From opening up about her bipolar disorder and desire for a boyfriend to lavishing love on her mother, Debbie Reynolds, Carrie was always honest, funny and open. No wonder emails are still arriving for her, two days after her death
About a year ago I approached Carrie Fisher to write a column for the Guardian. With other A-listers, its all too common to be rebuffed by several layers of management, publicists and protective naysayers. But somehow all too easily I found myself with an invitation to her house in Beverly Hills.
And what a house it is. Huge neon arrows and signs hang from trees in the driveway. It wasnt Christmas, but a fully lit tree was the centrepiece of her living room (it was there year-round). A giant moose head with a fez hung above the fireplace; snow globes depicting macabre murder scenes decorated the shelves and, outside in the garden, next to a life-size Leia stepping out of a British telephone box, was the back end of a lion attached to the wall, its raised tail revealing giant cat balls.
Carrie was delayed, having spent the morning looking after her mum, Debbie Reynolds, whose house is on the same grounds: a big Debbie made of light-bulbs pointed the way to her property in their shared driveway. Reynolds had suffered two strokes; she and her daughter saw each other nearly every day. When Carrie finally appeared, she told me that Debbie, on hearing they had a visitor, had assumed I was there to speak to her, as Hollywood royalty, and declared: I cant see anyone. Her daughter had kept up the fiction.
I had been expecting maybe an hour of her time, but somehow we ended up spending the entire day together: I was pressed to drink bottles of wine she had picked for their rude or amusing names (she didnt drink saying she couldnt trust her addictive personality). We shopped, ate homemade banana pudding out of the dish and plotted how we were going to get her a boyfriend (her desire for companionship and sex were to become a running theme).
We began chatting in her bedroom, the walls and ceilings decorated by projections of fluttering butterflies. Gary her French bulldog, whose tongue steadfastly refuses to stay in his mouth lay snoring next to a Gary-themed gift director JJ Abrams had presented to Carrie at the wrap party for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The film had just been released, and Carrie had quickly become everyones favourite part of the promotional tour. She shot down anyone who asked about her weight loss for the role and had recently asked, via Twitter, for everyone to stop debating whether or not she had aged well as it hurt all three of my feelings.
Like everything Carrie said or did, that tweet revealed a truth she told me she hated the way she looked in that film and suddenly, unexpectedly, she was in tears.
Minutes later she was in high spirits, plotting to tweet an old photo she had unearthed from the first set of Star Wars in which she was cupping C-3POs balls. This is going to get me in trouble with the people at Disney, she said, while I held the pic steady and she snapped, but I dont care.
She revealed that the resurrection of the franchise had been a huge financial boost she had agreed to the teeniest-tiniest percentage of a percentage of a percentage of the backend profits and knew she never had to worry about money again.
And she was beyond generous. She thrust presents on her staff and insisted we went shopping to find gifts for her mum, daughter and others. (When we eventually got around to talking about the column she asked to be paid in fun presents rather than money an idea her agent sadly nixed when it was up and running.)
I was gone so long that my husband texted to see if I was OK, in response to which she sent a video of herself riffing about how she was going to do bad things to me and make me vote for Donald Trump in the upcoming election.
Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us