i think because of richard's illness, i think that they have become extremely empathetic young people, young adults, and
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i'm proud of the people they have become. i wouldn't wish illness on any family at all, but i think it does something to the psyche. and i think that they're far more sensitive kids because they've seen what their dad has been through. and i think they appreciate life in a different way. i know i do. he can be a real jerk, however, and i want to make sure that people understand that. >> but you also have to appreciate the lighter side of it. >> yes. >> and when we figure that out, we'll let you know. >> the levity behind the cane. >> you've had to battle two bouts of cancer now, too. you've had it pretty rough health wise. how do you manage to stay as you appear to be, pretty cheery about life. >> look, it's a long road. and the cancer was a tough blow, the second bout in particular, but i think you've got -- i think you've got to stand up and
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realize that this is your one shot at life, you know? and you've got to cope as best you can. and there are no medals, no merit badges, no awards for coping. you know? a happy life, a great family and -- >> and great friends, too. >> and being productive are their own rewards. and i think you got to keep your eye on the prize. >> let's take another break. i want to come back and talk about your children who i think you would probably agree are the pride of your lives. >> i would agree. [ male announcer ] tom's discovering that living healthy can be fun. see? he's taking his vitamins. new one a day vitacraves plus omega-3 dha is a complete multivitamin for adults. plus an excellent source of omega-3 dha in a great tasting gummy. one a day, gummies for grown-ups. premier of the packed bag.
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back with my special guest meredith vieira and her husband richard cohen. you talked, both of you, very fondly about your three children. they've all left the coop now. they're at that age when they're moving on to other thing. but they must have shown extraordinary fortitude, i would imagine, i'll start with richard here, through all your battles. when did you decide to tell the children that you had multiple sclerosis and how did they react to it? >> well, we knew that at some point we were going to have to open up to them and tell them the truth. i had a bad accident and fell down the stairs, and they witnessed that when they were very young. and i think that precipitated having to go be much more open with them.
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and what we discovered having done that was that, you know, if you want your kids to be happy, if you want your kid to be secure and at peace, don't keep secrets in the house. you know, they're the smartest people there. they just intuitively know when stuff is going on. and with both the ms and the cancer, we decided to be very open with them, to share and we did. and for example, when i had the cancer we sat down with them and gave our second kid said, i have two questions. one, are you going to die? and i said, i don't think so. and he said, secondly, do we get our christmas and hanukkah presents. >> it was around thanksgiving when this happened? >> and i thought, you know, they're going to be okay.
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>> at least he asked the questions in the right order. >> that's right. but you know, they just accept it as part of their lives. they watch out for me. i think they, in a funny way, take care of us as much as we take care of them. >> absolutely. i think with age comes wisdom. when the kids were little, there was a time when we were at school it was an open school night or whatever and richard fell. and i remember the kids sort of cringing because they're little and they're wondering if their friends are seeing this and there's an embarrassment. as they've gotten older, they see their dad as the brightest guy in the room. our oldest son who lives in china now, he graduated in june and lives in shanghai. he calls richard almost on a daily basis to talk politics because he'd rather talk to richard than anyone else. i think that they understand the value of a person in a different way. >> meredith, 400,000 americans
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have ms, 200 people a week are diagnosed with it in this country. do you think enough is being done in terms of research, in terms of funding. you've been in the direct light of this for a long time. what do you think? >> not nearly enough. i defer to you because you know the numbers. >> let me tell you something, i feel very strongly about this. the nih budget, which has been frozen at about $30 billion a year is inadequate. $30 billion a year pace for about 2 1/2 months in afghanistan. if one shares the belief that i think -- well, i'll speak for myself -- that i have, which is that we're going down the wrong road there, you have to wonder why we're not taking care of our own people, why our priorities are so skewed and why we're not spending more money on lots of things but one being medical research.
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you know, a hundred -- almost half the population, almost 130 million people have a chronic illness. there's a tremendous need for research. this is what's breaking the system. and we're not putting enough of our resources into medical research and taking care of our own people. >> meredith, some of richard's relatives have had ms. and there's a hereditary link here. are you concerned about your family, your children, do you know if they're susceptible to getting this? >> we're told they're no more susceptible than the general population. maybe slightly more. sure, when it's your own children, obviously, you worry. but i remember quite a few years ago richard's mom at one point -- because richard's dad had ms as well as richard's paternal grandmother, richard's mom was saying had she known that richard was going to develop ms, then she would not want to have him, bring him into
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the world and develop this disease. and richard sort of looked at her and said, i like my life. i'm so glad i came into the world. that's his attitude. i think that i feel the same way about our children. god forbid that they develop this illness, i hope that they do not, but they're wonderful, wonderful people, and if they were to develop ms, they would continue to be wonderful people. and i choose not to dwell on that. >> who could make a better role model than their father? >> absolutely not. >> let's take a break. i want to talk to you about millionaire, both the show and whether you are one. >> oh. wow. it's a great hd tv. shh. don't speak. i'll just leave you two alone. [ male announcer ] black friday's here. deals start thursday 10 pm. more electronics start at midnight. and we're open all day and night so you don't have to wait outside. walmart. and we're open all day and night where they grow america's favorite wpotatoes. idaho,
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god bless you, meredith vieira. god bless you. this is one of the best movies ever. it is superman iii, c, final answer. >> yeah! >> meredith and her husband richard cohen are back with me now. you've done nine seasons of "who wants to be a millionaire." >> ten. >> you've made so many people happy with another person utterly miserable. do you just enjoy it. >> i love it. it's one of the things that you do where you leave at the end of the day and you made people happy. you might have changed people's lives.
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we noticed that our contestants aren't there to win enough money for a vacation or a yacht or a sports car. they're there because they can't pay their mortgage or they have a child to put through college and they're so scared they can't pay the tuition bills and they will have to take their kid out of school. they're hurting. they're representative of folks all across america. if you can help somebody, you know, pay that bill, keep them in their home, what's more rewarding than that? it's just a wonderful position to be in, and i feel very blessed to have that job. i really do. i know it's a game show. but it does change lives, even if it changes them just a little bit, that makes me feel really good about what i do. >> for all these people who are desperate to be a millionaire, what's it like? >> you tell me. >> unfortunately, meredith, this is my show and i'm doing an interview, so go on. spill the beans. you can't host a show called "who wants to be a millionaire"
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and avoid the bleeding obvious. >> the bleeding obvious. unless you're born with a silver spoon in your mouth and you work very, very hard and i worked very hard my whole life. my parents instilled in me a tremendous work ethic that you don't take anything for granted. you have to earn it. and i've been blessed with some really wonderful jobs that come with some pretty nice salaries. and i've worked my tail off for that. >> as somebody who has worked her way up the journalist i think ladder and done it the hard way and with great integrity, how do you feel about the appointment of chelsea clinton as an nbc reporter given that whatever her connections, whatever her background, she clearly hasn't done the journalistic hard yards. >> well, people get in for all sorts of reasons. i think she's a very intelligent young woman. and i think she really does want to make a difference through her reporting. she probably has access that a lot of other folks would not because of her family connections. i've met her on several occasions and she's a very
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sincere person. >> of all the amazing moments you've experienced as a journalist, meredith, in your career, if you could relive one again in the next five minutes, if i had that power, what would you choose? >> i would -- boy, i've seen a lot of places and i've done a lot of things, but it's the individuals that maybe nobody noticed before that i've had the opportunity to meet that have had the biggest impact on me. i tell this story all the time because it rings most true to me. it's about a little boy named anthony that i met in chicago many, many years ago, a 7-year-old. was living in a tenement, his mother was an alcoholic, his dad had left him when he was a baby. he was determined to make it on his own. he had a very bad stutter. he would say i, i, i don't look for trouble, trouble, trouble comes to me. that tugged at my heart that a 7-year-old felt that way about his life. he wanted to be better than those who had come before.
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we did that for a program called "west 57th" a news magazine i was on years ago. i said if you ever need a lifeline you call me collect. for the next five or six years anthony would call collect. by the time that was "west 57th" and i moved over to "60 minutes" and he continued to call. no matter who picked up the phone, anthony's calling, i i think we provided a lifeline for him. he became the first kid in his family to graduate high school and go on to work in city government. that's a moment that i play over and over in my head, is this the right career, did i make the right move? it's meeting that kind of a person, seeing that kind of human spirit when all the odds are stacked up against them. and that will to move ahead. and also being able to impact their life. and that will always be part of, you know, one of my proudest moments in journalism.
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>> and richard, i've always wondered who the lucky guy is who was married to meredith because she's one of my favorite people. what's been the love of a great woman like meredith in life for you and your life particularly given the challenges that you've had to face. >> she's sitting next to me. >> go on. spill the beans, richard. >> now, you know, at the risk of being nice, meredith's been there for me, meredith's been supportive. meredith bought into this a long time ago. we built a family, we built a life. and we weren't afraid of the future. and it was easy for me to do maybe, but probably not as -- you know, it was a more difficult position for her. and i think we're proud of what we've put together.
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i think as you've said, we're very proud of our kids. you know, we've talked about illness for a good time here tonight. and i have to say we have a great life. you know. we have everything we wanted, everything we need, everything we dreamed of. i've said before i wouldn't trade in ms as part of my life, as part of my identity. i think it's true for meredith, too. we're very grateful. we really are. we're very happy. >> well, you certainly come over that way. it's been an absolute pleasure to interview you both today. meredith, richard, thank you so much. >> piers, thank you so much. coming up, michelle williams, how she got the role of a lifetime to play marilyn monroe in "my life with marilyn" which opens on wednesday. . which shirt feels more expensive? that one's softer.
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to a third nomination with "my week with marilyn." and director simon curtis. they join me now. welcome to you both. >> thank you for having us. >> thank you. >> simon, you and i had a chat about this movie a few months ago in the garden of a well known british television executive. let's not be any more detailed than that. he told me it was going to be a fantastic film and you had a fantastic actress. and there she is. why michelle williams? >> because i've always loved michelle's work. and i was really excited when she read the script and wanted to meet. couldn't believe my luck when she signed on. >> the part of marilyn monroe, she's such an iconic figure, not just in america but around the world. you got to choose very carefully, haven't you? what is the decisionmaking process as a filmmaker in choosing the right kind of person to play somebody so famous? >> i think there's a lot of ingredients in that decision.
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obviously, a physical resemblance. but really what always attracted me to michelle's work is that she brings such psychological detail to her characters. i knew that was the marilyn that i wanted to portray in this film. >> michelle, you immersed yourself into the world of marilyn monroe. i'm fascinated by marilyn, as many people, i've read many books about her. she was a complex character in many ways. what surprised you when you delved into marilyn's life in more detail than before? what surprised you most about her? >> oh, gosh, i suppose the sort of -- the biggest discovery that i made along the way was that marilyn monroe was a character, and that how we commonly think of her, that was a part that she played. and she played it so well, you couldn't tell that she was acting. and so we sort of allowed ourselves to think that that was maybe close to who she really was. and the truth is that there was
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a very complex, human being underneath it all. >> let's take a look with a clip from "my week with marilyn." >> you don't look old enough to drink. >> i'm 23, miss monroe. >> oh, it's marilyn. i'm 30. i guess that makes me an old lady to you. >> seven years is nothing. >> you know i've been married three times already? how did that happen? >> you're just looking for the right man. >> they always look right at the start. >> i mean, that's weird, michelle. you are marilyn. >> thank you. thanks. >> do you feel a bit weird when you watch it back there just how convincing it is? >> oh, gosh, i don't know. i've sort of -- i don't really know who i'm looking at any more. it's just kind of a her, whenever i see it, it's a she or a her.
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it's not me. and i wouldn't be audacious to say it was marilyn. it's some other being. i don't -- it's a strange relationship. >> i would say it was truly thrilling to be on the set and watch this performance evolve over the weeks. and truly magical experience to see marilyn on our set and to see what michelle was doing is just fantastic. >> michelle, what did you think of marilyn as an actress? >> i suppose that was one of my other big discoveries along the way. more than anything she wanted to be a serious actress. it was her greatest ambition. and, you know, when we talk about the character that she developed of marilyn monroe, that didn't come quickly or naturally to her. she spent years working on that part, creating that part and that was such a huge part of her identity, but it was a secret identity because people couldn't really conflate, you know,
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marilyn monroe, this incredible sex symbol, with marilyn monroe the intellectual, the student, the artist. for some reason those ideas didn't really gel. so i think publicly it was difficult for her to have the chance to play other roles. people didn't want to see her differently. people talk about this quality she had. >> the one thing we do know about marilyn, she was quite a diva on set. i think after the break, i want to know whether michelle williams is equally as big a diva. >> okay. just one phillips' colon health probiotic cap a day
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request well, hello, boys. >> hello, marilyn. >> i don't want anyone whipping, you boys. >> you can whip me any time, marilyn. >> i'm back with the star of "my week with marilyn" michelle williams. kenneth branaugh said she was witty. >> i'm glad i had michelle playing marilyn, she wouldn't work harder. it was a great luxury as a director to have that presence on the set. >> marilyn was notoriously late
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for filming sessions, wouldn't turn up all the time. are you like that, or are you very professional about these things? >> in all honesty, i run ten minutes late every day, everywhere. but i don't think that's quite the same thing. but i do like to be honest, so i will tell you that. no, i have to say. i was curious about that, because i didn't really identify with that. how can a person be so disrespectful of the other actors and crew people you're working with. after about three days into week one, i realized exactly how. when you spend three and a half hours sitting in hair and make-up and then are required to transmit the kind of energy and vibration that makes people feel like you're existing to give them pleasure, to put all that out on a consistent basis is
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exhausting. and by thursday i had a pretty good sense of one of the reasons why she wouldn't want to get out of bed and go to work. >> i want to play a clip of you singing marilyn. that must have been an all together different challenge. ♪ >> i mean, admit it, michelle, you must feel sexy when you're playing marilyn monroe? >> honestly, no. you know, maybe in those kind of
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moments, in the moment with the bathtub or a scene with the school boys. but not consistently. not in your every day life, not on the weekends when all that comes off, the hair, the wick, the costume. there's some sort of strange in between person underneath. >> you said that you had never cried so much for somebody that you didn't know. why did you find it so emotional? >> you know, i've never spent this long with a character before. i'm always kind of a bit nerdy doing my preparation. i didn't go to school, i didn't go to high school or college. and i feel like i am making up for it somehow now. her struggle was valiant. that always moves me when
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somebody is bravely fighting against themselves or the outside world. but when there's real bravery involved in the fight. and that always got to me. >> tell me about your life now. you've turned 30, which has given you a huge boost of new confidence. made you a better actress, you feel. you've obviously been a mom now for a while. how is life for you? >> it has a routine. it has a sort of -- patterns have started emerging, and i find that comforting. you have some idea of how the day is going to go, the month is going to go. you feel like -- i feel like i know more than i did before. it doesn't sound like it the way i'm answering this question. it's settled. it's settled.
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>> you're sporting a short cropped hairdo. not the marilyn full flowing locks. i thought you might be tempted to keep the marilyn look for a while. >> no, it was a wig. it was a great wig, but it was a wig. and it takes a lot of bleach to keep that look up. >> i heard you say behind your hairstyle. no straight man in the world would like it. i would like to personally detach myself from that statement you made. >> thank you very much. >> don't think you're entirely right on that school. a certain person in your life liked your hair like that. >> yeah, it's true. >> it's a stunning role, an amazing film. >> simon congratulations to you. in your directing debut, you must be excited? >> really excited. i'm excited about the opening, we've been taking the show on the road.