Fox Searchlight Pictures opens The Second Best Marigold Hotel nationwide on March 6th, 2015.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Do you think the characters in The Second Best Marigold Hotel would still be friends if they would have met in their teenage years?
Celia Imrie: I think they would. I believe that people don't actually change that much in their lives, but it is an interesting latter half of their life that they're meeting in. I don't know. They are rather, sort of, lumped together, but maybe it's something to do with their age that makes them more tolerant, perhaps, than when they were teenagers. They're rather attractive characters, I think, and endlessly interesting.
NYC MOVIE GURU: How would you define a good friend?
CI: Somebody that makes you laugh. Friends are terribly important, and, after all, you choose them. Whereas family, as much as you adore them, sometimes they don't quite understand you in the way that friends do.
NYC MOVIE GURU: The film deals with the issue of happiness in a subtle way. How would you define true happiness?
CI: It's one of those things that, the minute you start to talk about it, the word sort of runs through your fingers. Challenges are very fulfilling and good. The fright of a first night play, for instance, is terrifying, but the happiness to get to the end of it when the curtain call happens, that's true happiness. It's a sort of sense of achievement. I also believe that laughter is one of the great cures of life, so if you can make people laugh, then that's happiness for me.
NYC MOVIE GURU: The Second Best Marigold Hotel's location is in one of the most spiritual places of the world, India. How challenging is it to find spirituality in this materialistic world?
CI: I think it's up to you. I'd rather balk at all the materialistic flaunt of the world. I hate it. Naturally, being in India, you're constantly reminded of how little the majority of people take the materialistic world. They are an extraordinary race, I think, and the most spiritual I've ever come across. If I would lose all of my material possessions, I would roar with laughter. We place far too much involvement with it, and it's up to you to find your own spiritual outlet. It's easy---you just have to look up at the stars sometimes. .
NYC MOVIE GURU: The film has a lot to say about old age. Do you think that age is a state of mind? How do you feel about the word "old"?
CI: I loathe the word "old." It's in your head. I believe that I'm still 26. Of course I'm not. This film gives you the spirit and energy to just keep going. Don't give in to age or whatever people want to slap on you.
NYC MOVIE GURU: The characters in the film seem like they're still growing up even in their twilight years. How do you find the right balance between being in touch with your inner child and being a grown up?
CI: All actors, if they're truthful, don't grow up really. After all, we are playing all the time. Without being embarrassing, we have to be aware of the child-like behavior sometimes or sometimes be absolutely honest in a way that perhaps grownups forget to be. So, it's quite important to be in touch with your inner child. It's important for actors to be open to that all the time, certainly.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Some of the characters also seem more optimistic or pessimistic than others. Where in the spectrum of optimism vs pessimism do you find yourself?
CI: It would not be realistic to be optimistic all of the time. Don't get me wrong---there have been many great ups and downs in my life. But I would always swing toward optimism, actually. That's how I am. I've been optimistic since I was a child.
NYC MOVIE GURU: In various ways, each of the characters has their own individuality. How challenging is it for you to find and express your individuality?
CI: If you choose to be in this limited world of acting, you are given the opportunity to change yourself into many different people. So, in a way, it's quite a good idea to keep whatever it is that's individual about you sort of flexible. You have to literally be a chameleon and change yourself into others, but having chosen this slightly gambling life, you're already slightly out of the ordinary and slightly brave. A lot of people would like to know what happens next, but I think that the majority of actors, and certainly for me, I love not knowing what's happening next, so you're already outside the norm. There are so many things that I want to do, and I'm still waiting for another marvelous, huge part that will come along, so you ain't seen nothing yet.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Your performances, especially the one in this film, are filled with charisma and subtlety. Do you think that charisma and subtlety can be learned or are actors born with it?
CI: I think you don't look at it too closely otherwise it might fly away. You can learn to be subtle. I don't think you can learn charisma, though. I don't think that anybody with it really believes that they have it. It's too ethereal. If you think you've got it, you haven't. It's like when people say that they're eccentric. Well, any eccentric doesn't think that they are. It's all rather fragile.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Each character in the film has inner beauty to a certain degree. Is inner beauty underrated nowadays?
CI: I don't think you can comment on your own inner beauty, if you've got it or if you haven't. But I think that it's a lovely thing to see when you come across it in somebody else. It's something that dawns on you when you begin to get to know somebody rather than something that you see immediately. It's a good thing to admire in people.
NYC MOVIE GURU: If you could design your life in any film genre, which genres would you like it to be?
CI: Like any great play, I'll cite Shakespeare here, he has moments of great drama and great comedy, right after each other. So, if I was to choose, I would want both of those things in my life. Having great drama and then great comedy because you can't really have one without the other.
NYC MOVIE GURU: What kind of comedy would your life be, though?
CI: I'm a great admirer of Lucille Ball, for instance. Or John Lithgow. I love that kind of mad or farcical comedy.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Which of the actors from the Golden Age of Cinema would you like to work with if you could travel back in time?
CI: All the great stars of black-and-white movies. Bette Davis comes to mind immediately. Ingrid Bergman, Katharine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Gloria Swanson, and all of these great women. They're so glamorous.
NYC MOVIE GURU: What do you think would make for a great double feature with The Second Best Marigold Hotel?
CI: That's a tricky one because I think that this film is a beautiful journey on its own. A silent film of Charlie Chaplin would go well with it perhaps.