AARP Eye Center
By Alejandra Owens, October 23, 2009 01:01 PM
From Bill Newcott
More than 600 grownup movie lovers crowded into the Movies for Grownups Screening Room to watch the touching drama Lovely, Still, and to listen to Oscar winning star Martin Landau talk about his role. Landau plays an elderly man who finds love late in life with the mysterious woman who moves in across the street, played by another Oscar winner, Ellen Burstyn.
Landau got a standing ovation as he came to the stage following the film, which involves a character's encounter with Alzheimer's. He spoke candidly about making the film--and his personal experience with an Alzheimer's patient.
"My brother-in-law had Alzheimers," Landau said. "And he had ways to try and cover for it. When I'd come to see him, he'd stretch out his arms and say, 'Look who's here!' And he had no idea who I was. He spoke in generalities, because the specifics were lost to him.
"When I read the script, I knew it was something I wanted to do, so I asked to speak with the writer. They told me he lived in Toledo, and I said, 'I can't help that.' So he came out to see me. He was 24 years old!"
In fact, he said, despite the fact that Lovely Still burrows into some of the most intimate cares and challenges of older people, the entire production team was in their 20s and 30s.
"They were so young," he marveled. "I can't tell you how young they were!"
Also on the after-film panel was Betth Kallmyer, director of Familyand Information Services for the Alzheimer's Association, who observed that families will sometimes go to great lengths to accommodate loved ones with the debilitating brain disease.
"They will role play," she said. "It's important to tell people with Alzheimer's the truth, but sometimes the best truth."
Landau, who appeared on Las Vegas TV this morning to promote the screening, stayed on afterward to chat with a gathering of filmgoers.