The Suncoast Post Interview of the Year! Jacqueline Bisset at the Sarasota Film Festival
Jacqueline Bisset is a genuine film superstar! I had the opportunity to interview her one on one during the Sarasota Film Festival! It was a special highlight for me. I decided to go off script and just converse with the elegant, charismatic, charming lady.
Friday, April 8, 2022 – The Interview
We opened the interview talking about Film Festival President Mark Famiglio and how he called me ten and a half years ago on Christmas Eve requesting that we take over the management of the festival website. It has been a 10-year love affair. Jacqueline was so interested and complimented me on the website!
I asked her what her thoughts were about Sarasota! She had just gotten into town the night before and was so impressed with the Skyway Bridge coming from the Tampa Airport. She called the bridge “astonishing.” The last time she was in Sarasota was for the French Film Festival in the early nineties. She said that Sarasota looks idyllic! When she thinks of Sarasota, she thinks of blue and white. In fact, she told me that she had brought several blue and white outfits that she hadn’t had a chance to wear yet. Note – on the closing night, she wore an exquisite blue and white outfit!
Jacqueline flew in from LA, where she lives full-time. She felt that our town was low-key, much less so than LA! We got into a conversation about food and the fresh fish that is available all of the time. We talked about the village of Cortez, Florida, which is the oldest fishing village in the state. She stopped the interview and “Googled” Cortez! She said wow, right from the boat to the table, pretty cool. We agreed that I would send her some pictures of the village.
She wanted to know if this is a great retirement community, and I explained that we are rated one of the best retirement communities in the country, the latest accolade coming from US News & World Report!
We turned to one of her very early films in the 1970s. She put on a big smile. “Airport” is a classic! She said that Dean Martin was a goofball who kept everyone laughing all of the time. He used to walk around with a glass of apple juice, making everyone believe he was drunk. All of the girls in the cast adored Dean. When Dean was there, it was joke, joke, joke! Bert Lancaster was the serious one who kept everyone in line. I said, “that was some cast,” and Jaqueline replied, “as far as I know, they have all passed away.” It was filmed over 50 years ago. She cherishes a photo that she has of the entire cast.
We then talked about our age and how it’s hard to lose loved ones. There is a show that has been on for years, “CBS Sunday Morning.” They have an “In Memorium” segment where they show photos of famous and not-so-famous people who passed away during the prior week and show their ages. We both agreed that it’s a bit overwhelming to see folks younger than you who have passed. Jaqueline mentioned that it’s heartbreaking when you hear of the death of someone that had died a while ago, and you didn’t even know it.
We talked about her latest film, “Loren and Rose.” Jaqueline said it’s such a well-written film, not an action movie, a quiet movie with a lot of talking, joy, and wonderful characters! She called her co-star, Kelly Blatz, excellent. So helpful to her. So present in the scenes. She was very impressed with him, and he was very impressed with her. There was a wonderful vibe. What a gift. Very gratifying. They built a great friendship. Kelly was so pleasant in the scenes. He was a great listener who was so important for the film. The film certainly shows Jaqueline and Kelly’s magnificent acting in just three scenes in “Rose’s” favorite restaurant. It’s a must-see film.
She feels that people in LA are very consumed with themselves. They have a tendency not to listen to people. Sometimes you don’t know if you’re talking to the air. She feels that she has always been a good listener. She loves details. She spoke to me about men going on “holiday,” and when you ask them about it, they say it was great!
On the other hand, when a woman tells you about her holiday, they give you all of the details. Jaqueline wants to know everything from the first moment- what it was like, what you wore, where you stayed, and what you ate. She can then live the experience!
We touched on Jacqueline’s personal life, being single, and how she personally cared for her mom for many years after she was diagnosed with a type of multiple sclerosis and dementia. Caring for her mom was the most incredible thing she had done in her life.
We talked a bit more about what goes on in Cortez, Florida, and I said I would send her photos of some of the “catch!”
It was so amazing that she actually thanked me for taking the time out of my day to chat with her at the end of our interview. What charm, what grace. It is 15 minutes that I will never forget for the rest of my life.
I want to thank Mark Duffy from FranksPR, who helped make this interview possible. Also, congratulations to Petra and Paul Ratner, Directors of the Sarasota Film Festival, for a job well done.
Saturday, April 9, 2022- Closing Night of the Festival
The festival’s closing night was wonderful—first, the Red Carpet at the iconic Sarasota Municipal Auditorium. Before showing Jaqueline’s film, Loren & Rose, she accepted the lifetime achievement award from Mark Famiglio, Festival President. The film was phenomenal. After the film, there was a Q&A., Jacqueline participated in the Q&A with director Russell Brown and co-star Kelly Blatz. The conversation was moderated by Joe McGovern – a film writer for THE WRAP.
The Interview Part 2
After the Q&A, there was an after-party which we thought we would stay for a few minutes. I was with Jodi Schwarzenbach, one of our writers for the Suncoast Post, her husband Todd, and my dear friends Bob Slicker and Amy Coller. We were standing at one of the hi-tops, and suddenly, who came over to our table to chat, none other than Jacqueline! I could not believe it. She stayed and chatted with us for about 15 minutes, sharing stories, asking questions, and enjoying our company. I was mesmerized. This usually does not happen. She took photos with us and also just about everyone at the party. After about an hour, we said our goodbyes as Jacqueline was flying out early the next day.
This was an experience that I will never forget. If I had to sum it up in one word describing Jacqueline, it would be “classy.” It was an honor to meet such a wonderful lady.
Feature photo courtesy of Suncoast Post