Even 67-year-old actresses can have their moments of Internet infamy, as Lily Tomlin discovered this week, when the sister blogs of celebrity snark, Gawker and Defamer, posted guerrilla video shot on the set of I Heart Huckabees, the 2004 film in which Tomlin clashed with director David O. Russell. Along with the sparks, F-bombs and even the "C" word fly.
The video was the subject of a New York Times article in 2004, when it was rumored to be making the rounds of West Coast talent agencies.
Miami New Times spoke to Tomlin the day after it appeared online for the first time. New Times was interviewing the actress in advance of her upcoming show at the Carnival Center, but we couldn't resist a mention of the formerly clandestine video, which has since migrated to YouTube.
"Oh my God, the one in the car is on there too?" Tomlin asked, referring to one of the two videos, which were shot during two different scenes. In "the one in the car," Tomlin tells Russell: "Leave me the fuck alone! Do you know what the fuck is going on, period? Fuck you! Fuck you motherfucker!"
"I can't believe the damn car is in there. I've never seen it. Is that when I'm sitting in the seat and really going nuts? Oh my God, I'm gonna die when I see that," Tomlin told New Times, laughing.
"I love David," she said. "There was a lot of pressure in making the movie -- even the way it came out you could see it was a very free-associative, crazy movie, and David was under a tremendous amount of pressure. And he's a very free-form kind of guy anyway."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Miami New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Miami's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
In the second video, shot on the set of the office of Tomlin's detective character, Russell turns the freak out around on Tomlin: "Fuck you! I'm just trying to help you, you understand me? I'm not here to be fucking yelled at!" He sweeps his arm across the desk at which Tomlin sits, scattering its contents. "I've been working on this thing for three fucking years, not to be yelled at by some fucking cunt! So just fuck yourself!"
"Adults have fights and go through stuff," Tomlin said Tuesday. "I know some people are more dignified in the world, that if you transgress against that kind of professionalism, that it's some kind of great sin, but I don't see it that way."
She called the episode "in a way liberating... now it's all over, and so what, and I don't have to keep up some great pretention I'm the most dignified, eloquent, elegant, perfect, smart-thinking, kind, generous person. I'm just a plain old human with a whole bunch of flaws."
Tomlin mostly laughed off the incident, and the leak of the video from the set. "After poor Britney Spears, with her poor little legs open ... I'm not the least bit upset about it," she said. "That's part of the upside and the downside of the Internet." --Frank Houston