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A Prairie Home Companion in our magazines

THE MOVIE: A Prairie Home Companion

Garrison Keillor • Meryl Streep • Lily Tomlin • Kevin Kline • Virginia Madsen • Woody Harrelson • John C Reilly • Lindsay Lohan
DIRECTOR: Robert Altman

The ensemble cast THE CONCEPT:
The last live radio variety show is about to be closed down, and it's time for the final performance…

U.S. RELEASE: June 9 2006, Nationwide • Rated: PG-13


“Mr Altman wanted to make a picture about a radio show. I was enlisted to write his movie and I volunteered to do it in order to keep somebody else from doing it. I could think of people who I would not want to write a screenplay about A Prairie Home Companion, so it was a dog in a manger act on my part. I don’t usually work with other people. I do the whole show myself so it’s an amazing tour de force [he laughs]”

MERYL STREEP on preparing to sing for the movie:
“I didn’t prepare too much. I think we had about three days to get ready and I like to sing and I don’t get to do it much. At my house I’m not allowed to because children can’t stand it when you sing at home.”

“Or show any kind of happiness or joy!”

“It was a pleasure to have somebody else be the boss. It wouldn’t have been nearly so much fun any other way. It was great to see other people pick up characters that you sort of sketched out loosely on paper and make them into something fascinating.”

“Garrison plays Lefty on the radio show, so I felt like I’d better check with him, and he was incredibly generous with allowing me to interpret the character as I saw fit.”

“On an Altman set you have creative freedom and you can dare to be bad, because he’s not going to let you be bad. I had such a strange role to play, but ultimately I just felt really at ease.”

“Woody and I worked on The Thin Red Line together, so I already had this kind of teasing relationship with him; the way we act with each other as Lefty and Dusty is very similar to the way Woody and I treat each other.”

“I practiced singing for two months almost every day because I’m not accustomed to singing. I called Bob and said, ‘I don’t know if I’m going to be able to sing that well when I get there.’ He said, ‘So if you don’t sing well, you just don’t sing well,’ It was that easy, however I would have sung that’s how Rhonda would have sung.”

“I loved watching Kevin [Kline] do the part [of Guy Noir], because it’s Kevin unleashed; he was endlessly inventive and shameless.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Feature © 2006 Visual Imagination.
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Film Review, #671, Summer 2006 cover

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