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Sally Kirkland        

interviews by Douglas Eby

Sally Kirkland has been acting since the time she attended an all-girls high school, and she went on to become the youngest person to be accepted at the Actors Studio in New York. Her performance in "Anna" (1987) won her an Oscar nomination as Best Actress, and a number of awards. A few of her many other starring roles include "Cold Feet", "Revenge", "Best of the Best" and a star cameo in "JFK." As a young girl, she appeared in "The Way We Were" and "The Sting." Her film "Cheatin' Hearts", which she also executive produced, was picked by Robert Redford for a Sundance Film Festival. She's a producer, acting teacher and theater director, yoga master and ordained Minister of Light in M.S.I.A. (the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness).

She is part of a new book "It Works For Me" - a collection of interviews with 13 celebrities talking about alternative health and spiritual practice. Following are excerpts from interviews by Douglas Eby published in the magazines LA Girl Guide and New Perspectives - a Journal of Conscious Living (link to full article).

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"What really matters in film and television, as in life, is the soul connection people have. I always try to bring soul and the heart in all of the performances I do. And if you have pain in your life, you can transmute it into an artistic expression. In "Anna" I used the emotional recall of my own clinical death experience, and brought light to the darkness. Similarly, as my role of David's mother on "Roseanne" I try to bring light to a very dysfunctional mother. I have absolutely used the tragedy in my life - and if you don't have a spiritual path, you can get lost in that, and not be able to walk away from it. If you're playing the heavy, and you find the humanity and the light in the tragedy, it allows the audiences to find the light in themselves, even in the darkest moments.

"I am talking with other women producers, directors, actors and writers for potential future projects, and I'm optimistic about women helping make films having more positive social value, but it's disheartening to me that being a woman can't automatically warrant a spiritual or consciousness-raising script. The problem, if there is one, is that everybody has to pay their dues first. Like Ron Howard had to do a chase movie with Roger Corman before he was allowed to do "Cocoon". By the same token, a lot of women directors are having to do chase scenes and violence in order to do what they really want to do. Unfortunately, commercial films right now are still action and all that stuff. I got a whole bunch of erotic thrillers made in the blink of an eye, but it took three years to get my film "Cheatin' Hearts" made, because there was no violence in it, no T&A.

"Lesbian films and characters are becoming more popular and mainstream, but what is lesbianism? In the film "Everything Relative", women were very connected with each other, some were in relationships and sleeping with others and some not, but the difference didn't seem to really matter. My whole day to day existence is as bonded with women as with men, yet I don't seem to be jumping into bed a whole bunch, with anybody. Actually, I'm quite a loner. The people that are in my life are men and women, straight and gay, bisexual and asexual, black and white, yellow and brown - and it doesn't necessarily have to do with the sexual aspect. Yes, I've had affairs with men, with women, been married and divorced twice, but my expression in life is not about waiting for the perfect man or perfect woman to go off into the sunset with; it's more about God-Realization and Soul Transcendence, and living the love day to day with what people's spirits seem to put in front of me.

"There have been many periods of my life when I've been celibate. It's just a leftover from my Hindu days, I guess, when you have to be celibate in order to be a sanyasin or swami. But when I joined the Church of the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness in 1972, I came to realize I don't have to be a monk as long as I'm living my life with spiritual consciousness - I can simply be me. As I live my life here and in New York, even though my spaces are filled with my paintings and music and artiness, I always have to have a space that I'm living in where I can monitor the quiet, where I can be in solitude if I want. Here in my space in West Hollywood, I can go in and out of meditation quickly, and days go by where I'm not aware of the outside world at all.

"I love sensuality and intimacy. I don't know what I would do without it, but I go for long periods where my artistic and spiritual expression give me the same high. This whole past seven months has been, for me, very female bonding, cinematically. Ally Sheedy and I became best friends working on our new film "Amnesia", which has overtones in a way of "First Wives Club" - but is much more black and sinister; it's definitely sweet revenge by three women on a man - in this case a fallen Catholic priest. Then I went on to do "Hotel Paradiso" for the "Women" series, produced by Playboy for Showtime television. I played a married writer whose marriage had gone sour, as had her writing. My character drives to a motel in the desert, where in her fantasy/reality she has a wonderful love affair with a young couple that puts a fire in her writing as well as her marriage. I must admit, it was a turn-on to do a love scene with a woman. It was incredibly sensual, and simultaneously spiritual. I had played Eileen Brennan's lesbian lover in "Private Benjamin" and as Anna to Christina (played by the very beautiful Paulina Porizkova) in "Anna", which was a covert, emotional, rather than physical, lesbian love affair.

"I am completing a two year Masters of Theology course in Practical Spirituality through Peace Theological Seminary, and have been involved in a spiritual journey pretty much all of my life. When I was a child, I was all the time fantasizing and role playing from seeing church statues, and religious paintings in the Metropolitan Museum, and thinking when I grew up I wanted to be Mary, Jesus, Saint Francis or Saint Theresa. My friends would say I was nuts and had delusions of grandeur, so then I changed it to 'I want to be a movie star' and that seemed to be acceptable; it was okay to want to grow up to be Shirley Maclaine or Jane Fonda or something.

"I'm so grateful that women in the film and television industry are getting ahead, and that we are finally being allowed to be as diverse as we are."

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   related Talent Development Resources pages:

The Inner Actor blog.....

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.....acting : teen/young adult...........

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acting : articles

acting : books

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