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EXCLUSIVE: Michael Douglas and Robert de Niro chat with us about Last Vegas

  • Category: Interviews
  • Written by Australian Senior
  • 09 Jun
lastvegas interviewIt was a smash hit at the movies, and now the very funny stars of LAST VEGAS, Michael Douglas and Robert De Niro sit down with AustralianSenior.com for this exclusive chat about the film.


When you get a script that is obviously very funny in itself, is there room for you to play around and surprise each other during these shoots? Because it’s on digital, you can just shoot as much as you can. So were there moments for you to play around a bit?




MD: Well, I learned a lot from Bobby, especially as its digital. Because, what used to happen is, you'd do a take and then they'd stop, "cut". And Bobby’s learned, that with digital, what you do is you can keep it rolling and do another one and try a couple more other ones and, in a very short period of time, you get a variation for the editor, which is great. So that’s one thing I’ve learned from him to do much more of.



As an actor, then, to be given this kind of space to try different things, is that a joy for you? Or are you so very precise with what you need – is it a tonal thing?



RDN: Well, every situation’s different. I mean, on this, one stuck more or less to the…



MD: We scripted, yeah, we scripted.



RDN: Yeah, we stuck to it. Kevin would go off here and there and it was good. I mean, I saw some of the stuff that he did, it actually was good. You can do that at certain times. I’ve done it and I’m sure Michael has done it, but this one was pretty straightforward and traditional. If it was another director, they might have tried to goose it another way, in the performances.



MD: Except, I’d say, for language. Bobby, when he swears, he’s very funny and so they were always worried about the ratings. But we kept saying no, go, go, keep going… and we ended up winning that battle.



When I think about my friends that I hang out with, I feel that, whenever I meet up with them again, I’m always the same person. Time hasn’t passed. So when you hang out with your core group of friends, have things changed? Who are you in your group?



MD: With old friends, I don’t think it changes. That’s the beauty of old friends; you kind of pick up right where you left off – and that’s what I love. Even if you haven’t seen each other for a couple of years, you pick up and usually it has to do with silly humour, stuff that you’d be embarrassed to talk to another adult about. But, you know, with an old friend you can get away with it.



last-vegas-johnAnd you, Robert?



RDN: He’s right, that’s how I feel. Certainly, with old friends you don’t have to worry about this or that, you say what you want; and they know how you mean it, they know what context it’s put in and so they’re not judging you about that. And if it is something you say, then they’ll call you on it and say, well what are you doing, this or that, or whatever that might be?



Michael, you were quoted as saying that Vegas is actually not for people of a certain age, it’s really geared towards a very young visitor. When you shoot a film like this about people of your age going to a place like Vegas, can you describe that further?



MD: Well, the club scene, particularly, has now taken over Vegas and, and where there was, say, the Cirque de Soleil cycle for the last 20 years or the big shows, it’s now embarrassing at our age to go into one of those clubs – as we showed in one of the scenes in the film. But on the other side, the food’s great and, whereas maybe the younger people aren’t that interested, there are just wonderful restaurants and you can eat slowly and enjoy yourself; take your time.



You are New Yorkers, so what’s it like to be an adult in a city that seems to be getting younger and younger and younger? How do you feel about that?



RDN: Well, it’s true, there’s a certain chaos, if you will, in New York, that’s an energy that young people drive and older people too, if you choose to live in that way. I choose to live that way and I’m very active doing stuff in the city, but I like to get away too, outside the city. I’m lucky enough to have a place, so I can do that. But at one point obviously, as far as retiring, people just spend more time in a more tranquil kind of setting.



When you were younger and you were thinking about what it would be like to be older; is this the version that you pictured? Is this a kind of variation of your plan or goal?



MD: I think when you’re younger, you never think about getting older.



RDN: Yes. You don’t want to think about it.



MD: You don’t even think about it. I know that, but even starting in my 30s, I can remember my Mother…… When I was a kid, my Mom was in her 30s and she was an adult, a complete adult. Then you go through your 30s and your 40s as a complete goofball and you realise, I guess they weren’t quite as mature as I thought they were.



And you, is it the version that you thought …?



RDN: Well, I always used to say to myself, there’s going to be a day where I’m going to be there and I’m going to be sitting like we’re sitting right now and doing this in there and here we are. But you don’t want to think about it. Why should you be exempt from that? It’s going to happen. You just don’t think about it – and the one thing that I always say is, once you get to where we are, looking back, it happens fast. You can account for all the moments, for all the months, all the weeks, the years.



MD: I’m getting so fucking depressed. [laughter]



RDN: But everything’s good, it’s just what it is. Nothing you can do about it.



If they brought you back for another round of something similar – bring back the Flatbush Four – would you be game?



MD: Oh, twist my arm. Yes, we said, I think, it’s got to be a warm climate!



RDN: Yes – warm, warm, warm, yes!


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lastvegasYou can grab the movie on DVD or Bluray from June 12 at any good retailer, or enter our exclusive competition right here on AustralinSenior.com



Tubal Ligation and Vasectomy – A Call for Oral History Participants

  • Category: Interviews
  • Written by Australian Senior
  • 17 Mar
tiarne studyAustralianSenior.com interviews University of Sydney researcher, Tiarne Barratt:

In March 2013, Tiarne began a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in the History Department at the University of Sydney, taking the first step toward making her lifelong passion for history her career.

‘Long before I was even aware of the word, I wanted to be an historian. Old objects and stories have always fascinated me and much of my childhood was spent with my mind firmly in the past, often finding ancient worlds far more exciting than what was going on around me. After high school, I was lucky enough to study history at a university level and I’ve spent the last five years doing so at Sydney Uni.’
A far cry from Ancient Egypt, Tiarne is now working on the history of birth control in twentieth century Australia. Her doctoral work looks at the history of sterilisation practices and explores the ways tubal ligation and vasectomy were used as contraception in the second half of the twentieth century.

‘Sterilisation has been the most popular method of birth control in Australia for several decades now. Yet as it currently stands, no one has written a detailed history of tubal ligation and vasectomy in this context. This absence is something that my work seeks to address, because I think it’s important to understand the history of birth control before it’s possible to improve and expand upon current methods of contraception.’

This is where you as readers become involved. A large part of Tiarne’s research is comprised of oral history interviews and she is currently seeking participants for this project. To be eligible for the study, either you or your partner has to have had a tubal ligation or vasectomy procedure any time between 1960-1985.

‘To me, interviews are an invaluable resource. There’s only so much I can get from the documents left behind and the only real way to understand how and why people chose sterilisation as their method of birth control in this period is to ask them.

This is the first time that I’ve done oral history interviews as part of my research and so far it’s been one of the most enjoyable experiences of my academic life. For example, I recently interviewed my grandma about my grandpa’s vasectomy in 1970 and discovered a whole different side of their lives! And it’s been great hearing people’s thoughts and memories on the subject – it really brings the project to life.’

If you are in a position to assist Tiarne in her research and the completion of her degree, she would greatly appreciate your time and invites you to participate in her oral history project. The questions asked will relate to your personal experience of sterilisation in twentieth century Australia and all information will be kept strictly confidential, with interviewees remaining anonymous.

To participate in this oral history project you can take an online survey by following this link:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/7K729VH_contraceptive_sterilisation

or you can contact Tiarne directly for further information:
Tiarne Barratt
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Address: Room 816, Brennan McCallum Building, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006
Phone: 0433 023 087

A win and a place for the rest of his life

  • Category: Interviews
  • Written by Australian Senior
  • 11 Oct

Warren greyhoundAs a child, Warren Wilson always loved dogs. But there was a particular breed he really liked – the greyhound.

"I used to see racing greyhounds being walked in the street and I always thought they were a magnificent animal, but no-one ever considered them as pets," he said.

Warren never had the chance to make his dream of owning a dog come true until fate dealt him a cruel blow in the form of a debilitating stroke at the age of 62.

Warren was initially confined to a wheelchair at his home near Huskisson on the NSW South Coast and for two years struggled with his rehabilitation, learning to do most things again from scratch.

"Two years after the stroke I was walking again, but still struggling. The idea of having a dog to help with my rehabilitation kept coming up."

It seemed that one way or another, greyhounds had followed Warren all through his life.

His wife, Yolande worked at a veterinary pharmaceutical company which supported a blood bank for dogs and greyhounds, being such a large dog, were the blood donors. The company also sponsored a number of greyhound rescue organisations.

And Warren was aware that many retired or unsuccessful racing greyhounds face an uncertain future. The many thousands that don't win are euthanased, surrendered to pounds or if they are lucky, find their way to one of the many rescue groups now devoted to these graceful animals.

"We started to go to the local greyhound track, not to bet on the dogs but to research what kind of greyhound we would like. We decided to adopt an ex-racing greyhound and settled on an older male because they have a tougher time finding a home," Warren said.

"We found a beautiful greyhound in foster care in Erskinville, where he'd been rescued from a dreadful cage in a ghastly pound. He was grey with a white blaze on his chest. Because of his gentle nature, he was called Cruiser and because of what had happened to him in life, he was struggling a little as well."

Having been confined to a kennel for most of his life, Cruiser wasn't used to timber floors and glass windows or wide open spaces. He was confounded by stairs and, because greyhound trainers always lift their dogs into the car, he couldn't even get into Warren and Yolande's car without help.

"We took great delight in being his mentors and teaching him to be a companion animal. He'd never been to the beach and it was amazing watching him gaping at the waves for hours. And it took some time for him to stop walking into the glass doors.

"Despite my condition, it wasn't long before I started taking him for a walk. I'm a very slow walker and he just trots along beside me. He's a very elegant, stunning companion and he encouraged me to get out of the house and walk him twice a day.

"He's such a gentle character on the lead. I lose my balance easily so being such a tall dog, I don't have to bend over to pat him.

"I like to think he's been instrumental in my recovery because at 67 it's very difficult to learn to walk again. It would have been very easy to give up and just sit and do nothing," he said.

And Warren says having a best mate like Cruiser has had psychological and social benefits.

"He's a feature in the village life here. Because he's such a beautiful creature, everyone wants to pat him. I've met so many people I wouldn't have met. He's helped us to become involved in our small community and we have widened our circle of friends because of him. We treat him very well, but we have also 'fallen on our paws' because we have the pleasure of owning such a magnificent animal."

Cruiser is able to walk the streets unmuzzled because he has been assessed under the Greenhounds Green Collar programme as safe with smaller animals such as cats and rabbits.

"The greyhound as a breed is the most gentle and well-mannered creature, the legislation that requires them to wear a muzzle is antiquated and they make a beautiful pet for older people.

"Many older people like to get a little, white, fluffy dog that needs a lot of exercise and is totally unsuitable for an apartment. But greyhounds do what older people do. They don't eat much and sometimes need a lot of rest.

"They are very easy to take care of and don't bark, smell or shed or do many of the things that make a dog difficult to live with for an older person. They are a beautiful dog and like everyone, they need a break," Warren said.

To adopt a greyhound, or find out more information, click here

Josh Groban

  • Category: Interviews
  • Written by Australian Senior
  • 20 Dec

We had the pleasure of catching up with Josh Groban - who's musical impact on the world has been immense. His unique style of performance has enthralled millions across the globe and we caught up with the superstar during his Australian visit.

You can watch the video interview here.