Calling someone a “triple threat” in Hollywood is just about the highest praise there is. Well, actress/ singer/ dancer/ author/ musician/ songwriter/ producer/ performance artist, Ann Magnuson is an octuple threat! She has acted in Hollywood blockbusters, Off-Broadway plays, TV sitcoms and indie films, fronted various bands and written for numerous publications. She’s been seduced (and fed on) by vampire David Bowie in The Hunger, had her neck broken by a drug dealer in Clear and Present Danger, romanced robot John Malkovich in Making Mr. Right, played Jodie Foster’s manic real estate agent in Panic Room, told off Meryl Streep in Before and After, seduced River Phoenix in A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon and was the cigarette girl who’s sassy pals with Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan. In her latest film, she plays wife to Christopher Walken in One More Time. We’ve been friends since 80-something and I asked her a few questions last night…
So, you made out with Bowie in The Hunger and more recently were married to Christopher Walken in One More Time, how do the two experiences compare?
Both Bowie and Walken were/are iconic and heroes to me and I was super nervous and ultra excited to work with both. I see them as being perfect bookends to my ongoing performance art project called, “Actress!” Of course, I plan to keep acting (as long as people keep calling – can’t pass up those potential Betty White roles that loom ahead) but those two experiences really sum it all up for me.
With Bowie in The Hunger, for me was about 4 days maybe more plus, a few days to prep – get my hair cut and colored in the latest New Wave style by the leading hair stylist in London at the time. It was the first days for the shoot, so everyone was a bit nervous but it was obvious David was so excited to be there. His enthusiasm made every room he entered sparkle… with stardust I dare say!
We were all SO excited when that came out. We were ALL up on that counter kissing him, we were so thrilled for our girl!
I kissed him extra long and hard for ALL OF YOU!
Tongue?Flash forward to the last summer in the Hamptons and your movie husband Chris Walken…
Of course, I was just taking his lead – mein gott, was that guy PASSIONATE about his ‘work’… SO much tongue I was in shock! Method Acting at it’s finest! Also, his hands kept creeping up my thighs with each take. Honey, I was sweating bullets! I think the make up person had to work overtime with the powderpuff!
I couldn’t believe ANY of it was happening! It all still fees like a dream!
We actually shot the Walken film TWO years ago! Last spring was the premiere at Tribeca Film Festival. I have some amazing video of when Amber Heard hit the red carpet… It was CRAZY – you can hear me yelling towards the end of the paparazzi madness DAY OF THE FUCKIN’ LOCUST! I hate walking that damn red carpet but LOVED shooting video of Amber – who, I swear, showed up and just radiated that certain WOW factor, that IT that some people have. I thought, holy moly, it’s like seeing Lauren Bacall show up in color in Key Largo!
Later, at the after party, I mentioned DAY OF THE LOCUST to some of her young entourage and they said, ‘What’s that?’ Oh dear…
Of course. Did you guys hit it off? She plays your daughter, right…?
Amber plays my stepdaughter. Actually, sort of stepdaughter 5 times removed since I am Walkens’ characters SIXTH WIFE! Yeah, he’s THAT kind of a guy. I hit it off really well with Amber. She’s great. I think she’s the cat’s meow. Johnny Depp is VERY lucky. I also hit it off with everyone in the cast. Great, great cast! Adore Kelli Garner, Hamish Linklater and of course Oliver Platt, the greatest guy EVER! And Christopher Walken! ADORE him! I made SURE we had a rapport – because
A. It would be essential, since we played a married couple and
B. HE’S CHRISTOPHER WALKEN! Before the shoot I had heard from Chris’ former agents that he was very shy, and could appear to be remote. So, I worked extra hard on making him feel at ease. The old Southern hostess DNA sprang into action. Before long we were having a merry old time. I asked him LOTS of questions and he told me incredible stories! I told him, You need to write a memoir!
“Naw,” he said. “Then you have to talk about people”. He’s very old world courtly in that way.
I’ve seen interviews and he doesn’t have a cell or use the internet AT ALL. Old school…
That’s right. No cell. No internet. But he does like to watch television. His commentary about a lot of the reality shows was PRICELESS!
I LEARNED soooooooo much about acting just being in his presence! I watched him intensely when he was on camera. Those scenes at the dinner table (which you can see in the trailer) where I’m beaming at him aren’t ‘acted’. Watching him do his ‘Walken thing’ was so delightful. It was what I thought my character would do – I mean, his character is really a jerk, especially to his daughters, but my character wouldn’t see ANY of that, she’d love it all! But that twinkle in my eye when they do cut to me isn’t ‘technique’, that’s me being SO HAPPY to in the presence of Christopher Walken!
THE most unique phrasing and line delivery ever. I can only imagine the variations…
Yes! Variations-a-go-go! I never got tired of watching him! And he encouraged me to improv. I jump up and kiss him in the scene where he previews his new song to the family and he didn’t know I was going to do that. I was NOT going to be in Christopher Walken film playing his wife and not kiss him! He loved it. You can see him smile bashfully after I do that. The kiss was just a peck -not a full on Bowie Tongue Extravaganza but…at this age for both parties, that’s plenty!
One More Time, directed by Robert Edwards, starring Christopher Walken, Amber Heard, Ann Magnuson, Kelli Garner, Hamish Linklater & Oliver Platt is in select theaters and video on demand, on April 8. (Clip below, plus the first 6 minutes of The Hunger, one of the best opening film sequences ever…. it’s KILLER! Watch.)
Opening sequence of The Hunger…