At last night’s premiere of Darling Companion, everyone within a few hundred feet was craning their neck for a glimpse of its star. When Diane Keaton did arrive, dressed in a monochromatic look comprised of a cream turtleneck, blazer and slacks, one onlooker couldn’t control herself: “She looks fantastic!” Eventually, the crowd started chanting “Annie Hall,” like screaming for “Free Bird” at a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert.
The reason, we’re guessing, is that Darling’s release (today) also marks the 35th anniversary of Annie Hall’s theatrical release in 1977. It’s almost impossible for anyone to miss that Keaton is still very much Annie Hall, thirty-five years later, and the character’s influence hasn’t faded. Actress Elizabeth Olsen told ELLE, “I use to be strictly Annie Hall in high school. I would wear the hat and suspenders and all the button up shirts and masculine pants… I really love that film, and Diane Keaton.”
Keaton’s magnetism remains intact and the brief answers she offers the press do little to quell the public’s interest. How was the chemistry between you and your onscreen husband Kevin Klein? “Can you imagine? Look at him.” What’s your favorite scene in Companion? “My favorite scene? Well, I can’t tell you the end. No. No. No.” Do you still dress like Annie? “Not so much in this one.”
Klein finally challenged Keaton: “But that’s just your public persona. What about in real life?” She didn’t answer—but she did scream when she nearly tripped avoiding the question. Her cast mate Ayelet Zurer chipped in: “She challenged us… something about her as a performer is so raw. You kind of have to push yourself when she does that. We had table reads before we started shooting the film. On the second day, she started standing up and playing it out. I started forgetting my lines, because she was so captivating to watch.”
Just before the theater went dark, the film’s writer and director, Lawrence Kasdan (The Big Chill), introduced the legendary actress to the audience: “[She] has been a pivotal major star for thirty years. I’ve wanted to work with her that whole time…” Kasdan halts, and then tells the audience, “She’s saying stop, stop, stop. Alright, I’ll stop.” As if to make sure the flattering remarks stopped, Keaton ran down the aisle, fist pumping the audience until the movie’s start.