Rarely has a remake felt more contractually obligated than the 2015 version of Poltergeist.
"You get all kinds, Liza Minnelli said. "A couple of days ago I was interviewed by a guy from the Los Angeles underground press. He didn't exactly ask me what I ate for breakfast.
"He came in with this tape recorder, and the funny thing was, he kept stopping the machine every time he'd ask a question and then start it for my answer. So it must have sounded like a long speech by me, babbling away about the universe."
What about the universe?
"A large topic," Liza grinned. "No, what he did ask was, how could I justify appearing on the Hollywood Palace since I was a member of the Movement."
"The Movement," Liza said. "I guess my last album gave the Movement the idea I was a recruit. So he asked, in which direction is the Movement moving? So I said it's moving toward Truth. He started his tape recorder and looked happy.
"But I really wasn't in his bag. I'm afraid of LSD, for example - scared to death of it. I don't particularly care what other people do, although these 14-year-old kids saying they've found essential reality is, well, a little frightening. I don't want to live in a world of high. And then, suppose you took LSD and found out horrible things about yourself? Some people should keep those doors closed..."
Liza is a small, bright, pleasant girl with astonishingly appealing eyes. The eyes remind you of her mother, Judy Garland, and some of her singing style comes from that quarter as well. But not too much. She has nurtured her own talent since, at age 15, she played Anne Frank in a company touring Israel. She had an off-Broadway debut at, 17, won a Tony at 19, was an established concert star at the same age, and now at 22 is receiving warm reviews for her role in Albert Finney's new movie, "Charlie Bubbles." She will give a concert next Saturday night in the Auditorium Theater, but that was not the reason for this Chicago visit.
She came for a long weekend with her husband, Peter Allen. He and brother Chris, arriving from Australia like two jolly swagmen a few years ago, are having a considerable success at Mister Kelly's. So she watched their act ("Listen to this key change," she whispered during "We're Off to See the Wizard") and then jumped in a cab with Peter to dance at Maxim's between shows. "We think it's important to be together as much as possible," Liza said.
All the same, she confessed, there will probably never be an act featuring Peter, Chris and Liza, "We've tried singing together a couple of times, but our voices aren't compatible," she said. "We sound like the Sons of the Pioneers."
The chance to appear in "Charlie Bubbles" was a surprise. She was singing in London a year ago and met director Karel ("Morgan") Reisz. He recommended her to Finney who picked her for the movie "and now supposedly I'm a dramatic actor," she said. "Isn't that crazy? When I wanted a dramatic role, everybody kept coming up with musicals. So now I've finally played a dramatic part, and I want to do a musical, and everybody has more straight roles."
What kind of a musical?
"I have an idea. Just an idea. You could do 'The Fantasticks,' only do it outside, out in the fields in Italy or Spain, maybe. Do it strangely, the way it's written. Maybe steal from the style of Fellini's 'La Strada.'"
That makes it sound like a different breed from the MGM musicals her mother made famous: "The Wizard of Oz," "Till the Clouds Roll By," "Easter Parade" and all the others.
"Yes, I guess so," Liza said, "But mother doesn't give me any advice, all the same. She doesn't believe in it. She says she trusts me. That's a good feeling."
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