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Who Killed Caylee Anthony?; Interview with Ellen Barkin

Aired June 3, 2011 - 21:00   ET



Shocking developments in the Casey Anthony trial: what she said when she lost control in a jailhouse visit from her parents. And what the fascination about this case says about America.

Plus, John Edwards indicted.


JOHN EDWARDS (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will regret for the rest of my life the pain and the harm that I have caused. But I did not break the law. And I never ever thought I was breaking the law.


MORGAN: What happens now, how strong is the case against him.

Take you inside his defense.

Then -- any list of the hottest woman in movies have to include Ellen Barkin. She's smart, she's sassy, and she's very sexy.


MORGAN: You are my kind of girl.



MORGAN: She romanced some of Hollywood's biggest heartthrobs on screen and off. And tonight, Ellen Barkin is with me.


BARKIN: You're good at this, you know? And you do it with such a light, easy way. One might even forget oneself and answer your questions.


MORGAN: Also, tonight, Edie Falco played some of the toughest women on television, Carmelo Soprano, Nurse Jackie. But wait until you see her in real life. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: You're just feigning being civilized aren't you? You really want to do something awful to me.

EDIE FALCO, ACTRESS: It's my job. No, no, not yet anyway. The night is young.




MORGAN: A big day and a big week in a case that's transfixed America: Casey Anthony on trial for her life, charged with murdering her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.

Today, some shocking recordings played in open court, jailhouse conversations between Casey Anthony and her parents. Listen as Casey loses control.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not trying to get you upset. I'm trying to talk to you.

ANTHONY: No, but I am upset now. I'm completely upset. One, the media is going to have a freaking field day with this. I wasn't even -- I wasn't even supposed to take this.

Let me speak for a second -- dad, I let everybody talk. They're not releasing it. I hope not. I keep saying whatever I have to about the police.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me respond --

ANTHONY: Can someone let me -- God.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Casey -- hold on, sweetheart. Settle down.

ANTHONY: Nobody's letting me speak. You want me to talk. And --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. I'll listen to you.

ANTHONY: Give me three seconds to say something.


ANTHONY: I'm not in control over any of this because I don't know what the hell is going on. I don't know what's going on. My entire life has been taken from me.


MORGAN: Here with the latest on this case is Nancy Grace of our sister network, HLN.

I mean, Nancy, extraordinary recordings there. And it kind of explains, I think, why this case is capturing the interest of America. She seems so ordinary, this girl. She doesn't seem like your average psychopathic killer. And it's that, I think, it's the sheer or ordinariness. She can be the girl next door. Is it that, do you think, that is drawing so much attention?

NANCY GRACE, HOST, HLN'S "NANCY GRACE": Well, as a matter of fact, Piers, that's an excellent observation. Number one, thank you for having me. And, number two, we have just come out of the courthouse where we have been watching all day long as tapes like this one and many, many others are pouring in to evidence.

And the jury is actually transfixed. As a matter of fact, at one point, the judge said, "Do you guys want to go home today?" And they're like, "No, we'll keep watching." They are transfixed on all of this.

This is what we have learned. At one point tot mom says, "I'm the victim." In other words, she's the victim, not Caylee. She loses control, goes viral, and rants on her parents about no one's listening to her.

At one point, Piers, the theory of an accidental drowning comes up and tot mom totally shrugs it off sarcastically as if it means nothing. But yet, all of this is blowing a torpedo into the defense opening statement. They want us to believe that George Anthony molested tot mom and therefore could not tell the truth; that there was an accidental drowning, and that father George discarded the body like trash in a makeshift pet cemetery in a densely wooded area.

But now that we are hearing these jailhouse tapes, we see what was really going on behind the scenes, Piers.

MORGAN: Yes. I mean, you know, if I was looking at this dispassionately and I was a lawyer prosecuting, I would think this is over and done. What you have is a clear case, it seems to me, of a mother who is just mad keen on selfish pleasure and partying who has killed her child probably accidentally and then try to cover it up and then come up with these outrageous lies about her family. That seems to me and almost every observer that I talked to.

GRACE: That is how it's playing out. But under the law, under American law, there is a theory called felony murder. If you commit a felony -- say a bank robbery and you don't intend a death to occur. But a death occurs during a felony, that equals murder in our country.

So, in this case, pursuant to this accidental death with chloroform -- remember, there are computer searches way back in March, Caylee goes missing in June, where tot mom is looking up how to make homemade chloroform, how to break someone's neck, how to turn house hold items to weapons. Even if she were using chloroform as a babysitter, chloroform in Caylee so she can go to sleep. So, tot mom could go party and Caylee died in that manner, that would still be felony murdered and aggravated assault with a death occurring.

But the state is alleging something far more nefarious. They're saying that the murder weapon is not the chloroform but the duct tape bound across the child's mouth and nose.

MORGAN: I mean, would you advocate the death penalty in this case, Nancy?

GRACE: Well, Piers, this is my feeling on the death penalty -- there are certain cases that are so heinous that option should be offered to a jury. Then it is up to a jury to determine what will be justice -- in this case, justice for Caylee. In this case, we see tot mom as a cold-hearted and callus killer according to the police. I don't know if the jury is going to agree with that.

It depends really on what the defense does. I know they don't have a burden to prove anything. But if tot mom takes the stand and let's just say makes a touchdown, she may get a lesser included offense like voluntary manslaughter.

MORGAN: Nancy, thank you very much.

Now, I want to turn to the big political story of the day which is the John Edwards case, the former senator, vice presidential nominee, and presidential candidate which reduced in standing in front of reporters and insisting that he didn't break the law. That came after a federal grand jury indicted him for allegedly using campaign funds to buy the silence of his mistress. If he's convicted, Edwards can face up to 30 years behind bars.

But how good is the government's case?

Joining me now is Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, and Alan Dershowitz, criminal defense attorney and author of the "Trials Zion."

Alan Dershowitz, let me start with you. I mean, this is a truly spectacular potential fall from grace for a man who could have been just three or four years ago president of this country. Do you think we're going to see John Edwards facing a trial for which he could be convicted here?

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, "TRIALS ZION" AUTHOR: Well, he'll face a trial unless his lawyers plea bargain. But this is a sleazy indictment. This is an indictment which reads more like an expose from the ""National Enquirer"" than like a legal document. It's filled with this stuff about the personal immorality and his personal life -- much of which is very irrelevant -- and it's very short on legal analysis and legal theory.

For example, it says that part of the reason for the payment was, quote, "to facilitate Edwards' extramarital affair." To facilitate the affair -- what does it have to do with the campaign or making him president? And it quotes the law as saying that it doesn't cover payments that would be made irrespective of the candidacy.

His defense is going to be that these are friends who were protecting him from exposure because he didn't want his wife who is suffering from cancer to find out about it. These payments would have been made even if he wasn't running for office. This just doesn't do justice to the United States and to the Justice Department. There are better things to do with prosecutorial discretion than this sleazy indictment.

MORGAN: Melanie Sloan, is it as simple as that? Because the crux of this matter seems to be this money that was given to John Edwards primarily by quite an elderly lady who has donated cash was going to specifically harbor this mistress away from prying media eyes.

Now, it really comes down to: is that a campaign donation? Because the reason he was doing this -- yes, it was partly to prevent Mrs. Edwards from finding out. But it was also surely partly to protect his position as a potential presidential candidate.

So, in that sense, it is a donation to help him politically, isn't it?

MELANIE SLOAN, CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY & ETHICS: That's certainly what the prosecution is going to argue here. But I don't think there's any case for that. Campaign contribution has never been defined that broadly to allow a wealthy person who wants to donate to a politician's mistress -- give money to a politician's mistress to say that's a campaign contribution. I think it's a huge stretch and there's literally no precedent in the law.

You also have to wonder why the Justice Department was so eager to take on this case when so recently it dropped the case against John Ensign, for example, a senator from Nevada who was found to have helped his aide create a lobbying business in violation of the law and lied to the FEC about a $96,000 severance payment made to that former mistress. So, there's really something incomprehensible about the strategy over at the Department of Justice.

MORGAN: Al Dershowitz, I mean, Greg Craig, who is the attorney for Edwards, sort of goes along for what you said, it's an unprecedented prosecution, much less an unprecedented civil case. No one would have known or should have known or could have been expected to know that these payments would be treated as campaign contributions.

Is it as clear cut as that do you think?

DERSHOWITZ: Well, I think he's right. Craig is a great, great lawyer. Edwards is lucky to have him. And I think he put his finger right on it. This is a criminal statute. You have to read criminal statutes narrowly.

You can't be creative in the criminal law. It has to be clear -- Thomas Jefferson once said the criminal law has to be so clear that you can understand it if you read it while running.

Now, you read the statute and it just doesn't seem to cover this conduct. And creativity has no role in the justice system.

I would hope that Greg Craig would get it dismissed before it gets to a trial, because if it gets to a trial, it's going to be a very hard case for the defense because Edwards is so unsympathetic because the indictment itself is so filled with irrelevancies about his personal life and about things that are not in any way germane to the statute that I think this is a case where the courts have to intrude early and say, no, we're not going to let the case go to the jury because the jury might be prejudice to the surrounding atmospherics. And that's not the way the criminal justice system works.

Just remember if it can be done against Edwards, whom many people do not like, the same kind of broad application, kin of Accordion-like application of the statute can be used against any politician. And the criminalization of policy differences is a great problem in America. It was used against Bill Clinton and it was used, I think, against Dick Armey, a Republican on the right.

I don't like it when it's used against Republicans. I don't like it when it's used against Democrats. I think these are political issues that should be kept in the political realm and kept out of the courts.

MORGAN: Melanie, finally, obviously, both of you seemed in agreement, this is unprecedented and pretty well unfair on John Edwards. Is there a political undertone to this? Has this decision been taken for political reasons, do you think?

SLOAN: I think that's a legitimate question. A U.S. attorney who's a holdover from the Bush administration who has kept on, in fact, so he could continue on with this investigation is the person who's handled this matter and then he's the person who's taking on this incredibly novel indictment. And by the way, he's a former staffer for Jesse Helms, the famous conservative senator from North Carolina, senator.

And now, if he would not have been allowed to proceed with the case, if it hadn't gone to indictment, if the higher ups at Justice had said, really, you have no case, then he would have screamed and the right would have screamed it was political, that the Obama administration has shut down this investigation in order to help John Edwards -- which is, of course, laughable because really there's no person in America who's sympathetic to John Edwards. But being unsympathetic to John Edwards is who by in definition a louse does not mean his conduct was criminal.

MORGAN: Melanie Sloan, Alan --

DERSHOWITZ: (INAUDIBLE) who once it was said that the worst laws are made when they go after SOBs, people who nobody likes, because it's so easy to get convictions against people nobody likes. But then, those precedents lie around like a loaded gun and can be used by any political administration against any unpopular candidate.

MORGAN: Alan, I got to leave it there, unfortunately. It's a fascinating case. I share your misgivings about the reasons for this. I also think if it does go to trial, he doesn't stand a chance for the reasons you both said.

Thank you both very much.

Coming up next: Ellen Barkin -- her life, her loves, and her journey from Hollywood to Broadway.


MORGAN: When you think of screen siren, then you think-- well, I think Ellen Barkin. She sizzled in more than 40 Hollywood films and now she's back where she belongs in her hometown of New York, storming in on Broadway in the normal hot and astonishing role that's earned her a Tony nomination and makes almost everybody that goes to watch it cry. Ellen Barkin -- before we go any further, this is a picture of you at some event.


MORGAN: When I saw this, I thought it was Cameron Diaz.

BARKIN: Or maybe Cameron Diaz's mother.

MORGAN: No. Cameron Diaz. I mean, someone gave me some research notes on you, and I hate to be ungentlemanly, but there's a reason I'm doing this. It says you're 57 years old.

BARKIN: Yes. I don't find that ungentlemanly.

MORGAN: I find it preposterous.

BARKIN: I was 54 then.

MORGAN: You look like Cameron's twin sister.

BARKIN: Thank you.

MORGAN: Do people say that to you?

BARKIN: I think -- yes, it is something I've heard. When she first appeared in "The Mask," I heard a lot there's -- there's a little girl in "The Mask" who looks just like you.

MORGAN: I want to read you a quote from "People" magazine in 1989.

"It's hard looking at Ellen Barkin without thinking of sex. She has a body that could stop the fighting in Beirut, a voice that purrs like velvet rubbed the wrong way, and enough sensuality to set your tie on fire."

Ellen? Take my tie. Set it on fire, baby. So when you read that about yourself, I mean, no pressure, but blimey (ph).

BARKIN: I don't read that about myself. I didn't. Did it say that?


BARKIN: I usually don't --

MORGAN: "People" magazine said that about you.

BARKIN: I like that.

MORGAN: The Bible of celebrity in America.

BARKIN: Exactly.

MORGAN: I mean, do you see yourself as a sex siren?


MORGAN: Really?

BARKIN: Well, no. I mean, look, obviously, they -- you have to be identified as something. And I think because the movie that kind of bumped my career up was a -- I guess, sexy movie, "Sea of Love." So then that's what I became.

MORGAN: What do you think of the aging process? Do you hate it?

BARKIN: I don't hate it. It's not my favorite thing in the world. I'd rather be --

MORGAN: What's the worst thing about it?

BARKIN: You know, the worst thing about it is saying the number. Like, I'd be much happier saying 47.

MORGAN: No, I get that. But lots of women are 57 and looking at you right now in this interview thinking, boy, you shouldn't be complaining. I mean, you know, you look amazing.

BARKIN: Well, because it -- you know, I have professional people take care of me, and I don't look like this when I wake up. And also, it is my job. Like, if I were a ballet dancer, I'd be practicing my dance routines every day. You know, you have to stay in shape and you have to focus on what you look like. And you know, you're on a big, fat movie screen. You got to try to keep it together a little bit.

MORGAN: What I like about you is your teacher said you weren't pretty enough -- their quotes -- and that you had very little talent and no spark.

BARKIN: No spark.

MORGAN: I mean, no spark?

BARKIN: I know. But I had a little talent which I clung to.

MORGAN: Does it make you laugh now when you think back to that?

BARKIN: Yes, it does.

MORGAN: Awfully satisfying, isn't it?

BARKIN: It makes me laugh now, but I do have to say there were 10 years between the age of 15 and maybe 25 that it didn't make me laugh. I mean, I was unable to go for an audition until I was 25 years old. And I was studying acting regularly through high school and college, but I couldn't audition for anything.


BARKIN: Because they completely crushed me. I was way too insecure. And I guess -- I mean, you know, 15, you're young, you're not formed. You know, you're only just finding out who you are barely.

MORGAN: So, the irony, of course, being in this amazing role must be -- I would imagine we'll come to it -- but one of the great roles of your career. All the reviews I've read say pretty at some stage or dazzling or beautiful, whatever they want to say, incredible talent -- and most of all, amazing spark. So, this terrible prophecy of these people that dented you for so long.

You're having the last laugh, aren't you?

BARKIN: You could look at it that way.

MORGAN: I bet you did.

BARKIN: A little bit. I mean, sometimes I think I just -- I get angry and I think who else are they doing this to? And are there still kids -- they're saying this too? And I -- I know why they said it. You know, I didn't have a straight nose. I had had my two front teeth knocked out as a 10-year-old and so I still had broken teeth. I have squinty eyes.

You know, I didn't fit their idea of what pretty was. And so, I understand why they were discouraging. I don't understand why they were mean and cruel.

MORGAN: No. Completely unacceptable. Let's watch a little clip from the movie that exploded you certainly into my consciousness which was from "The Big Easy" with Dennis Quaid and my favorite scene, I have to say.

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS) MORGAN: And even (ph) now --

BARKIN: That wasn't a clip. That was just a kissing scene.


MORGAN: Well, let's find out what you thought of that scene before we explore this further because you did tell my predecessor Larry King what you thought of it. Let's watch a clip of that.


BARKIN: I don't think it's the hardest thing to do because I think I actually -- I like the --

LARRY KING: And why, Ellen?

BARKING: I like them because, first of all, I don't think I'm supposed to be turned on. I think that what happens when we do sex scenes is we immediately think we're out of the movie. This is real. This is sex. They're really having sex. I mean, you're not. It's -- it's a scene like any other scene. And in some way, I find them very freeing.


MORGAN: I mean, Larry looked almost as perturbed as I am by this bombshell revelation. Most -- most actors say, no, no, it's so anodyne and so many people in the room. But you would go for it. I mean, you --

BARKIN: I did. I did find this freeing a lot at the time.

MORGAN: Really?

BARKIN: I mean, I don't know how I'd feel about it now.

MORGAN: Could you imagine doing a scene like that now?

BARKIN: Yes, of course. Why not?

MORGAN: No reason, no.

BARKIN: Look, I think that it -- here's how I think about it. It's -- for me, anyway, acting is a very intimate art, and it involves the telling of secrets. Now, when are we most exposed and telling our deepest secrets? When we're most intimate, when we're having sex. So, I always see it as a wonderful opportunity to reveal aspects of a character.

MORGAN: Does it help when you've got some hunk like Dennis Quaid?

BARKIN: It helps when it's Dennis Quaid. It doesn't hurt.


MORGAN: Even the whole generation of people like me who have grown up remembering almost every second of that wishing we were Dennis Quaid.

BARKIN: Really? I thought everybody wished they were me because it was Dennis Quaid.


MORGAN: Well, I didn't, I have to say.

BARKIN: Not you. OK.


BARKIN: No. I think we -- you know, look, you get -- you know, you're on a movie set and you're acting with someone and hopefully you do get along. I've had -- I've hardly had any bad experiences with actors.

MORGAN: Who's the sexiest man you've ever done a scene with of any kind?

BARKIN: That is so unfair.

MORGAN: Name me one. If you could relive a scene --

BARKIN: I couldn't.

MORGAN: Come on. You know you can. You know who it is, I can tell. I can tell. You're thinking of one guy right now.

Tell you what, have a think.


MORGAN: We'll come back after a break. You're going to answer this.

BARKIN: I'm going to lie.



MORGAN: Now that was a scene from "Ocean's Thirteen" which paired you with Matt Damon. Now I've had him sitting where you are and I can probably comfortably say you've not had a fling with him, because he's one of the most happily married guy I've ever met in my life.


MORGAN: Four girls, I think he has under like 12 or something ridiculous.

But in answer to my question before the break, you've now had time to think about it, who was the one? Come on.

BARKIN: My ex-husband, Gabriel Byrne.

MORGAN: You're just being diplomatic. BARKIN: No, I'm not.


MORGAN: Was he really?

BARKIN: And we had a very graphic sex scene.

MORGAN: Tell me about --

BARKIN: That I can say.

MORGAN: Tell me about your ex because you have a very nice ex- husband relationship, don't you?

BARKIN: I do. I do.

MORGAN: I mean, you go to each other's homes on each other's birthdays, you celebrate with all your kids on their birthdays.

BARKIN: He came to my opening night. I go to his opening nights.

MORGAN: He cried at your opening night I was told.

BARKIN: I think he was very moved by the play -- very moved.

MORGAN: How have you managed to do it?

BARKIN: Well, we're both very sane people, I think. We raised two children together that -- and that was our first commitment. And we knew we -- we had to do that. And I think also -- I would have to say I think that we never forgot why we fell in love.

MORGAN: I like this quote you said once: "when you fall in love with someone, there are reasons. They don't disappear."

BARKIN: They don't.

MORGAN: I like that line.


MORGAN: A bit often, it's very hard to remember them in the antagonism of divorce and everything.

BARKIN: We didn't have antagonism. Also, we always liked each other. We liked each other before we were married. And we continued to like each other. And I think there is an enormous amount of mutual respect.

MORGAN: He's never remarried, right? .


MORGAN: And you're single. BARKIN: Yes.

MORGAN: You like each other still? Meet up at parties, got a couple of kids. You getting where I'm going here? Wouldn't it just be easier?

BARKIN: Easier than what? I don't believe in easy.

MORGAN: I can see in your eyes, you're thinking what I'm thinking.

BARKIN: You're reading so much into what I'm --

MORGAN: Is it unthinkable that you two could get back together?

BARKIN: We had a wonderful eight, ten years together. We have two fabulous children. And we are --

MORGAN: That wasn't the question.

BARKIN: You're very probing.

MORGAN: Yeah, but I'm curious.

BARKIN: You're good at this, you know? You do it with such a light, easy way. One might even forget oneself and answer your question.

MORGAN: I don't think you need to.

BARKIN: But being a 30-something-year veteran, because I'm 57 -- the number I hate to say but I will -- I know better.

MORGAN: Let's come back after the break when you have time to collect your thoughts.


MORGAN: Back now with Ellen Barkin. Before we move on from this fascinating area of discussion, I just want to read you one question. I go out -- it's about dating. "I go out with men. You think, why am I here? This is a great dinner. Why are we having dinner. Why don't we just go home. Isn't there a more important question. Let's just see first if the sex thing works and then we can have dinner."

I mean, you are my kind of a girl.

BARKIN: Oh, God!

MORGAN: Don't answer that. Let's move on.

BARKIN: No, I can answer that. Because it is true, right? Like I think we have the whole thing backwards. Like first you go to dinner. Then if you like each other, you have several more dinners and then you find out you're not sexually compatible.

MORGAN: Better to start of --

BARKIN: Exactly. That's the big question, right? Because clearly if you're not sexually compatible --

MORGAN: No point in wasting the dinners.

BARKIN: Exactly. So I say get the sex thing out of the way and then see if all of the other pieces work.

MORGAN: Do you still operate under that same system.

BARKIN: I plead the fifth.

MORGAN: Let's move on to this play. Because it is setting the world alight. Just reading some of the reviews here, "magnificent, "slam dunk Broadway debut," "Brings Down the House."

You have called it the proudest performance of your career. I've got members of my staff who saw it last week, who just said the entire audience was in tears, never mind them. Members of your own troupe are in tears. It's an incredible tour de force. Tell me about the role.

BARKIN: I think it's a tour de force for all of us, really. And I think that part of the reason I am so proud of it is because it's a very important, profound play. It was performed first in 1985.

It's about the early days of the AIDS epidemic, and when all of it was just happening.

MORGAN: You play this sort of fire brand doctor who can see that this is a terrible thing, and that no one knows what to do about it. They're demonizing it and so on. She just isn't going to accept this.

BARKIN: Right. She just has a feeling. And she's right. You know? She was a very intelligent woman. She was a hematologist/oncologist. She started to see some of the first cases. And it fit all of the patterns.

She also had a personal connection in that she had polio. Her name was Dr. Linda Labenstein (ph). All the characters are based on real people.

So I think she had a personal connection to what it means to get felled by a virus.

MORGAN: Do you know who people who have died from AIDS?

BARKIN: Certainly?



MORGAN: Is this something a if you lived in Hollywood --

BARKIN: I live in New York. Yes.

MORGAN: A lot of people?


MORGAN: On the business side of AIDS.


MORGAN: It was a terrible thing --


MORGAN: -- for a long time. The optimism about AIDS is it would appear statistically that the battle is being slowly won. Do you think that's the case?

BARKIN: The battle is not being won, which is why I'm so proud to be a part of this play now, because I think it's more important than ever that people are reminded there is no cure. It seems to me that governments have stopped looking for a cure because the industry -- the pharmaceutical industry is making a fortune off of these drugs that are just barely keeping people alive.

They are very expensive and not affordable to anyone. And I do think that, look, the pharmaceutical industry, you know, you don't -- I can't even get started about it. But I think that when they have something that's as profitable as this, really, don't they slow it down a little, because a cure is going to just stop their money flow?

And I think, you know, what's there not to get angry about?

MORGAN: Something so passionate, so visceral, has such an amazing connection with an audience night-after-night. How can you go from that to a movie set, doing something that will inevitably be so trivial by comparison?

BARKIN: Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn't. I have a movie coming out in the fall that I'm very passionate about.

MORGAN: What is that?

BARKIN: It's called "Another Happy Day." I act in it with Ellen Bernsten and Demi Moore, Kate Bosworth, tons of -- George Kennedy. I produced it as well.

So there's a good thing about my final act. Like I seem to be doing things that I really care about. And that feels good.

MORGAN: If you could write your epitaph, what would it be? Doom laden --

BARKIN: Jesus Christ.

MORGAN: What would it say? You can write your own tombstone. The last thing you're going to write, because as far as you're concerned, that's it.

BARKIN: That's something I never thought about in my life.

MORGAN: Now's your chance.

BARKIN: On the whole, I'd rather be in Philadelphia?

MORGAN: Yes. I'd rather be in Philadelphia.

Ellen Barkin.

BARKIN: Thank you so much.

MORGAN: Thank you very much.

BARKIN: This was wonderful.

MORGAN: It was a pleasure.

BARKIN: Thank you.

MORGAN: Coming up, the star of "Nurse Jackie" and "the Sopranos," also Ellen Barkin's competition for the Tony Award. Edie Falco is next.



MORGAN: You know Edie Falco from "the Sopranos" and "nurse Jackie." This accomplished has won not one, not two, but four Emmys -- greedy, Edie -- two Golden Globes, three Screen Actor Guild Awards, and two SAG Awards. Now she's nominated for a Tony for her role in the "House of Blues." I'm sorry -- let's do that again. I got over excited. "House of Blue Leaves."

You know Edie Falco from "the Sopranos" and "Nurse Jackie," This accomplished actress has won not one, not two, but four Emmys -- greedy, Edie -- as well as two Golden Globes, three Screen Actors Guild Awards and two Ansam SAG Awards. Now she's up for a Tony for her role in "The House of Blue Leaves" on Broadway. And Edie joins me now.

I'm sorry, but you're always going to be Carmela to me. There's nothing you can ever do about it.

EDIE FALCO, ACTRESS: That's your loss, I guess.

MORGAN: It is my loss. I'll go and see your plays. I'll watch your movies. I'll your other TV stuff.

FALCO: Thank you.

MORGAN: When I heard you were coming in, it's just like this is Carmela. Part of my life.

FALCO: That's flattering, I suppose?

MORGAN: Is it? Or is just incredibly annoying when people say that.

FALCO: It's nice, it's nice. It means people watched it and people liked it, I hope. That's how I translate it.

MORGAN: It's been four years. I want to play a clip from it, just to remind you.

FALCO: That's where I draw the line, however.

MORGAN: -- the role you left behind and you clearly are fed up with it.

FALCO: I'm sorry.


FALCO: The past year, I have been dreaming and fantasizing and in love with Furio.

Every morning when he'd come to pick you up, I would look forward to it all night long in bed next to you, those nights when you were actually in the bed. And he would ring the doorbell, I felt like my heart would come out of my chest.

He would smile and we'd talk. And then you would come down the stairs. And I felt probably like someone who was terminally ill and somehow they managed to forget it for a minute. Then it all comes back.


FALCO: Oh, yes.

MORGAN: What do you think when you see that?

FALCO: I remember Jim punching the wall behind me and being a little bit concerned for my well being.

MORGAN: He is actually a very gentle guy in real life.

FALCO: He is.

MORGAN: It's quite weird watching him smashing holes in a wall.

FALCO: We all have many sides to us. No, he's kind and generous. He's incredibly generous. He's a very lovely guy.

MORGAN: Just reading about you --

FALCO: Oh, God.

MORGAN: It seems to me there is a strange contradiction for you, which you have wrestled with, which is that it was one of the great parts that as an actress you dream you get, and incredible. The downside is it propelled you into a level of fame that you just weren't comfortable with, didn't want, probably still hate.

And you can't really turn that tap off.

One of the other odd things I thought about it was you play this incredible wife in the show, one of the great wives of television history, I would argue, not wanting to oversell this. And yet you've never been a wife yourself.

FALCO: Right.


FALCO: Why did I play her? Or why have I never been a wife?

MORGAN: Why have you never been a wife?

FALCO: Life has turned out so differently for me than I originally thought it would. Although I can't say I ever really thought about how it would go.

MORGAN: You had this great quote, which is one of the reasons I asked you. "I'm not sad about my life. It's unconventional. It doesn't look anything like I thought it would."

How did you imagine your life would look?

FALCO: I don't know. You see the way things go in your family. My cousins, you know, they're married and they have kids. And many of them for many years already.

I assumed that would just happen. But then I found this thing that I loved. And that's where I've been racing towards, you know? And everything else kind of was put in the back seat.

MORGAN: Do you think you'll ever get married one day?

FALCO: I couldn't tell you. You know, I never thought I'd have kids.

MORGAN: Would you like to?

FALCO: What's happening right now.

MORGAN: I'm asking you a question.

FALCO: Would I like to be married? I don't know.

MORGAN: When you see friends who are married, do you envy them or not?

FALCO: No, actually I don't, in all honesty.

MORGAN: In terms of your acting career, you could have just taken the easy money that came after "Sopranos." Just sat back and made terrible movies in Hollywood.


MORGAN: You chose not to. You've gone on stage. You've done challenging roles, an incredible array of awards. You're a brilliant actress.

FALCO: Thank you.

MORGAN: We're going to have a short break, I want to talk about two battles you fought against addiction and against cancer.

FALCO: I'll be here.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This isn't about me.

FALCO: You're right. Take a look at this stuff, Kevin. We got lasers, (EXPLETIVE DELETED) muscle relaxers. Half the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) on here is school supplies. Look, Gracie's ear drops, 110 (EXPLETIVE DELETED) dollars, unless you want to buy the generic crap, which I don't. That's what this is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am not talking about ear drops.

FALCO: OK. We've got Ambien, Vicodin. I don't (EXPLETIVE DELETED) sleep, Kevin. My body is falling apart. What do you want from me? For (EXPLETIVE DELETED) sake, call the cops!


MORGAN: That was Edie Falco as "Nurse Jackie." Why are you laughing?

FALCO: There's not much left with the bleeps, truth be told.

MORGAN: "Nurse Jackie" is a great role. What I like about it is it's so obviously apparent to a viewer you must have been through something similar. It's so real and visceral, the performance. And of course you had. You've been clean for nearly 20 years.


MORGAN: But when you played the role, how much was absolutely you when you were going through addiction?

FALCO: Actually, my situation was very different from her. First of all, I was never a pills person. And I -- you know, I was very quiet about what I was going through. Nobody knew about it. And I was surrounded by a lot of people who had it worse than I did. And everyone has a different level of tolerance for how bad things can get.

MORGAN: Yours was just alcohol?

FALCO: It was alcohol, yeah. I mean, a lot of people were sort of surprised even that I had a problem, because they -- had they known, they would have had to look at their own drinking.

MORGAN: Do you ever miss alcohol?

FALCO: I don't actually.

MORGAN: You took on cancer. You had no choice. You had cancer and you're a survivor. Do you feel you've beaten it? Is that part of the way you win these things?

FALCO: I don't know. I never felt like the survivors being seen as like champions or something. But if the cancer wanted to win, it was going to win. I was lucky is what it came down to. I was very lucky.

And there are women who fought much harder than me who did not make it. So I'm not going to say that because of what I did that I came through. No, I was just lucky. There are cancers and there are cancers.

And mine was curable and that's why I sit here now.

MORGAN: Do you like doing interviews?

FALCO: Sometimes. You know, if I feel like someone is actually asking me questions that came from the last thing we talked about and they're actually looking at me as I'm answering them. But that's a rare commodity.

MORGAN: What's happening now?

FALCO: You're doing just fine.

MORGAN: I want to talk to you about this hot new role of yours.


FALCO: Feldman hits me. Johnson screams and I hit him. I hit them all.


MORGAN: That's you in Broadway on "House of Blue Leaves." Why are you blocking your ears?

FALCO: I am far worse than you know. But if I hear it, I'm immediately like oh, God, what was that? That was the wrong word that I stressed or whatever.

MORGAN: Are you a real perfectionist? Is that what this all comes down to, that your life is never going to be right for you?

FALCO: No, it's -- you know, I like to believe that -- I can never hear myself the way I appear to other people, hear or see myself. So when I -- I'm hoping it doesn't look as offensive as that just did to me.

MORGAN: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

FALCO: A person I've gotten to know very well.

MORGAN: Do you like her?

FALCO: Very much so, yeah. It was hard won.

MORGAN: That's the impression I get.


MORGAN: You're quite a tough cookie.

FALCO: It could be much worse. You know what I mean? I'm perfectly happy.

MORGAN: You keep hinting it could have been much worse for you.

FALCO: I don't know.

MORGAN: if things had followed a different path for you, when you think about the worst case scenario, where could you have ended up?

FALCO: You know, had I not had the whatever, wherewithal, gumption to quit drinking -- I have a highly addictive personality. It could have led to far more horrifying things. I could have landed anywhere.

If I had decided not to go into therapy, I don't know. All of these things have given me a life that's been absolutely captivating and thrilling and challenging and all those things. And it's because of little decisions I made along the way.

I think I was just blessed with the foresight I guess to follow a healthier path, I don't know.

MORGAN: The thing about theater that all the great actors tell me is that there's just nothing in movies or television that ever replicates that moment of curtains open, live audience, and the ability to just connect that with real people.


MORGAN: Is that what it's like for you?

FALCO: Absolutely, it is. It is the strangest thing. If you've never done it, to try to explain the feeling of walking out there, and you know the people are there to be told a story, and I'm going to help tell the story. It's not my story. It's a writer's story. But I'm sort of the conduit. Some very strange thing happens. I don't really know how it works. People say, how do you find a character. I have no idea. I really have no idea.

MORGAN: Are you miles more confident like many performers when you're on a stage?

FALCO: For sure.

MORGAN: Than you are in real life? Do you wish you could sometimes have that confidence in real life?

FALCO: I like the mix up of it. I like having the play and then I like having my real life. I don't necessarily want one without the other. They complement each other well.

MORGAN: How many times have you been properly in love in your life?

FALCO: Oh, my heavens. That was a segue I didn't notice. Three. That's all I'm saying.

MORGAN: Are you as happy now as you've ever been?

FALCO: I am, for sure.

MORGAN: That's nice.

FALCO: My definition of happiness has also shifted. Happy used to mean something else. Happy now means waking up in the morning, feeling good how the previous day went, looking forward to what I got in front of me. Can't wait to see my kid's faces. That's as good as it gets.

MORGAN: Other than a Tony in your hand.

FALCO: Then, of course, there's the Tony, as I'm cooking breakfast for my children, asking them to hold it as I pour my coffee.

MORGAN: Have you thought about your speech?


MORGAN: If you win?

FALCO: No, I really, haven't.

MORGAN: I never believe actresses when they say that.

FALCO: I don't know what to tell you. It happens to be true.

MORGAN: Really?

FALCO: Yes, I have no -- I don't -- I have no idea.

MORGAN: It's been a pleasure. Nice to meet you and good luck. FALCO: Nice to meet you as well. Thank you.

MORGAN: That's all for tonight. Now here's Anderson Cooper with "AC 360."