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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  June 29, 2012 11:00pm-12:00am PDT

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>> rose: welcome to the program. tonight nora ephron who died on tuesday night here in new york, age 71. conversations at the table. nora in her own words. >> we allrew up knowing that we were going to work which not that many girls did in the-- . >> rose: nora said i'm go fog have a career, just automatic. >> i didn't say it, my mother said it. my mother said well, what are you going to be. >> rose: exactly. >> this was a question that we talked about all the time. it was never, never was the answer to that question i'm going to get married and be a mom. we all knew that, sure did you that. but what were you in addition to that. >> rose: you will be defined by your work. >> yes. and it was important to figure out what that was going to be. >> rose: we remember nora when we continue.
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funding for charlie rose was provided by the following: . >> rose: additional funding provided by these funders:
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and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. nora ephron died on tuesday in new york there complications from leukemia. she was 71 years old. nora got her start in the world of newspapers and soon became well-known as an essayist in the pages of esquire and "new york" magazine she established herself as one of america's funniest writer, her humor was smart, self-deprecating and perfectly timed testimony is said her true love became the movies so she began to write script force film and became a director. said to rein-- invig raised rot man particular comedy in sleepless in seattle, when harry met sallie and you've got mail.
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>> although herr wins got happy endings they had real thoughts and desires and aspirations. in her later years she yet best selling books with typical can -- and good humor at the process of age. she had a way of making us feel better about life's disappointments, to the by pretending they did not matter but by showing how to laugh at them. mike nichols said of her she was so funny and interesting that you didn't notice that she was also necessariment she will be missed by all of us and by her family, her sisters delia, amy and hallie. her sons jay could be and max and of course her wonderful husband nick paleg,. many people are writing and speaking about this extraordinary woman today. there is so much that can be said of her that perhaps we should see her speaking for herself in her own inemmittable way so while we say good-bye to her in sadness we remember and celebrate her this evening through the years she spent here at this table talking about all the things that she loved. it is nora in her own words.
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we start with her story with her first appearance right here at this table in 1992. >> my mother was a screenwriter and so was pie father. and she just believed, first of all, i think she believed that when your kids came to you with horrible nightmare stories that you didn't want to deal with, one of the easiest ways to deflect them was to say everything is copied. because of course it's a way of getting rid of it and saying to your kids, some day you will make this into a story. it's not exactly the way i operated as a mother. but i think that she taught us on some level what i think is the fundamental principles of humor. which is that if you slip on a banana peel, people laugh at you. but if you tell people you slipped on a banana peel, it's your joke, you're the hero of the joke.
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and you know, i'm not sure it's the basis of humor but i certainly know it's the basis of a certain strain of jewish humor which is to get up and say you know what happened to me? you know what happened to me? and to take some night marrish thing and to make it funny. i remember the first time i saw woody allen perform a hundred years ago at some nightclub in new york. and he got up and all he talked about was how he had been rejected by one woman after another. and by the time he was done, every woman in the audience wanted to go out with him. >> rose: exactly. did your mother have more influence on you than your father? >> well, it seems that way because she was so full of things that stayed with all of us. those life lessons. >> rose: ideas and opinions. >> those life lessons that dottie gives out in the book and the movie, i mean they are in the book but my mother was full of life lessons that have stayed with us all forever.
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>> rose: and because she was a working mother, what did that do for you? how did that impact on new. >> well, i think first of all she was the only working moth never beverly hills who worked by choice. i think there was one other working mother but she had to work because she was divorced, you know. and we all grew up knowing that we were going to work. which not that many girls did in the-- . >> rose: nora said i'm going have a career t is just automatic. >> i didn't say it, my mother said. my mother said well, what are you going to to be, you know, this was a question that we talked about all the time. it was never, never was the answer to that question i'm going to get married and be a mom. we all knew that. sure did you that. but what were you. in addition to that. >> rose: you will be defined by your work. >> yes. and it was important to figure out what that was going to be. >> rose: here is the conventional wisdom. you could not wait to get out of los angeles, the nora
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ephron, the witiest of four children, two screenwriters, you -- >>s that i was not necessarily the witiest of four children, but go ahead. >> rose: okay, some say that your sisters say that. i'm giving credit to them. maybe it's not true. >> anyway. >> rose: you couldn't wait to come to the east coast. what was that about? >> well, i was born in new york. >> rose: right. >> and i had been completely happy in new york until i was five when i was ripped out of new york city and plopped into beverly hills by my parents who went out there to become screenwriters. >> rose: and did. >> and did. and the thing, the thing that is probably one of my earliest whole memories, a whole paragraph of memory is of standing on line at nursery school in doheni drive in beverly hills and looking around at all this incredibly beautiful sunshine and happy laughing children and saying to myself what am i am doing here. i knew it, i knew it at the age of five.
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and i thought i'm in the wrong place. and i've got to get out of here. i think a lot of kids have this growing up, by the way. i think a lot of people who end up in new york city are people who always felt this, wherever they were growing up. i didn't feel it until i was suddenly in the wrong place and i knew it was the wrong place. >> rose: now here we are at new york, a landmark, you, this city is you. you can't imagine even though you spent a few years in los angeles living anywhere else. >> no. i think we all understand that new york is a series of little villages. >> rose: right. >> that we all live in sort of three square blocks where we know the dry cleaner and the butcher and the guy who sells you the paper in the morning and the person at starbucks. and the florist and-- we did stuff in the movie where meg buys flowers from a pregnant florist and the next time she's at the florist is a sign in the window that says it's a girl. now of course no one will notice that stuff but me and now perhaps you.
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>> rose: yeah. >> but we were trying to get a-- across that thing that people simply don't get about new york which is that you can live, you know, kind of a wonderful life in the city with children and dogs who are not unhappy. >> rose: right. >> and the-- . >> rose: it is a place of community. >> it really is. and these are, you know, you're a little urban family and everybody has that. you see the same fathers and kids going to school in the morning. and mothers pushing their kids and they grow up and everyone knows, blah, blah, blah. >> rose: you then go eventually to wellesley. >> yeah. >> rose: when are you at wellesley you're writing letters back to your mother. >> uh-huh. >> rose: and these letters become part of one of the plays that she wrote. >> that they wrote. >> rose: they wrote, henry and feebee. >> they wrote a play called take her, she's mine. >> rose: and what did that do to you and what did you think about that? >> well, you see, it was a play about a southern california's family worst
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daughter goes to an eastern women's college, at the time they were called girl's colleges. >> rose: yes, they were. and no men were allowed. >> and it was-- it was, frankly, a big nothing because-- . >> rose: it didn't bother you. >> no because we had grown-up with all this stuff. we had grown-up with my mother saying everything is copy, you know. my sister delia got her head stuck between the banister railings at our house when she was about 7 years old. and the police had to come and cut the wrote iron and get her out of it. and a year later natalie wood who was about, well i guess she was a couple years older had the same thing happen to her in the jackpot which was a movie my parents-- you know-- . >> rose: everything is copy. >> everything is copiment nothing goes to waste. it is an early lesson in biode gradable things. and so we were very used to this. and the play was very harmless. i mean it wasn't-- i didn't think it was me. i just thought it was based
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on something that had happened. >> rose: you graduate wellesley college and want to live in new york. you come to manhattanment you get a job as a researcher for "newsweek" magazine. >> mail girl. >> rose: mail girl. >> mail girl, yeah. >> rose: what does a pail girl do. >> just what it sounds like. delivers the mail. >> rose: you take the mail around to the people. >> there were no mail boys actually but there were mail girls. >> rose: because mailroom is where barry dylan and others started at the agencies. >> at the agencies where there were no mail girls, by the way. because if you were a pail boy at an agency would you eventually become an agent. if you were a pail girl at "newsweek" nothing ever really happened to you except that you-- you kind of continued to serve men forever. first you were a mail girl. and. >> rose: then you were what. >> then you were a clipper which was a tragically horrible job where you sat with a rip stick and greased pencil and chopped up 50 or 60 american newspapers and rooted them to the
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department that-- routed them to the department that your college education had sort of prepared to think was the right place for it. so if they discovered that cure for cancer in baltimore you sent it to the medicine department. and-- . >> rose: we need these here at our show. >> and then i became a researcher, another job that was held only by women. and that meant that the men would write the stories and you would check them. >> rose: and at some point along this road there was a strike. a newspaper strike. >> right. >> rose: and they get somebody to do a parody, was it lyons. >> leonard lyons, vickar-- was the editor of monday ago owe magazine. >> rose: right. >> a short-lived but legendary humor magazine. >> rose: later the editor of nation magazine. >> and vickar got some money to put out parodies of "the new york post" and the "new york daily news". >> rose: because they weren't being published. >> they weren't being published. this was way before anyone
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knew what these parodies were. so when they actually came out, they were a giant disaster because people thought that the strike was over, and put down the 10 cents or something that it cost to buy a post but of course our papers were trying to be sold for considerably more than that, so we could get some money. the point is no one read these parodies except the staff of the newspaper. >> rose: right. >> and the editors of "the new york post" read it and wanted to sue. and the owner of the post dorothy schiff said don't be ridiculous. if they can parody the post they can write for it. hire them. and that is how i got a tryout. >> rose: so you are now reporting and now a reporter. >> yes. >> rose: this must have been a happy time, huh. this was what -- >> oh, i was in-- it was bliss. >> rose: why did you grow tired of journalism? >> well, i done think i grew tired of journalism. but i mean i don't-- i had never made a decision that i
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was going to leave journalism. but when i had my first child, i had just started to write movies. and i thought well, i can't go on doing journalism because i have a baby and i can't go and do these long reporting pieces that i was doing in esquire. and i was writing columns. and they all required sometimes a week, a month of going away and reporting the story. i couldn't see how i would do it. so i thought well, i will just go on writing movies for a wile and then i'll get back to my real work. but then hi a movie made. >> rose: what was that. >> silkwood. >> rose: the first one. >> and you know, once you have a movie made you're in big trouble because you don't want to go back to anything, it isn't as much fun. >> rose: because it's that much fun. >> it's so interesting. also, i was, whatever, however old i was, 39w3 or 40 or something, some horrible age like that, that i thought was so old.
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but the point is-- . >> rose: a mere so many years ago. >> however old i was at the time, i was suddenly watching something that i knew nothing about. and on a set that mike nichols was the director. >> rose: and meryl streep is the actress and cher. >> and i was riveted there are people who say oh being on a movie set is really boring, but it isn't boring if you are engaged in some way. and i was riveted by what they were doing. i had never seen it done, really, i had never sat there day after day and i never watched somebody work with actors as mike does. so, so i didn't want to go back ♪ amazing grace ♪ how sweet ♪ the sound ♪ that changed a wretch ♪ like me
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♪ i once was lost ♪ but now, i'm found ♪ was found but ♪ but now i'm free ♪. >> rose: then came the marriage to carl bernstein and the breakup dfer -- >> not that fast. but go on. >> rose: there was the first marriage. only so much time. and this is an incredible life we're talking about. there is the first marriage and a divorce. and then you fall in love with carl and the two of you get married. and then it turned out that the as the world knows that carl was having an affair. why were you the last person to know. >> i wasn't the last person to know. >> rose: there was somebody that knew. >> i believe i was about the second or third person to know. but it doesn't matter. >> rose: what did it do-- i
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mean you-- but you stayed in it. >> no, i didn't. >> rose: as soon as you knew you were out of it. >> yeah, yeah. >> rose: then you wrote heartburn. >> uh-huh. >> rose: and here is the first example or another example of taking this terrible thing that was done to you. >> by then i was-- by then i was a writer and i was an essayist and i had been writing, you know, at esquire about myself. so it wasn't the first time that i --. >> rose: on subjects like flat breasts and -- >> exactly. but you know, when-- when something like this happens, you do know that it's going to be a story some day. i mean if you can just stop crying and find a way to write it. if you can find-- . >> rose: dow if are you nora ephron. >> i think a lot of people know. because you can't believe the number of letters i have gotten since that book was published of people who also know they have a story. they don't quite know that the story should be funny.
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this, i have to say. i always knew that part of it. i always knew that if you did one of those oh, kinds of things it wasn't going to work. but-- but i went through, you go through something like that which really did have its comical moments, and you kind of think to yourself, got to remember this. because some day it will be funny. >> i know about you and they will ma rice. i know everything. it's all here. >> you didn't even have the decency to hide the evidence, you just-- threw it in a drawer. hotels, motels. you couldn't even pay cash, like a normal philanderer, you charged everything. i mean look at this, flowers, look at all these flowers that you bought her! and you occasionally brought
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me home a bunch of wilted zinnias can, how you can do this, if i'm such a pitch then tell me. but don't do this, we have a baby, mark. we have another baby coming. don't you even care about them? >> of course i care. >> do you love her? >> rose: does time heal all wounds from divorce? >> i think it probably-- i think what time does is it causes you to forget and that's what it mostly does. and-- . >> rose: it is a separation from the anger. >> i don't think it's a question of wounds. i just think that divorce is tricky. it's constantly tricky. and it constantly throws up events that are tricky like, for example,he divorced bar mivah which fortunately i never had to go through. but that sort of thing is interesting.
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you know, most of us lead quiet lives. divorce is the drama. falling in love is the first drama. and then getting divorced is the next drama. and that's about what we do. we don't-- we don't, you know, have car chases or take part in sensational murders. we just-- . >> rose: is divorce nor interesting than marriage? >> is -- probably. >> rose: probably. because there is drama. >> well, falling in love is the most interesting. because it's the most full of hope. when i wrote when harry met sallie it was very clear to me that it was the kind of movie a first time director could direct because there were no tanks going over mountains and so on and so on it was a small movie. >> rose: it is a little bit like diner for barry levinson. >> right. but then when i saw the movie i realized that i couldn't have directedded it at all. i thought rob did a fantastic job directing that movie. and i was thrilled with it.
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i thought it came out great. and it was such a fantastic lesson too. because you know when you start out as a screenwriter, you have an unbelievable rigidity about your lines. and when people change them, you go crazy. you go absolutely crazy. well, when you make a povie with rob and the producer and billy crystal and meg ryan and they change your lines it's usually better. >> what do you do with these women, you just get up out of bed and leave. >> sure. >> well, explain to me how do yout, what dow say. >> let's have an early meeting, haircut, squash game. >> you don't play squash. >> they don't know that, they just met me. >> nass's disgusting. >> i know, i feel terrible. >> you know, i'm so glad i never got involved with you. i just would have ended up being some woman you had to get up out of bed and leave at 3:00 in the morning and go clean your iron and irons and you don't even have a fireplace, not that i would know this. >> why are you getting so up set this is not about you. >> yes t is.
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you are a humana front to all women and i am a woman. >> hey, i don't feel great about this but i don't hear anyone complaining. >> of course not, you're out the door too fast. >> i think they have an okay time. >> how do you know? >> what dow mean how doe i know, i know. >> because they -- >> yes, because they -- >> how do you know that they're really -- >> what are you saying? that they fake orgasms? >> it's possible. >> get out of here. >> why? most women at one time or another have faked it. >> well, they haven't faked it with me. >> how do you know? >> because i know. >> oh. right. that's right. i forgot. you're a man. >> what is that supposed to mean. >> nothing. it's just that all men are sure it never happens to them and most women at one time or another have done it. so you do the math. >> you don't think that i can tell the difference? >> no. >> get out of here.
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oh. oh. >> are you okay? >> oh, oh, god. ooh, oh, god. oh, ah. oh. oh, god, oh, yeah, right there. oh,-- oh, oh god. yes! yes! yes! yes! yes! yes! oh o yes!, yes!, yes! oh, yes!, yes!
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yes!, yes!, yes!, oh, oh, oh. oh o god. oh. >> i'll have what she's having. >> i know of too my movies where the people really didn't like each other and the movie. >> rose: came across great. what is the best example of that? >> well, i will tell you, actually, since you asked, charlie, that there is a scene when inn when harry met sally i think is one of the most, every time i see this scene it absolutely knocks me out it is the first new year's eve, billy crystal and meg. and it's the first new year's eve scene in the movie. and its an absolutely great scene and they are both great in it. and they weren't speaking.
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>> they were having a difficult on the setedding with yeah, they were, and it's just great and every time i see it's just-- you know, it's that thing you also hear about directors who ran the most abusive sets imaginable, and then they made great movie ask. >> it doesn't really matter it is just the way would you like it to be, but the truth is if the acters are good enough and the script is good enough you can probably have the appearance of chem key without there having been any. and by the same, you know, you can have a huge amount of chemistry going on between the leads and not see a frame of it on film. >> i really want to thank you for taking me out tonight. >> oh, don't be silly. next new year's eve if neither one of us is with anybody, you have got a date. >> deal. >> see, now we can dance cheek to cheek.
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♪ then the world ♪ ♪ discovers ♪. >> hey, everybody, ten seconds to new year'ses. ten, nine, eight, seven. >> want to get some air. >> six, five, four, three, two, one. >> happy new year! ♪ forgot ♪ and never ♪ should old acquaintance be forgot ♪ ♪. >> happy new year ♪ ♪ and for auld lang syne
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♪. >> you know this movie where two people, you know, he's in see at el, she's in baltimore, is the sore of very-- sort of peculiar mixture of these two things in that meg ryan hears tom on the radio. she thinks he's her destiny. she does not wait for him to come to baltimore and find her. >> rose: good for her. >> you know, she then does an enormous number of things to make that happen. what i kept saying to everyone until they were driven crazy from it was this is not a movie about love. it's a movie about love in the movies. of course we want it to be a movie about love. but one of the main themes of it is what movie does to your brain. the expectations you get from going to all those movies we went to when we were growing up, and thinking that that is what love was. i mean i grew up thinking that you were supposed to
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meet someone and want we are them forever. >> rose: funny and wise cracking. >> just forever and ever. and actually i remembered this we can as i have had only two or 300 interviews about this movie that i won't-- . >> rose: oh, then we won't talk about the movie to heck with it. >> that once hi a date with someone that i truly hated, and i went home from it and i thought to myself, maybe we're going to get married. because hi seen so many movies where the couple just hate one another at the beginning and then they live happily ever after. so you know, anyway, that's part of what it is about. >> rose: this is all unrealistic. >> well, part of what we do in the movie is we hope we're going to become one of those movies that completely screw people up forever, that is the dream here. >> rose: but tell me about love, though. i mean is it unrealistic to think of love like sam does in this film and like annie does that somehow there is magic and you can have that in your life and -- >> well, i don't know if
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it's unrealistic but the truth is that i think people go back and forth their whole lives. they start out believing in this very pure, simple, stupid way about destiny and how there's one person out there and you're going to meet that person. >> rose: and that's stupid. >> well, maybe. >> rose: well s it stupid or not? >> well, i don't happen to-- how could i possibly think i can't make any sense of it. all i mean is that you kind of get a little more realistic and a little more cynical and then things happen and eventually finally after many mistakes that you thought were destiny you find someone who was your destiny and you say oh, i see. i had to go through all the false destinies to get to the real distiny. you make up your-- you're constantly making up things to be destiny when, in fact, they probably en't. but you know the thing i have noticed is that you can ask a truly miserable couple
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how they met. and their nostalgia for what brought them together transforms their entire thing. >> rose: like annie's mother talking about it. >> well, no, but they probably are a happy couple. but i think that everybody loves that story of what brought them together. and they make it, if not into destiny they kind of fall in love with the little series of accidents, the sort of what if i hadn't gone out to buy band-aids, you know. >> rose: to believe that there can be magic and that it can be the way it is in this movie, does that mean you are a reconstructed romantic and therefore doomed to whatever? >> doomed to, i don't know what. no i don't know. i don't think i'm an unreconstructed romantic. in fact, i'm probably-- i now realize that having red a couple of reviews that i'm an ironic instead of a
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romantic. >> what is an ironic. >> well, it's somebody who is not romantic but sort of is, he's sort of more interested in the accidents than in the destiny of it. and in the power of this. >> i'll sit by the telescope. ♪ ♪ . >> it's you. >> it's me. >> i saw you in the street. >> are you annie? >> yes.
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>> you're annie? >> this must be yours. >> i'm jon. this is my dad. his name is sam. >> hi, jonas. >> sam. and who's this? >> howard. >> oh, howard. hello, howard. >> we better go. >> shall we?
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♪ ♪ brinkley ♪ somewhere ♪ over rain bow ♪ way up high ♪ there's a land that i heard of ♪ ♪ once in a lullaby ♪ somewhere ♪ over the rainbow
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♪ skies are blue ♪. >> don't cry. don't cry. >> and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true ♪ ♪ some day i'll wish upon a star ♪ ♪ and wake up where the cloud its are far behind me ♪ ♪. >> rose: let me talk about you and your sister and how do you two write together? i mean does it, she start the sentence and you finish it? how does this team work work. >> to tell you quite honestly, i'm not sure. we sit in the same room and there's a computer and a
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chair. and sometimes she sits in the chair and sometimes i sit in the chair. and sometimes the other one sits on the couch. >> rose: right. >> and then we switch at a certain point. sometimes three or four times a day. and we talk. we do very, very long outlines of what-- of the movies with we do. very long, very details outlines so that when we actually get to writing the script it's kind of half written. and that's sort of it. >> how are you different as writers, same instincts, same sense of humor. >> well, delia says that we've become more similar as writers and i think that's true. that we have kind of gotten things from the other as it's gone along. i know that when we started out, when we started out i had done more screenplays than she had. so i knew a little bit more about structure but now it's pretty even on that count.
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as you get older you really do remember nothing. you really have entire sections of your life that have floated away in some sort of never to be retrieved way. and every so often, you know, your friends say to you, oh, you know you what always say about something, and they tell you something you never said, are you pretty sure i never said. if you said it, you said it better than they are quoting it to you. people are constantly telling you about nights that you don't remember. and dinners that you don't think you ate. >> rose: but you think somebody can say something that will trigg. >> noteally. and you know what ppens when you go see a movie you have seen before and it's completely new. it's completely shocking. >> rose: that's true, actually, and sometimes it's better than the ones that you had a choice to watch which were new. often is that way. you forgot your own sister. >> well, yes. >> rose: at a mall. >> but it wasn't my fault. >> rose: oh really this is what you always say. i was in a mall and a woman came toward me with her arms
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outstretched. and i thought-- . >> rose: who is that crazy woman. >> no, no, who is that pleasant looking woman. i know her. i like her. if only i could t her name. and it was my sister. and-- and you could say well, how did you know she was going to be in this mall, which was in las vegas. and the answer is i was meeting her in the mall. is so then you always say to the person, you have changed your hair or something like that. i was very up set when this happened. and i called up my sister delia and said i didn't recognize amy yesterday in the mall. and she says oh that happens to me with amy too. so delia and i kind of decided it was amy's fault. >> rose: she's humoring you. >> she was, totally. >> rose: how do you like the idea that you are the director and you legeneral, are you in charge and you can move these -- if you don't like it this way you can turn it like this, if you want to put these here
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like this it works just fine and it's your choice. and you know if it doesn't work, in the editing room, you can just throw it away. >> well, it's not that simple. but i do like it i will tell you the thing i like the most. i like that if it doesn't work it's my fault. one of the worst things about being a screenwriter is sort of saying don't look at me. he did it. >> rose: he, the director. >> he took that perfect script that i gave him and or she or whatever. the point is that at least this way i have no one to blame but me. and i really prefer that to passing the buck. >> rose: you became a director because i wanted to protect your own screenplays? >> i think there were four or five reasons. one, one was that i think the most important reason was that every time you
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write a screenplay su have to find someone to direct it. and the way you find someone to direct your work is to delude them into thinking that the movie that they are committing to is somehow autobiographical to them. and often to do that you have to do a lot of changing of your movie so that they can find their way into it and give a year of their life to the project. a year and a half, two years sometimes. there were things i was writing that i didn't want to push around for someone else. they already felt personal to me. so that was one of the main, one of the most important things. you know if you write about women at all, it's a very short list of people without want to make movies about women. >> rose: list of directors. >> yes, that's what i mean. >> rose: and even fewer studios. >> well, you can get a studio if you can get a good director. but it's just a very short
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list of people. the nightmare for screenwriters, of finding the director. there are so many screenplays and there are so many fewer directors than there are screenplays. so enticing one of them, hooking one of them into your project so that was another thing. another reason was that i was approaching what we call middle age. >> rose: approaching middle age. >> and it's tough for screenwriters when you turn 50. >> rose: let's get to that. the notion of directors, screenwriters after they are in their 50s it's not quite as easy because they're looking for new material, new ideas. whereas directors can live until they decide -- >> well, not forever but you have a longer shelf life as a director. and so it seemed to me that i was protecting my ability to go on writing movies if i directed a few of them. so that was one of the main reasons. well then, of course, i did it.
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and just doing it became the reason to do it. because i really did enjoy it. i really liked it. and i didn't even know what i was doing in the beginning. now i'm starting to know what i am doing and i really like it. >> rose: do you look at other movies and think, man, if i could do it that well, if i could-- how does that person do that? how do they reach that, whatever? >> oh, sure. but i'll tell you, you know, there's a moment in goodfellas, for instance, to name a work of art that is so close to my own ouvre. but there is a moment in goodfellas when robert de niro turns from the bar and takes a drag of cigarette and you can see in his eyes that he is going to kill henry hill if he possibly can. and i saw that movie five or
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six times because my husband wrote it. and i just could never get over that moment. i could never get over it. and i had done one movie when i saw it. and then i saw a documentary about it. >> rose: the making of goodfellas. >> and how they did it was that shot of him, there, slow motion s so that you can't tell. and that's why you can see every thing that is happening on his face. and i thought oh, slow motion. that's a good idea. do you know, i mean i was such a babe when i started out doing this. but the point is that you do start to, you start figuring out how can i get this to happen. oh, i see. and something i used in sleepless in seattle and i'm sure no one would ever connect those two movies in anyway. >> rose: did you slope.
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>> yeah. >> rose: with tom being -- >> well, tom, when he first sees her in the airport when she comes to seattle to meet him and he sees her, that shot is in, you know, just three or four flames slower than normal. somebody mentioned something to me and you said i know i forgot to tell nick, that's a great title do agree. >> well, i done know that i don't know that but it's certainly the story of my life. but i did forget to tell him. >> rose: in what way. story of the life that you always want to remember to tell nick --. >> you know that weird thing when are you in the same house with someone and you think i've got to stand up and go into the other room and mention it to the person i'm living with and then-- other things happen. >> rose: really? >> yeah. >> rose: but dow that often.
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because he is your what? your sole mate, your husband of 20 years. >> my husband, some number of years that we forget 20 something. >> rose: an he has given a new definition to what support means. >> no, he's given-- he's re, you know, he just reminded us all that third time's the charm. >> so there we were in china, just friends having dinner. and it turned out to be julia. it turned out to be julia all along. >> julia, are you the put tore my bread and the breath to my life. i love you, darling girl. happy val en-- valentine's day. >> rose: some people suggest that nick, your fabulous husband is part of him is in th character that stanley plays. >> i might have been the person to suggest it, there's no telling.
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without can remember. but i did say that, yes, absolutely. one of the themes, and there are so many overlapping themes. i mean this is really about love. it's really about marriage. it's really about a kind of marriage that actually exists, thank god it does or people would have accused me of making this up. but there are guys who really do take enormous pleasure in their wife's growths and change and all of those things. so that was one of the things that i loved that it was aboutment i loved realize being halfway through that i was writing a movie about marriage. and how rare it is that you get to do this kind of marriage because movies require plot. but a marriage, a good marriage requires the absence of plot. the last thing you want is
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for something to happen, you know. you do not want the thing that makes people walk out the door or you know, that's the normal movie about a marriage always has somebody walking out the door at the end of the second act of the movie. well, they didn't really have that kind of marriage. these people were really together. and that was fun. >> rose: you said everything you had done in food all your life had prepared you to make this movie. >> well, i, you know, it was so personal for me even though it's the stories of two other women. i love food as you know. i'm obsessed with food. i think about it constantly. and i had grown-up, i had become a grown-up in new york cooking from julia's cookbook. i had written a little bit about her once and gotten a letter from her. and so that part of the
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story was so personal. so i just loved working on it, loved trying to figure out how you put those two pieces together. >> rose: and how many of the themes in that book, and recipe does you still prepare? >> three. >> rose: they are. >> they are lamb stew. they are bouef. bourginon which is one of the stars of this movie and they are chicken breasts with cream and mushrooms and port which-- . >> rose: why those three, do you know. >> well, those are the ones-- . >> rose: you like the food you like. >> this is the thing with cookbooks is that it usually two or three things, a cookbook you love, the cookbook that you say you cook from it all the time t means you have found two or three things you love in it. >> it's so true. >> it is so true. >> rose: other than memory, anything else wrong with getting older? >> other than anything else wrong-- . >> rose: other than -- >> is there anything right with getting old other.
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>> rose: wisdom. >> oh o wisdom when you can't remember anything is not quite there. >> rose: it's not that bad. >> having more time to read when you can't see rrz this is comic fodder for you, it's not that bad. >> no, no, no, i don't know, charlie. i don't think it's better to be older, i don't. >> rose: i don't think so either. bui think it doesn't have to be bad. >> no, it doesn't have to be bad. and you have to know but you have to know that at some point it will be. >> rose: oh, sure. >> and sooner rather than later. which is why it's very important to eat your last meal before it actually comes up. >> rose: tell that story as how you came to that conclusion. i know what it was, your friend. >> my good friend who was dying. >> rose: who could no longer eat a hot dog. >> she could no longer eat. and she said i condition even have my last meal. i means that's what happens, i mean but to be serious for a moment as they say in the jokes, when are you actually going to have your last meal,
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you either will be too sick to have it. or you aren't going to know it's your last meal and you could squander it on something like a tuna melt and that would be ironic. so, so it's important, we all play these games at dinner with friends where we go around the table and we say this is what i would have for my last meal. d i feel it's important to have that last meal at least once-- . >> rose: today. >> today, tomorrow, soon. >> rose: so what would you have as your last meal. >> my last meal, my last meal really is a -- -- hot dog. >> rose: because it is the most delicious thing you have ever eaten. >> well, you know, a hot dog, especially if it's got the right bun, the right mustard. >> rose: you don't put sauerkraut on it, do you. >> i have put sauerkraut on it, mostly mustard, sometimerelish,. >> rose: what kind of mustard.
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>> guldens. >> rose: not some fancy fresh stuff tore for you. >> no, no, not on a hot dog. >> rose: you seem to have this amazing ability to be able to adapt, to be able to find your way, to be able to whatever the time is, nora finds out where she fits. >> well from your lips. but i do think without being too-- i don't know what, philosophical, because god forbid i should ever be philosophical. but i do think one of the lucky things about my life and by the way, about, a lot of women i know is that we've sort of been able to make changes take another path. you know, i always quote that great yogi berra line if you see a fork in the road take it and everyone thinks it's-- you know, oh, it's famous because it's so dumb. but the truth is it's very wise, especially when it comes to womenment because i think you can kind of do that. you can sort of do two
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things at once or one thing and then the next thing and then the next thing. women seem to have a slightly easier time doing that then men, i don't know why. >> rose: you call it fluidity. >> i don't know what i cool it but i do notice that a lot of the women who are older aren't doing what they did 20 or 30 years ago. and the men don't have quite the ability, partly because they are slightly more successful earlier. and it's harder to get out of the success and the income or whatever. but women seem to have a way of, i think i'll try this i think i'll try that and i have been very lucky at it. but i alsoes in as i do it that i probably am doing it a little bit on purpose. >> rose: nora gave a commencement speech to the wellesley college class of 1996. she talked about how women of her generation weren't meant to have careers that mattered or opinions or lives. from what we have just seen it's clear she took no notice. here is just a little of what she had to say on that day.
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>> one of the hundreds of things i didn't know when i was sitting here so many years ago. you are not going to be you, fixed and immutable you forever. we have a game we play when we're waiting for tables in restaurants where you have to write the five things that describe you on a piece of paper. when i was your age i would have put ambitious, wellesley graduate, daughter, democrat, single. ten years later not one of those five things turned up on my list. i was journalist, feminist, new yorker, divorced, funny. today not one of those five things turns up on my list. writer, director, mother,
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sister, happy. whatever those five years are for-- whatever those five things are for you today, they won't make the list in ten years. not that you still won't be some of those things but they won't be the five most important things about you. which is one of the most delicious things available to women. and more particularly to women than to men, i think. it's slightly easier for us to shift, to change our minds, to take another path. yogi berra, the former new york yakee manager who made a specialty of saying things that were famously mall adroit quoted himself at a recent commencement speech he gave. when you see a fork in the road, he said, take it. well, it's supposed to be a joke but as somebody said in a movie i made, don't laugh,
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this is my life. this is the life many women get to lead. two paths diverge in a wood, and we get to take them both. it's another of the nicest things about being women we can do that. did i say it was hard. yes. but let me say it again so that none of you can ever say the words nobody said it was going to be hard. but it's also encedably interesting and you are very lucky to have an interesting life as a real option. whatever you choose, however many roads you travel, i hope that you choose not to be a lady. i hope will you find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there. and i hope will you choose to make some of that trouble on behalf of women. thank you, good luck.
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the first act of your life is over. welcome to the best years of your lives. >> rose: the great thing about nora ephron at this table and at other tables and at other places was that she observed and thoughts. and expressed in a way that made us laugh, made us cry, made us think about things in a way that we had not thought about before. she will not likely be replaced easily. nora ephron, dead at 71. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh
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>> funning for charlie rose has been provided by the coca-cola company, supporting this program since 2002. an person express, additional funding employed by these funders
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