It’s been a busy year for Jacqueline Bisset. The actress is appearing in several new films scheduled for release soon as she also looks back on the anniversary of the 1968 Steve McQueen classic crime drama “Bullitt,” released 50 years ago this month.
However, Bisset’s hectic schedule this year has prevented participation in some anniversary events.
“I’m happy to do any upcoming ones for ‘Bullitt’ if I’m available, as long as I don’t have to open any supermarkets!” said Bisset, laughing, from Los Angeles. “When I was first under contract to 20th Century Fox, that’s the sort of publicity we were asked to do.”
Recently returned from filming in Germany, Bisset has a role in “Honey in the Head” for Warner Bros, an English remake of the successful 2014 German film "Head Full of Honey." Also starring Nick Nolte and Matt Dillon, the film’s Alzheimer's theme was personal for Bisset.
“My mother got dementia in her early 50s and lived with it for 35 years, so it’s something I knew a lot about,” she explained. “The film approaches the subject with a little humor because that can sometimes help families dealing with it. It’s painful humor, but can make it more bearable.”
The film also reunites Bisset with Nolte, the pair having starred as treasure-hunters in the 1977 underwater feature, “The Deep,” noted for its stunning underwater sequences — not to mention Bisset’s memorable wet T-shirt scenes.
“I had a stunt double for some underwater shots, but she looked nothing like me, so it meant I attempted more stunts that I would have liked," she said.
Also memorable was co-star Robert Shaw. “He was a character but adorable, too – naughty, playful, very bright, and cracked me up with his humor. We were almost like little children playing.”
Her memories of working with Steve McQueen on “Bullitt” a decade before, early in her film career, are also fond ones.
“Steve was a major star at the time but very patient with me and we would go out for meals with the director and producer when we’d break for lunch,” recalled Bisset, who didn’t appear in any of the film’s action sequences. But she was on set to witness some of the legendary driving scenes often performed by McQueen, a keen race car enthusiast.
“Watching those cars jumping in the air on the streets of San Francisco was amazing. There were also some scenes where I had to drive Steve around in a yellow convertible and remember thinking God almighty, I don’t want to mess this up with a race car driver next to me!”
Bisset’s other upcoming film releases include “Asher,” shot in New York with Ron Perlman, and “Here and Now” with Sarah Jessica Parker and Reené Zellweger due for theatrical and On Demand release November 9.
“Sarah was lovely to work with, very charming and welcoming with a very strong work ethic,” said Bisset, who was also in Venice recently for the premiere of "Magic Lantern."
“That's a beautiful little film by Iranian director Amir Naderi which we shot back in LA," she said. "So I’ve been traveling quite a bit this year!”
Nick Thomas teaches at Auburn University at Montgomery and has written features, columns, and interviews for more than 700 newspapers and magazines. See www.getnickt.org