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TERESA WRIGHT / ACTRESS

How many actresses worked with William Wyler and Alfred Hitchcock in the ‘40s and Francis Ford Coppola in the ‘90s? Just Teresa Wright, who in 1942 earned both a best supporting actress Oscar for “Mrs. Miniver” and a best actress nomination for “Pride of the Yankees.” At 79, she’s selective about projects but relished the chance to play Matt Damon’s landlady in “John Grisham’s The Rainmaker.”

ACTS OF KINDNESS: “Really, the response to [“The Rainmaker”] has been so lovely that it makes me think that people are in need of something they can respond to emotionally, but not feel they had to live through a hurricane or something to have that feeling.”

DISASTER MENTALITY: “It seems so odd there are so many disaster stories with so much else going on to think about, but perhaps that’s the reason. Maybe this is a way of dealing with it by making it less real--the twisters and earthquakes we don’t have to feel responsible for, there’s nothing we can do about them.”

KIDS TODAY: “I just saw Matt Damon in ‘Good Will Hunting’ and I must say there are some scenes where the acting is just marvelous. Matt was just a rock to work with . . . so sure, and so there for you all the time. For a young man, that’s really quite unusual.”

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WINGING IT: "[Working with Coppola] was a really unique experience, very, very happy--a great learning experience. He does improvisation and I’d never done that before. I know a lot of young actors have, but it was new to me.”

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT: “Francis likes to have lots of rehearsal to get people relating to each other, which is so unusual these days. My first two films I worked with Willie Wyler and then with Hitchcock [“Shadow of a Doubt”] and they rehearsed a lot, and the difference from others that did not rehearse as much is quite obvious to me.”

FILM AT 11: "[Coppola’s] wife Ellie has done a documentary about this movie and it’s so good. In it you can really see his enjoyment and how he directs. I saw her documentary about ‘Apocalypse Now’ and what I got out of that was his determination. I can’t think of another director who wouldn’t have said, ‘This won’t work. I can’t do it.’ ”

TYPE CASTING: “I get an awful lot of scripts for television stuff and after you’ve played one woman in an old-age home you don’t want to do another. There’s no depth in those roles. It’s really not very rewarding.”


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