Karen Allen cheers as ‘Scrooged’ celebrates 30th anniversary
When it comes to appearing in classic films worth celebrating as they hit anniversary milestones, there’s no question that acclaimed actor Karen Allen has an incredible track record.
Making her big screen debut in the campus comedy “Animal House” in 1978, Allen’s credits also include her pivotal role as Marion Ravenwood opposite Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones in the rip-roaring adventure “Raiders of the Lost Ark” in 1981, and an emotional turn opposite Jeff Bridges in the endearing 1984 sci-fi romantic drama “Starman.”
Also high on the list of Allen’s achievements is her role opposite Bill Murray in the 1988 holiday comedy “Scrooged,” which in the last three decades has rightfully earned its place among the contemporary Christmas films fans have put on their must-see lists every holiday season.
In a recent phone conversation, Allen said she often doesn’t keep track of anniversaries of her films, and it never occurred to her to do so: “Oh, we made ‘Scrooged’ 30 years ago.” Then people started contacting her in the last couple of month about the 30th anniversary of the film. As a result, Allen is more than happy to participate in the celebration of “Scrooged,” which is available now on DVD and Blu-ray (Paramount Home Media Distribution).
“It’s an amazing thing to think that a film is celebrating an anniversary for one thing. It’s kind of extraordinary. I suppose that means that the film has arrived when you celebrate the anniversary of the film. I’ve worked on lots of films that have never celebrated an anniversary,” Allen said, laughing. “It’s quite special.”
Rooted, of course, in author legendary author Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” “Scrooged” stars Bill Murray as Frank Cross and Allen as Claire Phillips. Yet it puts a contemporary spin on the classic tale that feels just as fresh and relevant today as it did when the film was released in theaters in 1988.
“It was a very clever modern retelling. To make Claire a social worker who works with the homeless, and to make Bill’s character a TV executive who is completely egomaniacal in his approach to life — it was just a stroke of genius on Michael O’Donoghue’s genius,” Allen said of the late screenwriter, a “Saturday Night Live” pioneer who co-wrote the film with Mitch Glazer. “I haven’t seen it for a while, and I’m going to see it on the big screen twice in about 10 days. I’m going to two different screenings of it to celebrate its 30th anniversary, so I’m looking forward to seeing how it stays relevant in the modern world. I have a feeling it still feels quite fresh.”
Much in the way Allen has defined many of her roles over the years, the same can be said of Murray, whose classic films include “Stripes,” “Meatballs,” “Caddyshack” and “Ed Wood.” As for “Scrooged,” Allen said she couldn’t imagine anybody else in the role.
“He was perfect for this character. He just dove into it with heart and soul, and he had all the right stuff. I’m sure Michael O’Donoghue was writing it for him,” Allen said.
Currently, Allen has been keeping her hands more than full with other projects, including her directorial debut with the short film “A Tree a Rock a Cloud” and her indie film “Year by the Sea,” for which she has been busy traveling to film festivals over the last couple years; and her clothing business Karen Allen Fiber Arts, based in Massachusetts.
And while she is bound to reunite with some of her “Scrooged” colleagues for the 30th anniversary of the film, Allen is still awaiting an invitation for a planned fifth Indiana Jones adventure in the works from Ford, director Steven Spielberg and writer-producer George Lucas. Her appearance almost seems a given, considering Indy and Marion got married at the end of “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” in 2008.
“I’m waiting patiently. They’re working on a script. It’s been delayed a couple of times … but good for them,” Allen said. “Nobody really ever wants to go forward and make a film if they’re not happy with the script, although we all know that that happens sometimes … I am very, very hopeful.”
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