Annette Bening on playing Academy Award-winning actress in 'Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool'

The actress visited ABC News' "Popcorn With Peter Travers" and talked about playing real-life actress Gloria Grahame.
17:33 | 02/07/18

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Transcript for Annette Bening on playing Academy Award-winning actress in 'Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool'
Hang. You next to it couldn't. Some acute illness. Soon be setting if he'd been. I get the scene percent so three times. Currency won't disc looking to. Or. Electronic Johnson. Who absolutely if only to change can come into my room has salute me. They need to tighten contents class. Community six needs or income continued asking. I'm. Hello everybody I am Peter Travers in this is popcorn where we tell you what's happening at the movies and I thought to rip frequently. Called film stars don't die in Liverpool so you're saying to yourself what watt. That means what is it and you know lucky for you my guess today's net Benning and stars in this movie so welcome in that thing you later thank you for having me which always great to thank you now I see it there's an egg in your eyes and your smile there's based. F yeah. It. Anyway. Film stars don't Diane Liverpool is a story. An actress and gory Ingram. Look I'm telling you that I've I bet you're now in his eighth about Gloria Grahame. I personally blowout I was wondering now I did I mean she won an Academy Award for best supporting actor for the bad and beautiful. And there's could in the review that I'd love showing her acceptance speech where she barely stops. She just goes thank you very much. Larry classy. And off she went. You know I talked to Terri more Newton who was nominated for the Academy Award in the same category with glory with a friend first you can. And Terry was in come back little Sheba who she was kind enough to talk to me she's such as a friend of Gloria is. And Terri said she was awesome shoes Superfund. A loyal friend and also incredibly private. Which was reassuring to me to hear because it was a heart it was hard to find out a lot about Gloria. But that's. It with a lot of actors it's kinda great that some mystery absolutely. I hope you know we can talk can end we're fund but we don't give away what's. One of those things that drive us and that's that's to the people closest to ya know I I was definitely seeing the irony of I'm a pretty private person Billick I'm very. I'm trying to be very open in my work but in my heart I'm relatively private which is is doable. And that I wanted to find out every detail about Gloria she was very private and also didn't give a lot of interviews and she was also kind of she was a person who a lot of people even at the time. She was considered kind of second tier she did win the Academy Award chosen some great movies in a lonely place I'll that's what they've crazy. Yeah my favorite tune. But there's a lot of things about Gloria that nobody ever knew she was very proud. Well and we see that I mean you should set this up a little bit when I'm hate her basically it's close to the end of her life. She was. She'd had a big career in Hollywood and she was really having a hard time making a living she had been married four times. Ship for kids should really tempestuous life and at this point she was really doing whatever she could she she was very serious about aircraft. But she needed work and one of the places she is able to get work was in England doing theaters so that's where she was. And that's when she met Peter turner who was. Is a was at that time he was a young actor from Liverpool who also happen to be living in the same London boarding house as Gloria. And they met de had a fling let's say and then. It grew into a relationship that became very deep and very important to both of them. He took her to Liverpool where he was from which she thought was the most exotic place. And he had this huge family. Wonderful loving tight decent group of people he was the youngest of nine. His mother was an. Using OK it's great I don't seem played by Julie Walters who fears and Janie ballots also playing Peter Burnett who with court in amazing. But what what I'm seeing in this movie too is where everybody that sees it will city is that its Gloria Grahame. Having this fling with Peter turner but actually falling in love with the stamp. Had gotten absolutely there like a comfort zone absolutely laid that she's had with. Yeah that's the perfect way to put it they were her comfort zone you and when Peter first was going with glory he took her up there and they were all like great this is your new girlfriend. Okay issue happens to be a former movie stars thirty years older than you but at the catch up. And yeah ID there a they really to occurrence of that in the story that we're telling witches. Also what happens later witches they've broken up they have Peter Gloria a pretty they have they have their fights. And they had broken now. She's back in England he doesn't even know she's there she's doing a play in Sheffield. And she gets ill and she calls. And she ends up in Liverpool with profoundly. And bathroom but the stories about their love and this incredibly decent group of people who did the right thing including Peter and really took care of her when I was watching this. Movie and thinking of you afterward. I remember you read the grifters. Ivory heights he that role in the grifters as very glory Ingraham. It's me. Because she's a bad girl. Butch he's got a secret heart there's something going on Stephen Frears told me to watch her. Really yeah you didn't know that I didn't just a study that frequently sat it. Well here's Stephen Frears did not call me and that he didn't is what I told leader by the way Rick at a local kid is really easier. Hey so gallantly made the movie which is. Quite a few years ago with thirty years ago. Stephen Frears gave me a greats. Piece of advice he said watch Gloria Grahame so I started to watch her. And that's when I really became acquainted with her movies and fell in love with her and sudden fear. Hand the big heat. It's wonderful to talk to you about this because we're also to talking about. A great performance that you're giving now how about somebody. In the past where we are also bringing up the movies that got me dad you know we live in an Arab where everything is quick. I need to see Star Wars you know run yesterday or and I need to go and see this and yet the history of what movies on our. Kind of gets lost in the movie we see that Gloria is recognized some places and not in other places I was bootleg C. She won the Academy Award what was that. For that he had no absolutely even now of course many people I didn't know Irwin when Steve winters said hey watch this actress I was ignorant about. So that's true about Gloria. And at the time that this was going on she had also become not famous. So by the time she was at this chapter in her life with Peter a lot of people to know who she was and I I talked I had heard. The robber Janeiro had told my husband without he had taken class with Gloria so I called him recently and he said yes he was he with Stella Adler who was this legend Jerry. Teacher that. Erupted near static with and she was that she was not yet incredibly brilliant woman her books are great too. But he sad someone said to him you know who that is of the bear that's Gloria Graham. And Bob said well. He didn't know who she won a seat and he didn't certainly didn't recognize certain that even when someone's at that was her because a lot of people just didn't he was a kid and can a lot of people is to know she was. He said she did not get up into scenes. But she would sit and listen to the lectures. And I thought okay that's kind of impressive she's already had this big career she's won an Academy Award. And there she is an acting class in New York she was living in Manhattan plaza for those people in New York notes we'll know what that means. And done. Yes so she she had a real eye towards her craft should started on the stage. Iceland. Battle move it now know that she did that add up when I talk to you we always wondered talking about the state we always wind up talking about what you. Did it started and learn and what very touching about Gloria Grahame. In her life in in this movie because Vanessa read game ball people shows up as her mother. You know. Is that corny wanted to do Shakespeare she wanted to do the classics. She train there's so many things I love the scene where you're basically. Not knowing that Peter Turner's watching. And doing those I don't know what vocal exercises are that makes it possible for somebody you had to take me. To be on stage for two hours changed to do. You know the story really starts. With Peter Turner's love of Gloria and and the fact that when the whole thing happen to him and he had to write this book and it just came out of him. And all of us that worked on it ended up feeling the same way as Peter we all sort of fell in love with Gloria. In the way that he did. And the fact that one of the things I love about Gloria is even at the end of her life. When she was really struggling no wonder who she was that she wasn't getting work she couldn't get a movie. She's take yourself that seriously. I mean I'm sure there were days it was hard in May be humiliating and you know to go out an addition or no winds asking you to do anything. But you know what she just was a survivor. She was how little a lot of fun everybody that I've met that knew her and I've met people since I made the movie I go to a screening in. An actor will compensate my god I native I made an act I data moving with her in the seventies you know and and that Tommy's story about. About Gloria hundred go to lunch and have a good time and then you know she was I loved that about her I respect that I really respect that and and the fact that she had this man. Who took care of her in the way that he did. I imagine that Gloria. Had a lot of fun with all of her. Husbands eaten. But I think there was a lot of trauma and not much stability and suddenly she's with this guy who's incredibly. He's just a decent person and the and you lobster and she loves him so it's kind of unlikely story. And he doesn't know either you know he doesn't really know everything hope ever done or we doesn't Oceania has yet is totally the teller tell him. And then to have someone fall in with you that does it isn't falling in love with the reputation. Right now. And that we see you even get to dance with Billy Elliott had to. Dream come true must've had a change in how how would only sign thank you disk. Pull this thing that's happening out of this it is. And a rise. Well he's a great idea Matt Greene Holtz who wrote the script I mean that was. When Barbara broccoli and Colin beings who are our producers started putting it together they hired. Matt who is a screenwriter from Manchester and that really set Savvis op in this way that I think we made everything. Work because Matt has this kind of strength is a real guy died but he's also so tender and so. And Sosa and such a loving guy loved Gloria so yeah that's seen he wrote that they start to dance and in fact that this did happen and Gloria dead. Flirt with Peter cash and said hey you wanna comment mine flat we'll dance and they did. So then when we shot it it was just so much I was great I could've done many more takes a cut and avoided going back to the room where I with. They'll help you can't really do have to go look at the end that's well now. Get there's there are things the movie doesn't tell you which is good why should it you now but if you're playing a character we get to see whether. Which she running away from Hollywood has in Hollywood say we don't want you anymore you know I don't quite know what that was. I don't think she was running away I don't think she had that kind of freedom I think she was trying to make a living she had no money. And in our film which is a stylized. Version of her life. Heard New York apartment is a beautiful. Beautifully designed to and I really respect to Paul language and and don't art director who created the style of the movie. And it's not the real life story because in real life she was living in Manhattan plaza and generally modest New York apartment. But she was just trying to make a living she would do she did theatre in Wisconsin she did television she did. Anything that she could find just to you know pay the bills. Well I remember with glorious he had done that being. Musical Oklahoma which would you know she's 80 and he's singing I can't think now and he had. A lot of problems with it in you or movie. We see a clip from not that movie but she's singing voice than all but she's not even sing and she's not so easy dobbs Newton. She's dubbed but she dances and heat and god. Man it's hey haven T had the wave moving. But she was so. She was so on she sold under did that's what I love about that number she walks around the whole bar. But she doesn't overdo it she so. Simple and in the way that she does her evening. I think that's what made her so extraordinary and she did have that kind of combination of qualities. That is. Difficult to describe. Because she wasn't just sexy and she wasn't just sassy and she wasn't just innocent she wasn't just night. There's this kind of interesting mixture going on in glory and all the time. Yeah I never saw naive bio we've thought that she had had some pretty hard knocks you now in life and that it riots in those performances. He saw on that in human desire with Broderick Crawford. You know he's an abusive. Oh my god and she's basically saying you know will better watch it with me. You know this is it the number of. Times that Gloria is hit smacked. Slapped. Annie during that time and that was the norm and an especially if you were the bad girl if you're the good early probably aren't gonna get smacked. But if you're the bad girl which Gloria was often. Ash and brought her car offered in that film not only does he hit her he beats her up and it's it's hard to watch. But that was the norm then and Gloria came up in a different time. You as an actress in this world now are you. Happy. In your career is this something because last time we talked about value of the theater and I think you waiting for you have for US market for kids right. One was gonna do one was. He'll let you know if they'll ever see people that happened a couple. A rifle at the brokerage all wealth then you're not gonna have moved to new York and come to the stage soon. All right well. This show we ended song first time you were on the show I can't remember when it was. You did him for me alone now all you have to say you always have to sing and you always complain about it and then do it and it's beautiful. And I was gonna sing onward Christian soldiers Lebanon in the nude. We'll chin and went. It. Isn't so that. You can. Aren't producing with me I know what I would you know Joyce of the world idea that it till July 2. The world long holidays come it's actually very Christian but that's a cut its effect July 2 yeah. Though lowered is than and its priests. And hurricane that's. Can't go there and that's all that's down at okay. Anyway thank you thank you think you and you know best of luck with this but they think it's not let it. Somebody getting to do the thing that they'd like to thank you very much wonderful you when you do moved to New York I'm gonna be the first. You are and what you promise I promise that the key here that's it do you think you're right.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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