Can we discuss some more specific incidents in the film? You appear very nervous when your father turns up in the dressing room after your show.
Oh God, yeah! [She laughs] I always do these supposedly immoral things , and then after I’ve finished, I go, My God, what if my father sees this? I still think like that. Like the Vanity Fair issue that just came out, I was laying in bed last night and I just heard that my father was in town and I was thinking, My God, what if he gets on the airplane and, God, someone hands him the magazine and, oh my God, he’ll see me without a shirt on and, Oh God! What I keep trying to impress upon my father is that he mustn’t take what I do personally.
You worry about this and, yet, later in the film, you fellate a bottle.
Yeah [she shrugs], but my father wasn’t in the room.
But he’ll see the film. Won’t he find that shocking? Is that shocking?
Is what shocking? [she asks, stiffening] My giving head to a bottle? Why? You see people doing it in movies all the time. It’s a joke. What’s shocking? Why don’t you know if it’s shocking or not? Don’t you know your own feeling? It’s a joke! The idea of Truth Or Dare is a joke. It’s like all those childhood games: ‘I dare you to do this.’ It’s all a game. If everybody put on film what they did in those games when they were children, or what they did in their fraternity games, I mean, mmy God, they’d all be arrested.
Why did you start playing Truth Or Dare?
The dancers used to play it all the time in the beginning. I was never really part of it. The point of it is to relieve boredom, f… with people. It’s great for releaving tensions and animosities. Or if someone has a crush on somebody and the other person wants to find out. In the guise of the game, you can find these things out. Sometimes it would turn into these heavy sessions where it was all truths and no dares. Did you really do this? Were you sleeping with so-and-so? Everyone gets their feelings out and then, after you’ve played the game, everyone is closer. That’s the theory. It’s like group therapy.
Isn’t it dangerous?
It is, yeah. But every time we played it and went all the way and got into it, it was realy intense. Like, ‘I think you are behaving very stupidly.’ Or, ‘You did heroin the other night and we all know.’ Everybody looks at each other differently the next day because the truth brings people closer together.
The game seems to start with a lot of sexual stuff. You dare a dancer to expose his penis.
That’s right. [She says, chuckling] The sexuality is always at the beginning and everyone goes through these primal curiosities about… things.The exhibitionistic tendencies come out: ‘You show me this, I’ll show you this.’ Then you get down to the nitty-gritty. This has happened with me when I’ve been playing the game with friends since my tour’s been over with, and the same thing always happens: Everyone gets past the sex things, then you get into the real s… about people.
You seem to have a strange relationship with your brother Martin. In the movie, you expose him as an alcoholic.
Martin is a very hard person to get along with. He’s an elusive, enigmatic character. He’s very charming, but, yes, he’s an alcoholic. He’s very tortured, and I speak to him, but it’s hard for me because I find myself being very judgemental. What I always do is start saying. ‘You’ve got to stop doing that, you must do this.’
The mother then again. In Alcoholics Anonymous it’s called a codependent. You get into this dealing with their drinking by harping on it.
I’ve had to get him out of the habit of calling me whenever he needed something from me. I have to feel that he loves me for just me and not for my money. We have a strained relationship. I know he loves me and I love him, but it’s difficult.
Families are funny things. You don’t choose them…
You certainly don’t! All of my brothers and sisters are individually… unique. I have completely different relationships with all of them. Emotionally we’re all pretty needy in some way, because of my mother. I became an over-achiever to get approval from the world. It’s unconscious, but it’s always there.
The most moving part of the film is where you visit your mother’s grave.
I still cry when I watch that [she says, apparently on the verge of tears] It was the single most… the greatest event in my life, my mother dying. What happened when I was 6 years old changed forever how I am. I can’t describe in words the effect it had. That’s when the die was cast. I know if I’d had a mother I would be very different. It gave me a lot of what are traditionally looked upon as masculine traits in terms of my ambitiousness and my aggressiveness. Mothers, I think, teach you maners and gentleness and a certain kind of, what’s the word? I don’t want to say subservience, but a patience, which I’ve never had. Then, when my mother died, all of a sudden I was going to become the best student, get the best grades. I was going to become the best singer, the most famous person in the world, everybody was going to love me. I’ve been to analysis and I understand that about myself. My brother, on the other hand, decided he was going to set fire to everything.
There are cynics who might perceive the visit to your mother’s grave as contrived or choreographed.
It wasn’t choregraphed in the least [she says, scowling] I hadn’t been to the grave in many years. Actually, it took us 45 minutes to find it. It was very sad in a way; we just could not find the gravestone. Then – we found it.
When, in the film, you visit a throat specialist and he asks you wether you want the consulation filmed, Warren Beatty says, “She doesn’t want to live off-camera, much less talk!” Is there a grain of truth in that?
I think what Warren was trying to say is that he is very shy and private and he doesn’t understand my lack of inhibition because he’s the opposite of me. What’s so intimate about my throat? I mean, my God, everyone knows when I’m having an abortion, when I’m getting married, when I’m getting divorced, who I’m breaking up with. My throat is now intimate? Anyway, the cameras didn’t follow me around 24 hours a day. They weren’t in the room when I was f…ing.
That’s an almost surprising omission.
But the point of that scene is to show how different Warren and I are. He lives a very isolated life. I maintain that as much as I’ve revealed about myself, I haven’t given up my complete deck of cards and been totaly emotionally raped.
Were you upset that the Vatican objected to your stage show?
The Italians, typically, overreacted. They said all the religious imagery and symblism was really sacrilegious, that there were men in bras and I was masturbating onstage. So they put all this propaganda in the Italian newspapers to try and put kids off coming. It really hurt me because I’m Italian, you know? It was like a slap in the face. I felt incredibly unwelcome. And misunderstood.