Carrie Fisher Could Tell Stories, But They Might Kill You 

Actress-Memoirist Retools "Wishful Drinking" for HBO

Thursday, Dec 9 2010

Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher's one-woman show-turned-book-turned–one-woman show, premieres as a feature-length concert film this week on HBO. The Weekly talked to the actress-memoirist about crafting confessionals as entertainment, and why she's less than thrilled to be the object of sexual fantasies of Star Wars fans.

L.A. WEEKLY: You have so many stories, your work could be thought of as an ongoing memoir, to which you're adding and subtracting indefinitely.

CARRIE FISHER: Yeah. It's kind of like a morphing ... [pauses, then makes highly exaggerated purging noise]. I'm trying — not trying. I am writing another book, and it's going through stories and seeing which one would ... well, I don't want to upset anyone, so you have to watch out for that.

click to enlarge Killer oversharing: Carrie Fisher in Wishful Drinking
  • Killer oversharing: Carrie Fisher in Wishful Drinking

So do you wait until people are dead to tell the really good stories?

Unless I want to kill them, yeah. There's some I'll never tell. No amount of time will get some [people] comfortable on some of the stories. I have pounds of acid stories. Unfortunately, they involve other people. I don't think they would cause great joy in the land. Usually the stuff I talk about is already out. And once it's out, then it's public domain.

I was surprised that one of my favorite stories from the book Wishful Drinking didn't make it into the HBO special: the one about Cary Grant and LSD.

Actually, the book was based on the [one-woman] show, and I expanded it — there was not enough material there for a book, so I added stuff like Cary Grant — I don't think that was ever really in the show, maybe for a little while in L.A. It's a long story. It just ended up being what would work in terms of flow. Not making the drug section break the back of the movie section, [or] the mental illness section. It had to be balanced.

Have your rules about what to disclose, and what stories to tell, changed over the years?

No! Don't want to upset people. You can't imagine what I leave out of this shit! This is like the PG version. There are details that would not be appropriate, that actually don't relate to anyone but me — I could actually probably do a whole act on mental illness and the ins and outs of shock treatment and psychotic breaks and what-have-you. But I don't know that that is an entertainment. That is rubber-necking.

Would you ever do anything that was confessional that didn't also make fun of the dark stuff?

I love the blend. The real alchemy is to take something such as waking up with a dead friend, losing your mind, overdosing ... for me I would rather try to make those things funny, and understandable, and relatable. Otherwise, we're just going to sit around and you're going to circle the drain with me. Not that that's a sport that Americans don't enjoy.

One thing that made the cut is some very funny stuff about how the Slave Leia metal bikini from The Return of the Jedi made you a sex symbol.

That's only determinable way after the fact, I think. There's no experience that tells you, "Oh, I'm a sex symbol." Were people coming up to me and jacking off to me in the streets? No. All of the attention I ever got was, in a way, freakish. Generally the reaction I would get was, "Did you know it would be that big of a hit?" Every so often someone would come up to me and say, "I thought about you every day from when I was 12 to 22." But that's after the fact — they didn't come up at the time and say, "I'm thinking about you every day," i.e., "In between watching the movies and putting together these spaceship models that I have, I retire to the bathroom and jack off to you." I wasn't aware of it at the time, and I'm very glad I wasn't.


It's gross.

Wishful Drinking premieres on Mon., Dec. 12, at 9 p.m. on HBO.

Related Content

Now Showing

  1. Tue 19
  2. Wed 20
  3. Thu 21
  4. Fri 22
  5. Sat 23
  6. Sun 24
  7. Mon 25

    Find capsule reviews, showtimes & tickets for all films in town.

    Sponsored by Fandor

Box Office Report

Scores provided by Rotten Tomatoes

Join My Voice Nation for free stuff, concert and dining info & more!


  • 20 Neo-Noir Films You Have to See
    The Voice's J. Hoberman was more mixed than most on Sin City when he reviewed it in 2005, but his description of the film as "hyper-noir" helps explain why this week's release of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For has us thinking back on the neo-noir genre. Broadly speaking, neo-noir encompasses those films made outside of film noir's classic period -- the 1940s and '50s -- that nevertheless engage with the standard trappings of the genre. As with most generic labels, there isn't some universal yardstick that measures what constitutes a neo-noir film: Where the genre might begin in the '60s with films like Le Samourai and Point Blank for one person, another might argue that the genre didn't find its roots until 1974's Chinatown. Our list falls closer to the latter stance, mainly featuring works from the '80s, '90s, and 2000s. Though a number of the films mentioned here will no doubt be familiar to readers, it's our hope that we've also highlighted several titles that have been under-represented on lists of this nature. --Danny King

    See also:
    35 Music Documentaries Worth Seeing

    15 Documentaries That Help You Understand the World Right Now
  • Emmy-Nominated Costumes on Display
    On Saturday, the Television Academy and FIDM Museum and Galleries kicked off the Eighth Annual exhibition of "The Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design" with an exclusive preview and reception party. 100 costumes are featured from over 20 shows representing the nominees of the 66th Emmy Awards. The free to the public exhibition is located downtown at FIDM and runs from today through Saturday, September 20th. All photos by Nanette Gonzales.
  • Cowabunga! 30 Years of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
    The COWABUNGA! - 30 Years of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles tribute show opened Friday night at Iam8bit. Guests donned their beloved turtle graphic tees, onesies and a couple April O'Neils were there to report on all the mean, green, fighting machine action. Artist included Jude Buffum, Tony Mora, Nan Lawson, leesasaur, Jim Rucc, Mitch Ansara, Guin Thompson, Stratman, Gabe Swarr, Joseph Harmon, Alex Solis, Allison Hoffman, Jose Emroca Flores, Jack Teagle and more. All photos by Shannon Cottrell.

Now Trending