10 Stupid Questions For Betty White

By Kristen Baldwin
January 23, 1998 at 05:00 AM EST

Hard Rain

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Sure, the words Betty White and action movie don’t usually go together in a sentence, but that didn’t stop the 76-year-old TV legend from getting her feet wet in the new flood thriller Hard Rain, playing a henpecking wife held hostage by a gang of thieves. Here, White fields some drippy queries.

— Kristen Baldwin

EW: Did you catch cold from spending so much time in the water?

WHITE: No, the water was kind of lukewarm — which worried me a little with that many people in it.

EW: Ed Asner plays Christian Slater’s uncle in Hard Rain — did you two have a touching Mary Tyler Moore Show reunion on the set?

WHITE: Our workdays were different — he’s in the very beginning of the picture and gets taken out rather soon. I didn’t even get to see him.

EW: Speaking of Mary Tyler Moore, she and Valerie Harper are reprising their roles as Mary and Rhoda for a new sitcom. Is your Sue Ann Nivens going to show up?

WHITE: Well, we’ve talked about the show because [Mary is] very excited about it. But I don’t think they have any idea where they’re going to take it. They may run into rotten Sue Ann somewhere — probably passing out samples in a grocery store.

EW: Could Mary really take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?

WHITE: I really think she could. I mean, anybody who could throw her hat in the air that well… Sometimes you’ll watch the show and she doesn’t have much to do except say, ”Come in,” or ”Won’t you sit down,” or ”Oh, Mr. Grant.” Everybody else could be acting circles around her, but somehow she holds it.

EW: There’s a Learn to Fox Trot record by Betty White. Is that you?

WHITE: No, that was another Betty White. There was also a Betty White who was a mud wrestler. I heard about her a lot. Betty White is not what you might call the most original name in the world, it just happens to be mine.

EW: If the Golden Girls got into a knock-down, drag-out bar brawl, who do you think would win?

WHITE: Oh, Bea [Arthur]. No question. I think she’s a secret kickboxer.

EW: You’re an outspoken animal lover. Would you rather have a sweater from the original sheep or the cloned Dolly?

WHITE: When you’re built like I am, you probably need a sweater from each.

EW: Do you want to make another movie?

WHITE: I just finished Dennis the Menace 2. I was Mrs. Wilson. I turned down the part of Helen Hunt’s mother in As Good as It Gets — which was a tough decision — because in the first scene they throw the little dog down the garbage chute. But [director]Jim Brooks said, ”Betty, I wrote the thing with you in mind! The dog is fine. The dog is kind of the star of the picture.” But I can’t be part of that because every kook in the world, if there’s a dog that bothers them in the building, will think, ”Hey, there’s a good idea.” It broke my heart to say no, but there are other ways to get laughs than to throw a dog down a garbage chute.

Hard Rain

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