'Hats Off' debuts tonight
At 93 years of age and barely as many pounds, Mimi Weddell continues
to make her mark in the world, as demonstrated in the documentary
"Hats Off," which premieres tonight at Camelot Theatres
in Palm Springs.
and daughter Sarah Dillon will attend the opening show and reception,
which will benefit the AIDS Assistance Program of Palm Springs.
her age, Weddell is making each year count. She still hits the New
York City streets for acting gigs and photo shoots, and she does
it with style. If her hair decides not to behave, all the better
excuse for wearing a fabulous hat.
sort of depends on the audition," Weddell explained in a recent
telephone interview. "If they say, 'Just wear anything,' I
will try to find something to complete the costume - something that
feels just a little humorous, a little eccentric, a little gay,
so that everybody won't think this is just an old lady."
her years of auditioning, Weddell would occasionally bump into her
daughter's childhood friend, Jyll Johnstone, who had also been bit
by the acting bug.
that phase was over, she called and asked to follow me around with
a camera," said Weddell. "I didn't think very much about
Off" completes a trilogy of documentaries by Johnstone celebrating
women of progressing years and talents, including "Martha &
Ethel" and "Throwing Curves: Eva Zeisel."
is really the sweetest director - unflappable Jyll," Weddell
said. "She's so patient, and I think that is an accomplishment."
ages 80 to 90, the film follows Weddell as she attends classes for
acting, singing and dancing. During the interview she even broke
into song while gushing about her love for classic jazz.
the years have begun to take their toll.
might arise from the bed with energy, but in 15 minutes it may be
gone," Weddell said. "A teaspoonful of brandy helps if
I can't get to the gym to stand on my head."
seen in the film smoking with a cigarette holder, Weddell confesses
to her only vice.
would really gladly slit my throat if they saw me smoke, as my aunt
paid me $5 during the Depression to not smoke until I was 17,"
she said. "I don't know if it sends me back to those days of
being so light on my feet and dancing down the street and singing,
but I enjoy it as I do coffee."
film credits that span from "The Purple Rose of Cairo"
to "Hitch," Weddell has played a number of roles, including
the transgendered Miss Mumsley in the 1981 horror spoof, "Student
choosing her roles, personality can trump the paycheck. "If
I like (the director), I don't care whether they pay me $2 or $200,
as long as I have a love of what we're doing," she said.
attended a screening of "Hats Off" last January at the
Palm Springs International Film Festival.
was so sweet and enthusiastic. It was a wonderful audience, and
I can't wait to go back," she said. "I never felt better
than while being in Palm Springs - maybe it's the atmosphere, maybe
it's the air."