PART THREE: In this 4-Part interview series actress Kim Darby talks with Justin Bozung for TV STORE ONLINE about her work in such films as DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK (1973), THE STRAWBERRY STATEMENT (1970), THE ONE AND ONLY (1978), and THE GRISSOM GANG (1971).
TV STORE ONLINE: I was hoping that we could talk about THE ONE AND ONLY (1978)....
TV STORE ONLINE: It's such a sweet little movie. You just wanna hold it in your arms and squeeze its little cheeks! (laughing)
TV STORE ONLINE: How did that role come to you?
DARBY: When THE ONE AND ONLY came to me I hadn't worked in a while. I was sober, but I just hadn't worked for a long time. I went in and read for the part of "Mary Crawford" with Carl Reiner. Carl is one of the angels of the whole world! It was a comedy, but I didn't want to play it that way. I just approached her simply, and that made Carl laugh. I got a call later on that Carl wanted me to come back to read with Henry Winkler. So I drove over to Mr. Reiner's house, read with Henry, and that was that.
TV STORE ONLINE: Reiner directed THE ONE AND ONLY, but you had first worked with him prior when he was an actor in the film GENERATION (1969)...How was it working with Carl Reiner the actor versus Carl Reiner the director?
DARBY: They're both incredible. Working with Carl Reiner the director is just the best thing in the world. He was the kindest, funniest, sweetest man I've ever worked with. It was like being in Heaven. Carl even came and spoke at my acting class. He was just incredible.
TV STORE ONLINE: I'm quite smitten with that Mary Crawford character... What do you think that you, Kim Darby, brought to her that wasn't already on the page of that script?
DARBY: All I know--Carl had said to me, "You know what we have to have in Mary?" I said, "No." He said, "We need to love her so much. So we can love Henry through her."
TV STORE ONLINE: That chemistry between you and Henry is infectious in the film. Even though Henry's character "Andy Schmidt" is so charming yet detestable....
DARBY: Henry and I got along swimmingly!
TV STORE ONLINE: THE ONE AND ONLY is about Andy's struggle to become an actor...As an actress yourself, who has been married to actors --was it easy to identify with Mary in that situation? There's a lot of emotional struggle there for Mary as a non-actor who is dealing with the struggles of an actor trying to make it.
DARBY: I guess it was. I think, also, in my life I had wanted to be a therapist for many years. My own struggles in life, and those of other people---have made me understand how hard things can be in life. Life is really hard! I guess, maybe that's what I was able to bring to her too.
TV STORE ONLINE: One of my favorite scenes in THE ONE AND ONLY is where Henry Winkler's character takes yours out to dinner and sings in front of everyone...
DARBY: This script was a great script to read! We rehearsed it for two weeks. We read it around the table and everyone was in love with it. I remember the scene that you're asking about and that was so well written that we didn't need to improvise anything.
TV STORE ONLINE: THE ONE AND ONLY, for me, is all about the performances. There are so many wonderful actors in it. Another scene I love in the film is when the wrestlers come over to the apartment that your character shares with Henry and Herve Villechaize puts the moves on Polly Holliday and slowly puts his hand on her leg....
DARBY: Right. (laughing) Herve was a sweet man. Everyone that worked on that picture was just so sweet. We all got along great and there were no problems.
TV STORE ONLINE: Many actors and actresses say that comedy is hard...Thinking about that scene with Herve and Polly-- do you approach something like as drama or comedy?
DARBY: It depends on the circumstance of the scene. Every line that you say depends on the circumstances. The feeling you have depend on the circumstances. How you play it, what you're going to do--it's all dictated by that. And you have to be truthful to that.
TV STORE ONLINE: Do you have a favorite scene in THE ONE AND ONLY?
DARBY: I do.
TV STORE ONLINE: What is it?
DARBY: The scene between Henry and I were I come down the stairs at the end with that toothbrush.
TV STORE ONLINE: Before you shot THE ONE AND ONLY you had sort of been stuck in the period-piece on television it seems. You had done stuff just prior like Rich Man, Poor Man (1976), The Story of Pretty Boy Floyd (1974), This Is The West That Was (1974), The Oregon Trail (1977)--THE ONE AND ONLY must have really been a breath of fresh air for you...
DARBY: It really was. Yes. Any time when I could go to bed and not cry was a relief.
TV STORE ONLINE: I think my favorite scene in THE ONE AND ONLY is the scene between Henry's character and Mary in the sorority house bedroom. I love that scene because of what you're doing with your eyes. You're so humble there. It's the scene where Henry tells your character that his parents died in a car crash, and then proceeds to tell you that he doesn't want your sympathy. Your character says, "Sorry," and Henry's responds with: "What if I told you that I killed them?" (laughing)
DARBY: (laughing) It was such a fun movie to make.
TV STORE ONLINE: And he says to Mary, "I like you, you son-of-a-gun.." (laughing) Did Mary fall in love with Henry at that point or did she finally give in to his advances because he just wore her down?
DARBY: I think he just wore her out in those moments. I don't think she was in love with him in that moment. She couldn't go from A to Z--in not liking to him to instantly being in love with him. He pursed her relentlessly, and he wore her down, before she fell in love with him. I mean, she was really worn down when she came down the stairs at the end and threw that toothbrush at him!