Friday, April 6, 2018

Part of complex stories...

Lily Tomlin on roles for women, feminism and gay rights ... 

Lily Tomlin is a vocal and articulate thinker.

Lily Tomlin on roles for women, feminism and gay rights

The "Laugh-In" star brings her classic characters to Minneapolis for Twin Cities Pride. 

From workplace inequality to late-in-life divorce, Lily Tomlin has never shied away from topical, ripped-from-the-headlines subjects concerning women in her big- and small-screen roles.

Her latest performance in the Paul Weitz film “Grandma” — her first starring role in almost 30 years — as a lesbian matriarch who takes her granddaughter to get an abortion is getting festival acclaim. Her Net­flix series “Grace and Frankie,” which reunites her with “9 to 5” co-star Jane Fonda, follows the fraught friendship of two women whose husbands are in love with each other. It just got picked up for a second season.

But before all that, there was Edith Ann and Ernestine, just two of the beloved characters Tomlin created on “Laugh-In.” She’s bringing some of those greatest hits back to Minneapolis Thursday for “An Evening of Classic Lily Tomlin,” a Twin Cities Pride event.

In an interview with the Star Tribune, the droll and deadpan Tomlin, who wed longtime romantic and artistic partner Jane Wagner in 2013, mused on her latest roles, the state of feminism and the impending decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on gay marriage, which could come any day. Here are excerpts from the conversation. 
Q: You’ve been doing a ton of work, and “Grandma” has been getting great buzz. What do you look for in a role now? 
A: I guess a paycheck.
It’s hard to be completely serious about show business. I look for a project that I can enjoy doing for a length of time. And I want it to reflect me if it can, or some other aspect of humanity that I feel indebted to in some way.
Jane Fonda and I doing “Grace and Frankie,” we wanted to do something about women of our age who are in leading roles and who aren’t the object of the humor, and who make changes and survive and thrive and are just like younger people, except that they’re aging.

Lily Tomlin's favorite and famous character, the Telephone Lady.

Q: Working with Jane Fonda on “9 to 5” and now on “Grace and Frankie,” you’re still addressing issues for women. What’s changed since then?
A: A lot has changed, and not a lot. Especially in the last couple of years, it seems like there have been more and more roles for older women, and also better roles for women in general. But at the same time, there are plenty of roles that aren’t. More women are inching up into decision making roles in the business, but the business is still going to reflect the culture to a large extent. 

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