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Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

Sandra Bullock • Ellen Burstyn • Ashley Judd • with: James Garner • Fionnula Flanagan • Shirley Knight • Maggie Smith
DIRECTOR: Callie Khouri

Ellen Burstyn and Sandra Bullock co-star as mother and daughter in “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood” THE CONCEPT:
Sidda Walker (Bullock), a young playwright, and her mother Vivi (Burstyn) have had a tenuous relationship all their lives. When Sidda does an interview with Time Magazine hinting that Vivi was a bad mother, it will take the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Vivi’s lifelong friends (Smith, Flanagan and Knight), to restore peace between mother and daughter.

U.S. RELEASE: June 7 2002, nationwide • Rated: PG-13


“My character introduces the story. Sidda becomes the catalyst who brings all the past and present situations together. She’s the daughter of the craziest Ya-Ya, Vivi. She’s afraid that if she gets married she will do to her children what she remembers her mother doing to her. This is when the Ya-Yas step in to help. They introduce her to her mama’s secret scrapbook, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, and they use it to explain some of Vivi’s over-the-top behavior.”

“Being in a good movie is enjoyable. Doing work that you think is going to turn out well is enjoyable. I admired the script very much and I liked Vivi – I think she’s a complex, interesting character – she’s multi-dimensional.”

“I’m honored to have portrayed the younger Vivi. I had a great experience creatively, it was rewarding and I know (the studio) had very high expectations for the actress who played the part, so in every way it was an honor and a distinction that they wanted me to do it.”

CALLIE KHOURI on directing such great actresses:
“I would laugh – some days I would be sitting next to my DP, John Bailey, and I’d be watching a scene in the monitor, and I would go, ‘I’m going to tell Dame Maggie Smith to do that differently. I’ll be right back!’ It was hilarious. I would go to Maggie and say, ‘I was thinking, in the next take you could do X, Y and Z, and she was like, ‘Oh my God darling, of course, you must think I’m an idiot!’ I’d say, ‘Yes, but somehow we’ll meddle through, Maggie!’ They were all such fun to work with.”

ASHLEY JUDD on working with Ellen on creating the same role:
“We talked about ourselves and we talked about Vivi, and we went through the script together, and she was very watchful and tried to see things about me that she might want to incorporate in her own behavior – it was very special. I just wanted to be as good as I could, because I knew she’d be great regardless of what I turned in, and I wanted to be sure that the younger Vivi was a worthy foundation.”

“It’s very sweet for me to be playing opposite Jim Garner, who plays Vivi’s husband, Shep. Forty-one years ago in summer stock we worked together in John Loves Mary. We met as young talents and now we have the opportunity to come together again as actors with history. When I look at him now, it’s as though I can see all the years of his life, and I’m sure he can see mine.”

“This movie is a celebration of friendship – it’s about mothers and daughters, and as everybody has a mother it’s very relatable.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood site
Images above © Warner Bros. Pictures / Gaylord Films
Feature © 2002 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #619, Summer 2002 cover

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Film Review, Special - Superpowered 2002 cover

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