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A Minute with Vanessa Redgrave

'Juliet' actress talks about her family legacy and young actors

Legendary British screen actress Vanessa Redgrave stars in the new romantic dramedy "Letters to Juliet."

The film is about a young woman, played by Amanda Seyfried, who goes on a quest to reunite two elderly lovers -- played by Redgrave and her real-life husband Franco Nero -- who are referenced in a dated letter she finds while vacationing in Italy.

Academy Award-winner Redgrave, 73, spoke to Reuters two days before the death of her sister Lynn Redgrave about the similarities between herself and her character, Claire, in the film that opens on May 14.

Q: When one thinks of Vanessa Redgrave of the famous Redgrave dynasty, a Hollywood teen romance is not exactly the type of movie genre that first comes to mind. Why do it?

"I liked my character immensely. Claire's story touched off a lot of personal memories of how I first went to Italy when I was 15. At that time, it was very much post-war. The school I went to organized a trip for six girls and we all went together for 10 days with a chaperone."

Q: Did you fall in love on that trip, like Claire did?

"I fell in love with everything that I saw. I actually did fall in love with a much older man in one of the cities we visited. His mum made little pastries to host us all for a meal and he said: 'Sweets for the sweet.' I thought that was the most wonderful compliment. It's very banal now, but at the time, I'd never heard of such a thing being said."

Q: You met your husband when both of you starred in 1967 movie "Camelot." Now he plays your long-lost love in "Letters to Juliet." Did you have any favorite scenes together?

"I liked all of them. There were some beautiful scenes that we did together. The one where we finally meet up -- that was super."

Q: Amanda Seyfried is very much a current Hollywood "it" girl. What do you think of today's young actors?

"Her generation is completely different from mine. They have their own confidence and their own doubts. My generation -- and this comes into play in the movie -- was completely bound by notions that the most you might do is kiss before getting married."

Q: Do you believe in love and destiny?

"I don't believe in destiny at all. And yes, I believe in love. I think people get a lot of very idealized images from the media about what true love is. Apart from your family, I think you can only find true love over the years."

Q: Speaking of family, this past year has been a difficult one with the loss of you daughter Natasha, 45, and your brother Corin, 70. How have you held up?

"I don't know. I'm not the only one in the family who's (suffered the losses). I can only say this: I know how I feel and I know the rest of the family feels that we all had a very special gift in my eldest daughter and my brother. Obviously we miss them terribly but we try to keep our minds on what a gift their life and their love was."