Magazine article Newsweek

Newsmakers

Magazine article Newsweek

Newsmakers

Article excerpt

Byline: Nicki Gostin (Marc Peyser)

Angela Lansbury's latest role is the awful great-aunt Adelaide in the delightful new kid flick "Nanny McPhee." She talked with NEWSWEEK's Nicki Gostin.

Why did you choose to play another villain?

Angela Lansbury: When I read the script, I thought, Oh, gosh, this is tremendous fun. Doing something like this is easy and lots of fun for me.

You're 80. Any plans to retire?

No, really not. I may just fizzle out [laughs]. I'm terribly picky now--let's put it that way--about what I do. This role is like going back to my roots--English character roles. That is, after all, what I first did when I started working in motion pictures.

You were at MGM in its heyday.

In the '40s, if you were sitting in the makeup department at MGM, you were sitting there with everybody. Ava Gardner, Lena Horne, Judy Garland--everybody was there gossiping and chattering.

Your first movie was "Gaslight."

I was terribly lucky. Unfortunately, MGM didn't really know what to do with me after, because I really was a young character actress. I wasn't your normal kind of beauty--I wasn't an orange queen or a peach queen, and I wasn't the girl next door.

You turned down Nurse Ratched in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"?

She was just too awful.

Your character in the original "Manchurian Candidate" wasn't all sweetness and light either.

But I wasn't performing frontal lobotomies, for God's sake.

Is there anything you wish you'd accomplished?

I want to make one really good movie. I haven't had one in 30 years. …

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