LOS ANGELES — Julie Andrews hasn’t appeared in front of the camera in a feature film for almost 10 years, but that doesn’t mean the 84-year-old screen legend has slowed down. She’s just moved on to other things, like voice work, book writing and even directing theatre.
In June, Andrews sat down with The Associated Press after filming a few segments for her guest programming night on Turner Classic Movies (airing Oct. 29) to talk about her new memoir, “Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years,” out today, her early onslaught of success and her life now. Although she sees herself as being in a “second career,” Andrews still enjoys looking back.
Remarks have been edited for clarity and brevity.
AP: You appear to have a very healthy relationship with criticism and separating what your hopes are for a project and how they might not have matched with the reception. How did you reach that kind of peace?
JULIE ANDREWS: You can’t win them all! But I hope in this case that they like the book. But you cannot please everyone. How could you? So many people are coming at it from their own point of view. It’s life.
AP: You also seem to not believe the narrative that you were always looking to shed the squeaky clean “nanny” image of “Mary Poppins” and “The Sound of Music.”
ANDREWS: With no disrespect, you can imagine that a great deal of it is manufactured by the press and of course the body of work speaks for itself which is somewhat squeaky clean, but there are so many movies, like “Duet for One” which I didn’t speak about. It’s not well known. But it’s all about learning yourself.
AP: How does it make you feel that those first roles also have had such an indelible impact on so many generations of children?
ANDREWS: I think it’s lovely. Where I’ve been so lucky is the films that I’ve made in the beginning and toward the end also, they have such longevity in that there is always a new generation to watch them and that’s where I think I got so lucky too. I wish I had made “On the Waterfront” or something, but I don’t think I would be as remembered as for the family movies.
AP: Was it difficult to have such iconic roles right at the start?
ANDREWS: No, it was a gift. I didn’t know they were going to be hugely successful and you just learn and hope and go with a certain kind of gut instinct.
AP: How is your life now? Are you still able to go to Gstaad?
ANDREWS: I live in the Hamptons out on Long Island. I do go (to Gstaad) and we’ve had it for 40 something years now. And also writing and directing these days and a little producing and developing some of the books. Emma and I have in all done about 30 books and some of them are actually sprouting. They’re all sprouting in different directions. And I’d love to direct more and I’d love to see some of the books we did come to fruition. That’s a whole new life for me. It’s like a second career.
AP: You do some voice work now for films…
ANDREWS: Thank goodness, they’re wonderful. I don’t have to put makeup on.
AP: But is there any chance you might get back in front of the camera for the right role?
ANDREWS: Well you never know but I doubt (it). I mean honest to God, at my age I’m so content and happy and I think I feel as though I’m moving toward something and I hope that I never stop working toward something, whatever it is, it’ll be interesting.
AP: Is there anything you feel like people don’t understand about you?
ANDREWS: That I really feel really blessed. I love life and I love my garden and I’m enjoying it now, very much so. But I don’t think I will know how to ever stop completely until I stop, because it’s been so much a part of my life for so long. I just always worked at something, as long as there’s a lovely break in between.
AP: Are roses still your favourite?
ANDREWS: I just had a rose named after me! There is a beautiful Julie Andrews rose coming out. I do think it’s beautiful.
Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr
Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press