Part of “Old Info And News”
TV movies happen very quickly, but asking Elizabeth Mitchell to step into Linda McCartney’s shoes on five days’ notice seems a little extreme.
Still, the actress – currently basking in glowing reviews for her work in the hit movie Frequency – says she had no big problem with her role in The Linda McCartney Story, a CBS movie premiering Sunday at 10 p.m.
Mitchell credits screenwriter Christine Berardo (Nicholas’ Gift), who based her teleplay largely on the Danny Field’s biography Linda McCartney: A Portrait, with making her task much easier.
“Usually I do my own research, but she had done an amazing amount of background and just put it all into my arms,” Mitchell says with a laugh. “I just pored through all that, plus read everything I could – every Beattle book ever written, you name it. Fortunately, since Linda was in the entertainment world, I was able fairly readily to find a lot of people who had met her. And they all just adored her.”
The actress says it was easy to get a handle on McCartney simply because there was nothing false about her.
“Linda was just so true to herself,” Mitchell says, “even from the beginning. Her parents wanted her to be one thing, but she knew what she wanted. And later the world seemed to want her to be something else, but she stayed true to herself and her husband.”
Linda Eastman, a photographer, met Bettle’s Paul McCartney (Gary Bakewell, who played the same role in the movie Blackbeat9 in 1965 when she accepted a Rolling Stone assignment over the advice of her attorney father, Lee (George Segal).
Love slowly blossomed between the two, but when they finally married, Paul’s fans pitched an unholy tantrum.
The new Mrs. Paul McCartney had to surmount yet another hurdle after her husband insisted she join his new band, Wings. She was trashed, to put it mildly, but Mitchell says the CBS movie makes it clear she never wanted to be in the band in the first place.
“Linda said, ‘I’m a photographer, I can’t sing,’ but Paul said, ‘But you’re my best friend and I want you with me,'” Mitchell says. “She did it reluctantly and, oh, what horrible abuse she took!”
The world watched as Linda succumbed to cancer – her husband, while grieving privately, totally fell apart at his loss – and Mitchell says the TV movie, which was not available for review, tries to deal with that part of their lives sensitively.
“I literally got sick myself – with a fever of 103 – playing those late scenes, just because it was such an intense experience.”
TV Data Features Syndicate