ABOVE THE LINE by Shirley MacLaine


My Wild Oats Adventure
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The award-winning actress reflects on her latest film and her previous life.

MacLaine, a talented woman who believes in reincarnation, is getting a lot out of this life. She’s acted in more than 50 films and written 14 books, including this one. At 81, she’s acting in another film and writing a book about it. Wild Oats (2016), a screwball comedy about an elderly woman (MacLaine) who mistakenly receives a very large social security check and decides to take her friend (Jessica Lange) on a lavish vacation, was over five years in the making and $500,000 in debt before it even started shooting in the Canary Islands, which some believed “were the remnants of Atlantis.” After the musical chairs of finalizing actors and director and with funding somewhat secured, the cast was flown to the island’s opulent Lopesan resort, and her “adventure” began. She writes in a jaunty, casual, daily diary style, providing affectionate portraits of her fellow actors: Billy Connolly (in one scene, “he made me laugh so hard, I nearly developed a herniated disk), Lange (“beautiful, intense, and a brilliant dramatic actress”), Demi Moore (sweet…and nervous”), and Howard Hesseman (“adorably funny”).” MacLaine was constantly anxious about the ongoing efforts to raise funds, calling it “amateur hour,” and at one point worried, “Why am I here? Are we going to shoot a movie…or ourselves?” However, it ended well: “It had all been worth it to me for so many reasons.” The author’s insider’s portrait of the moviemaking world sparkles, but it’s dimmer when she engages in her New Age ruminations (“I feel that I am in alignment with my soul’s destiny”).

MacLaine is wickedly honest about moviemaking, sincere and enthusiastic in describing her beliefs, and welcoming in the skepticism of others—it’s all refreshing and fun.

Pub Date: March 1st, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-5011-3641-2
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Atria
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2015


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