There is no time for rest when there is so much that needs to be done.
That may be the best way to describe the life of actress Celeste Holm, Academy Award winner, in town to film a Christmas special for Bonneville Media Communications."I'm not doing this to keep myself busy," Holm said in an on-set interview with the Deseret News. "There are so many things that I'm asked to do and I can only do half. I try to keep priorities in order. I'm interested in things that make people proud to be human."
From her early days on Broadway to her most recent filming in Utah at the BYU Motion Picture Studio, Holm says she has striven to work in productions that say something meaningful.
"It's hard to find parts that have enough to say, but it's not the part, it's how good is the show? What does the show have to say to the audience?"
Holm said she was delighted when she read the script of "Nora," a different kind of Christmas story that shows that receiving is as important as giving.
The movie, written and directed by Michael McLean, was inspired by the life of McClean's grandmother, Elnora Lane Wright Green Brown. "Nora" will be televised in approximately 120 markets during the 1989 Christmas season.
"One of the great joys of having someone who feels that way choose to do this movie is that everything that comes to life comes not from any perspective, but from how to tell the story," McLean said.
"It has been very interesting to watch Celeste become my grandmother. It's really extraordinary to watch her transform."
With that, Holm said she doesn't have to fake "Nora" because she is sympathetic to her feelings and understands the story. "I hope when I feel something deeply it will come across."
Holm and co-star Elizabeth Wilson have been on the set shooting since April 17. This week marked the end of filming with several reshoot days.
The idea for "Nora" came after McLean wrote and directed "Mr. Krueger's Christmas." He wanted to tell the story of the other dimension of Christmas--the dimension of receiving.
"I had never seen a movie about Christmas and receiving. They are always about giving. This is a story that takes a look at receiving love and tells the story of how hard it is for most of us to receive."
In the movie, Nora finally realizes that she can't do it by herself and has to receive help from others. She has given to others all her life, but as she grows older, her involvement is cut back because she is losing her sight and her hearing.
She finds herself feeling humiliated and depressed as others step forward to help her. The experience is very stressful for Nora, but her friend Madeline Munford (Wilson) helps her along the way.
"I'm touched by this movie because this makes such a strong statement about Christ and his love and his grace." McLean said. "There is nothing that we can do that equals what he has done for us."
The one-hour Christmas special is being produced for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and will be translated into Spanish, Portuguese, French and Italian.
McLean said Holm is perfect for the part. She is most noted for her role in the stage version of "Oklahoma," written by Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein, in which she performed as Ado Annie, the girl who couldn't say "no."
Anyone who meets Holm can sense her spirit and outlook on life that has come after living for 70 years.
"I think everyone should give up all competition after the age of 13," she said. "I think it's only destructive."
Holm claims she's not a feminist, but says "men need all the help they can get and I think women are there to do it. Of course if a man does a job as well as a woman he should get as much pay."
She won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her film "Gentleman's Agreement" and also had roles in "Come to the Stable," "All About Eve" and "High Society."