Sally Field has one thing in common with her character in “Hello, My Name Is Doris.”
Both don’t know much about technology.
She and the film’s director Michael Showalter mention that a funny line in which a hipster indie rocker unexpectedly asks the much older Doris for her phone number, and she answers, “does anyone have a pencil?” was an ad lib.
But in many other ways, Field is not like the “bold, comic protagonist” (Showalter’s words) title character of the movie, which opens Friday.
In town to present the film at SF Sketchfest in January, the petite, tastefully attired Field said, “it was torture” to wear Doris’ wild, thrift-shop-meets- artiste wardrobe.
Showalter, who co-wrote the script with Laura Terruso, (based on a “misfit coworker” character she created for an eight-minute student film he admired), says the
writers took inspiration from New York style icons Iris Apfel, Bill Cunningham and “Grey Gardens” to create Doris’ one-of-a-kind look.
It’s a huge part of the character, one to which the two-time Oscar-winner (whose career stretches back to TV’s “Gidget” and “The Flying Nun” in the 1960s), was drawn immediately.
“I loved the screenplay so quickly,” says Field, “It’s about things I feel. It’s about all stages of life.”
She adds, “I got to walk and talk like an adolescent” and insists on acknowledging her “incredible” costar Max Greenfield, who plays the thirty-something hunky new guy at the office on whom the near-retirement age Doris, who’s a hoarder, develops a crush. (He thinks they’re friends.)
“If not for Max, Doris wouldn’t be Doris,” says Field, 69, who backs away when asked to reflect on her extensive show business resume and body of work. Scoffing at the phrase “body of work,” she says, “That’s for dead people.”
But Field is thrilled to chat about her gig co-hosting “The Essentials” with Robert Osborne.
“I love Turner Classic Movies, it’s absolutely important to the film community. I love working with Bob. He’s a fountain of knowledge offering people a real education about film.”
In her second season on the show, she wants to continue championing so-called women’s films. A highlight of 2015 was her selection to screen “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,” an evocative little movie that many people don’t realize was directed by the great Martin Scorsese.
IF YOU GO
Hello, My Name is Doris
Starring: Sally Field, Max Greenfield, Tyne Daly, Beth Behrs, Natasha Lyonne
Written by: Michael Showalter, Laura Terruso
Directed by: Michael Showalter
Running time: 1 hour, 35 minutes