Polly Bergen is one of those sassy entertainment vets that has seen it all but still has a great sense of humor. She started her career as a singer in 1949 and went on to do television, film and even penning a book in the process. In Struck By Lightning, (written by Glee's Chris Colfer) Bergen plays Grandma, who suffers from Alzheimer's. Of course, when Bergen entered the room, all eyes were on her and she was full of fun stories. I could just imagine sitting on a porch listening to her for hours. She was self taught in many ways, watching her own performances to learn how to act on film.
Since Struck By Lightning follows the trials of a group of high schoolers, Bergen jokes of the change in high schoolers, "They definitely get laid a lot more." But she sees the change as a positive and looks to keep young people around. That is partially why she chose to do the film, due to Colfer's knowledge of his generation while seeming mature. "Chris is that rare person who is an old man in a young mans body. I don’t know how else to say it. I mean, how does he write this material? This screenplay should have been written by someone in their forties or fifties. His knowledge of life and what life can do to you and what it’s all about, is the understanding of a middle-aged man, not a twenty-year-old kid."
On the film, Bergen claims that Chris was the ultimate inspiration and motivation, "Chris wrote this part for me. I don’t know if he told you earlier...He asked if he could meet with me... I had no idea about the part and what the part was about, I just knew that I loved him and I loved his talent and I thought his talent was extraordinary. He gave me the script and I’ve always said I would do it and I never read the script. I just wanted to work with him because I felt he was such a talent." When it came down to her character's motivation, Bergen smiles "Everything is really Chris. His character is her connection to reality."
When I asked Bergen about the future of film and the changes from celluloid to digital she laughs, "I have no idea what you’re even talking about. I have no idea about digital or celluloid or any of that. All I know is that movie is a movie. Whatever happens, I don’t think the public cares. All the public wants is they want that product that means something to them and that they can connect to. I think that content is what matters and that you care about to content and it affects your life or it doesn’t. Whether it’s celluloid or digital or telephone or whatever it is, if it doesn’t touch you, it doesn’t matter what the media is."