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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Living with Chronic Illness
Aired January 16, 2008 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Queen Latifah and Diane Keaton -- two of the smartest, funniest, most powerful women in Hollywood. They tell it like it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "GOOD MORNING AMERICA," COURTESY ABC)
DIANE KEATON: Then I wanted to work on the (OBSCENE WORD OMITTED) personality or my -- my -- excuse me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: And "Today's" Meredith Vieira and her husband Richard Cohen. He's battling multiple sclerosis. She's taking care of him. Living with chronic illnesses, next on LARRY KING LIVE.
KING: Don't make me laugh.
We're a little late, folks, so good night.
We begin with two of my favorite people, Diane Keaton and Queen Latifah. They co-star in a new film "Mad Money". I saw the movie this morning. It is really funny and also a hell of a caper.
Diane Keaton, of course, is the Oscar-winning actress, filmmaker and mother of two.
Queen Latifah is the Grammy winning hip-hop star and Oscar- nominated actress. She also just won a -- congratulations.
KEATON: Yes. And congratulations -- a Golden Globe.
KING: You won it in the fastest Golden Globes ever (INAUDIBLE)...
QUEEN LATIFAH: Ever. Ever.
KING: Didn't even get to hear your name.
LATIFAH: And, boy, did I save some money.
KING: Tell me first about working together. What was it like to work with her?
KEATON: Well, it was a discovery process, let's just put it that way.
LATIFAH: Oh. Oh...
KEATON: No, no.
KEATON: No, just -- oh, she was very difficult in the very beginning.
LATIFAH: Here we go.
KEATON: Oh, yes.
LATIFAH: You can dress them up.
KEATON: I love her so much. She's irresistible, of course.
KEATON: And hilarious.
KEATON: There's no but.
KING: No but?
KEATON: No but at all.
KING: Oh, because you said she was difficult to start.
KEATON: Of course she's difficult because she's a...
LATIFAH: Well, she'll create a but.
KEATON: I've got to find it.
LATIFAH: And then we'll work through it. Then we'll spend the day working through it.
KING: What was she like?
KEATON: Rough. LATIFAH: She was a gem.
LATIFAH: A screen gem. No, I love Diane. She's amazing, you know, amazing to work with -- but just amazing to watch and just enjoy. Her personality is just so exciting. She says the craziest things.
KEATON: Uh-oh. Don't say that.
LATIFAH: Not crazy, but like totally...
KEATON: No, no, I...
LATIFAH: ...completely sensible but she says it.
KING: All right, tell me...
LATIFAH: Then it's like, yes, hmmm.
KING: ...how you got that -- why you took this role and how you -- give me the scenario of the movie and you.
KEATON: All right. Dane (INAUDIBLE).
LATIFAH: That's OK. You can call me Dana.
KEATON: I'm sorry.
LATIFAH: It's fine.
LATIFAH: She says I'm crazy, I just think that would be me. KEATON: That's her.
LATIFAH: That would be my government name.
KEATON: It's because, you know, I feel like I'm intimate with her. And I've stepped...
KEATON: No, seriously. I should not -- you know, something. This is what I'm going to do tonight. Zip it up. I've already had...
KING: Good thinking.
KEATON: Yes. It's really good thinking.
No, I'm going to let Queen Latifah talk.
KING: How did you get the role?
KEATON: How did I get the role?
KING: How did it happen?
KEATON: Oh, oh, oh, because I did, "Something's Gotta Give," obviously. And Callie came to me with this project. And then we...
KING: The director?
KEATON: Yes. Callie Khouri. And I loved it, obviously.
LATIFAH: A great (INAUDIBLE).
KEATON: It's fantastic. And so we tried to -- you know, we knew we had to find the right person. And we both solicited Queen Latifah on the set of her movie.
KING: Were you the first one cast?
KEATON: I was, but it wasn't going to happen with me alone, let's just put it that way.
KING: So in other words...
KEATON: Let's be frank.
KING: It had to be an ensemble?
KEATON: Of course it did.
KING: Did you like it right away, Queen?
LATIFAH: I liked her right away and I liked Callie right away. So I was instantly interested just based on their involvement. And then when I read it, I'm like oh, this is the people's movie. You know, this is the kind of movie...
KEATON: That is exactly right.
LATIFAH: Yes. I mean you root for characters like this. You root for a caper like this actually being possible and happening because that's like -- especially in these trying times, with things the way they are in America.
KEATON: The economic downturn.
LATIFAH: You would like to see...
KING: We're in a recession. Yes.
LATIFAH: ...somebody get a little something back out of big brother.
LATIFAH: So this was (INAUDIBLE).
KING: Is this based on a true story?
KEATON: It is.
KING: Katie Holmes -- what was it -- she's terrific in this, by the way.
KEATON: Isn't she hilarious?
LATIFAH: Yes, she's funny.
KING: What was it like?
Did she bring her baby to the set every day?
KEATON: She brought the baby to the set sometimes. Not every day.
KING: Did Tom Cruise come and see her work?
LATIFAH: It comes up real easy in conversation.
KEATON: He did...
LATIFAH: Yes. He...
KEATON: He didn't make a (INAUDIBLE)...
LATIFAH: He came a bunch. He was a daddy.
KEATON: He's very attractive.
LATIFAH: Yes, that guy.
KEATON: Yes. (INAUDIBLE).
KING: What was it like to work with her?
KEATON: It was fantastic. I thought that it was really interesting because we were a very unlikely alliance. You know, I mean, obviously...
KING: A mixed bag.
KEATON: ...we each have different rhythms, wouldn't you say?
LATIFAH: I do.
KEATON: Yes. And I think that she was -- I think Katie had a kind of a -- almost like a -- what would you -- how would you call it?
How would you put it?
Like she was kind of more -- she was method.
KING: Plus, she played a...
KEATON: She was method.
KING: Yes. She played a...
KEATON: But she was totally involved in it.
LATIFAH: She was.
KEATON: And she constantly -- she had the earphones on all he time. And she was completely into her character. And we were sort of the jerks of the set, wouldn't you say?
LATIFAH: Which was kind of cool...
KEATON: I mean (LAUGHTER)...
LATIFAH: ...because her character is so damned likable.
KEATON: Oh, totally.
LATIFAH: So you can like her when she's off screen and then like her when she's just at, you know, being Jackie...
LATIFAH: ...which was kind of cool. And, yes.
KING: You get the chance -- you...
KING: ...get the chance to have like a real love interest.
KEATON: Oh, I know.
LATIFAH: I do. It's always fun.
KING: A physical, attractive love interest.
LATIFAH: It's nice. I like having a love interests in movies. I don't have to have the same one. I can swap them out every picture, you know?
KEATON: Oh, yes.
LATIFAH: And check out what they've got, you know what I mean?
LATIFAH: No, Roger is a doll.
KING: Was this...
KEATON: What did she...
LATIFAH: I'm just playing.
LATIFAH: But you know what?
Roger, you know, he's...
KING: He's very good.
LATIFAH: He's very good and he's strong. And he, to me, was the type of guy who could, you know, really -- Callie really liked him for this role. And once I met him, I understood why. You know, he really is a guy who could be that guy, you know?
KING: Was this -- some sets aren't -- was this a fun set and was it a fun movie to do?
LATIFAH: It was hell.
LATIFAH: It was a living hell. No, I'm just kidding. No. It was -- to me, I thought it was -- I mean there's -- it's an interesting thing because part of it, when you're shooting a picture in a limited amount of time, there's a lot of pressure. So it's not like you're running around all day joking and playing, because you've got to get a job done. But luckily the job itself, the role, what we're doing is funny.
So we get to have fun during the process and when we're not, you know, under the gun. But -- so I would say it was a lot of fun. But it is a -- you know, it's a gig.
KING: Was it for you?
LATIFAH: It's a gig.
LATIFAH: Yes. KEATON: I mean I really felt for these women.
KEATON: I identified with these women because, you know, really they had been -- each had received a blow, really.
KING: And these are women who are pulling off a heist.
KEATON: They're the disappearing women. They're the invisible...
KING: Almost a perfect job, because they're robbing money that's being thrown away.
KEATON: Well, exactly. Exactly. I mean it doesn't really justify crime.
KEATON: But, on the other hand...
KING: But you root for them.
KEATON: ...it justifies crime.
KING: You root for them.
KING: Who doesn't root for them?
The money is going to be thrown away.
KEATON: I completely rooted for them.
KEATON: I love them. I do.
LATIFAH: Yes. They rationalize their way right into it.
KEATON: And who ever deals with that topic?
KING: Yes, you're right.
It opens this Friday -- wide, as they say, right?
KEATON: Wide. Yes, wide.
LATIFAH: Yes, big time. KING: Yes.
KING: How do you think it's going to do?
LATIFAH: Well, obviously, we hope it's going to do really well. It's different from everything that's out there. So I really think it offers the audience that wants to go see movies this weekend a lot to choose from. You know...
KING: Do you get excited, Diane, when a movie opens?
KEATON: Do I get excited?
KEATON: I get anxious.
KEATON: Yes, of course. You know, because you -- on a lot of levels. One is you're being judged.
KEATON: It's never a fun thing, as you may know.
KING: They count it up.
KEATON: Yes, that's right. But on the other hand...
KING: There will be a number.
KEATON: There will. There will.
LATIFAH: I feel pretty good about it, though. I mean the movie is...
KING: You ought to.
LATIFAH: Yes. The movie is really funny. And I think those people who do go to see it will come out of that theater recommending it to other people. So, you know, I feel pretty -- I feel pretty good about it.
KING: Our guests are Queen Latifah and Diane Keaton. They co-star in "Mad Money". It opens Friday.
We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "MAD MONEY," COURTESY OVERTURE FILMS)
KEATON: Well! LATIFAH: Why, what's the matter?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If we each give her one, that leaves $1,000, which is $333 each. There's going to be a dollar left over. I might have change.
LATIFAH: Keep the change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE FIRST WIVES CLUB," COURTESY PARAMOUNT PICTURES)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And don't tell me what to do. And don't tell me what to say.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) in hot water.
WOODY ALLEN: Let me do it. (INAUDIBLE), take her to the movies?
KEATON: Oh, God. Here you go. (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, Michael. Michael, you are blind.
KEATON: Oh, well. La-de-da. La-de-da. La-la.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're pregnant.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEATON: And, you know, I like working with three women, I'll tell you that.
KEATON: That is a joy. Look at that.
KING: You had quite -- you know, both of you...
KEATON: And we did it again.
KING: Both of you are single, right?
KEATON: Are you single?
LATIFAH: Are you single?
KEATON: Yes, I'm single.
KING: Yes? KEATON: Is there any hope for us?
KING: Do you want to be married?
LATIFAH: No. No.
LATIFAH: Look, you're scaring me.
KING: No, I mean does it...
LATIFAH: I'm the original runaway bride.
KING: You don't want it?
LATIFAH: I'm not going to say I don't want to, but I'm, like I'm not pressured about it like many people are.
KING: You want to be married again?
Are you kidding?
I mean who would have me?
Let's get real.
KING: Well, if someone would have you...
KEATON: I mean let's get really real.
KING: ...would you...
KEATON: Do you want to get down?
KING: Would you have them...
I mean I'll go there with you.
KING: Would you have them if they would have you?
KEATON: If somebody -- well, can I have a choice about who?
KING: You just said -- yes, you just said no one would have you.
KEATON: Of course I'd be very excited, Larry. (CROSSTALK)
LATIFAH: Could I come to the wedding?
KEATON: Yes. You would be invited.
LATIFAH: Would my invitation get lost?
KEATON: No. We can't find it.
LATIFAH: It would get there like the day after the wedding.
You just finished a big musical tour, huh?
LATIFAH: I did.
KEATON: Oh, I saw it.
LATIFAH: Yes. She came to my show.
LATIFAH: It was great.
KEATON: No, I mean really, seriously...
KING: You do all kinds of music, don't you?
KEATON: She can do anything.
KEATON: And that voice is from heaven.
KEATON: And, also, she commands the -- look at her. I mean...
KING: She controls the stage.
KEATON: It's a little -- I felt a little envious, to tell you the truth.
KEATON: Really. In my life -- you know, I had a fantasy. I wanted to be a singer. And so I -- you know, in my younger days, I sang at this place called Reno Sweeney. And let's just say it wasn't very good, OK?
KEATON: You like to sing, too, don't you?
KING: Yes, I do. I do. Yes, in the shower. I kid around with it. Yes, I like it.
KEATON: I love it so much.
LATIFAH: Ah, you know you like to sing.
KEATON: But you're a killer. But, yes, no, yes.
KING: Who doesn't like to sing?
LATIFAH: Yes. (INAUDIBLE).
KEATON: No, I have to sing.
KING: I'd give it all up. I'd give all this up to be Vic Damone.
KING: If I could be Vic Damone, cancel the world.
KEATON: I hear you.
LATIFAH: Do it.
KING: Sure, what are you kidding?
LATIFAH: Why don't you guys do a little duet?
KEATON: If I could be Queen Latifah, I'd give it up, too, to sing.
KING: All right, what happened with Diane Sawyer?
Oh, you mean the other day?
Are we talking about -- (LAUGHTER).
Here's what happened, OK?
So, you know, I noticed something about her. And what I noticed was that she's very beautiful. And no one ever talks about how beautiful she is. And then I was sort of saying to her that I myself, unfortunately, had spent a long time honing my personality skills, do you know what I'm saying?
And so I referred to myself in the negative, which was that I said something that I'm very -- I'm, you know, I probably shouldn't have said. But... KING: A curse word?
KEATON: Yes, I did. And, but I didn't, you know, I wasn't really thinking about that because I was really concentrated on the fact that if I could have had her lips, my life would have been different.
KEATON: So, you know what I think?
KING: So did she react to your saying it?
KEATON: She was -- well, I didn't even know what I was doing, frankly. I mean, you know, but I'm saying I was so involved in, you know, what I was saying, so I didn't think.
And, also, I have to tell you something, Larry. I'm not really living in the real world. In the sense that, you know, I just assumed that when you say something that you really shouldn't say -- which I, by the way, didn't know I was going to say -- that it's gone, somehow it's gone and nobody hears it...
KING: And once it's out there...
KEATON: ...because it's real time. Like this is real time.
LATIFAH: Um-hmm. Right.
KEATON: I'm not familiar with real time.
KING: That's why you make movies.
KEATON: I'm familiar -- I make movies and you just cut and you go on and, you know, you cut out, you know, and you do another take.
KING: Were you embarrassed?
KEATON: Yes. Of course, I was embarrassed. I mean, yes, sure.
KING: But it got a lot of attention for the movie. It got a lot of press.
KEATON: Did it? Do you think?
KING: It got ink. It got stories everywhere.
LATIFAH: What a pal.
KING: Didn't you read it, Queen?
LATIFAH: I've got three on deck if you need them.
LATIFAH: But I'll just wait and I was going to save them, you know...
KING: Have you ever...
LATIFAH: ...for a really good moment.
KING: Have you ever had...
KING: ...an embarrassing situation?
LATIFAH: I'm sure I have. I can't think of one.
KEATON: Haven't we all in our lives?
LATIFAH: You know what -- the terrible thing about it, I'm so just used to Diane and just her personality and I get kind of wrapped up in her like that, that it just kind of came and went in my mind.
KEATON: That's another way of saying...
KING: But you are also, both of you, extraordinary talents. You (INAUDIBLE)...
KEATON: Do you think so, Larry?
KING: You don't think you're both extraordinary talents?
KEATON: I know she is an extraordinary talent.
LATIFAH: Move it on. Move it on. It's fine.
We've got an e-mail question for you from Lisa in Honolulu.
LATIFAH: Oh, boy.
KING: "Of all your areas of accomplishment -- acting, directing, photography, writing, singing, decorating, what is -- of those is your true passion?"
KEATON: I think anything that relates to visual. I'm a visual addict. I mean today I was at the ICP, the International Center of Photography, because I bought the archives of a guy named Bill Wynn, Jr. who shot photographs. He was a professional a photographer out of Fort Worth, Texas. I bought this -- 20,000 photographs 20 years ago. And we're going to make a show of it.
And so today, I was at the ICP and I was looking at those images yet again. So there's j I'm so seduced by that. So anything to do with anything visual is absolutely like -- it's thrilling to me.
KING: Do you have a passion we don't know about, Queen?
I probably have a bunch of them.
KEATON: How about so many?
LATIFAH: They seem to pop up on me.
KING: Do you have a hobby?
LATIFAH: Yes. I've been playing the drums lately.
KEATON: And the motorcycle.
LATIFAH: I love to ride my motorcycle.
KEATON: Yes, exactly.
LATIFAH: That is true. And I painted a painting the other day. My mother is an art teacher. And so I bought this canvas and these acrylics and this paint and stuff and thought I want to just paint something and just allow that creative side that you expressed to sort of get out and...
LATIFAH: ...and I finally...
KING: How did you get the name...
LATIFAH: ...got a chance to do it.
KING: How did you get the name Queen?
LATIFAH: Oh, well, my mother taught me that all women are queens and we should be treated as such. So when it came time for me to put -- sort of come up with my rap name, I didn't want to be M.C. something. That was what most rappers were -- M.C. this or M.C. that. And I just didn't want to be like everyone else. I wanted to make my own way. And so I put Queen in front of my nickname, which was Latifah.
And I asked my boys about it, what do you think?
And they said OK. It stuck. I didn't -- I had no idea it would kind of work out like this or that people would call me by both names.
KEATON: I know.
KING: Do they call you Latifah.
LATIFAH: Well, my friends, do. You know, most people do, yes.
KING: What's your real first name?
KING: That's a nice name.
LATIFAH: I like it.
KING: It's not a hip-hop first name.
LATIFAH: No. It was actually -- actually, there was a rapper named, Dana Dane. So all the more reason I couldn't use it.
KEATON: Dana Dane?
LATIFAH: Dana Dane.
KEATON: I love that.
KING: Nice name.
LATIFAH: But I couldn't pronounce it. It sounded funny to me when I was little. Plus, there were boys named Dana.
LATIFAH: And they're like that's a boy's name. And I'm like no, that's a girl's name. You know, we have to go back and forth over the name all the time. So I was like this Dana thing is just challenging. I'm eight. I don't need this.
KING: The movie is "Mad Money".
We'll be back with some more moments and then Meredith Vieira and Richard Cohen.
Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a wonderful collaboration.
KEATON: This is about a bunch of girls who are about to lose their life, their houses, their family and they do something about it.
LATIFAH: It's like the kind of story that you really wish you could make happen.
I mean a bunch of money that's getting shredded -- don't you want to take it home with you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "CHICAGO," COURTESY MIRAMAX FILMS)
LATIFAH: Welcome, ladies.
(SINGING) Got a little motto, always sees me through, when you're good to mama, mama's good to you.
You might think I'm going to make your life a living hell. It's just not true.
(SINGING) There's a lot of favors, I'm prepared to do, you do one for mama, she'll do one for you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That part in "Chicago"...
KEATON: Oh. Oh.
KING: ...seems like it was written for you.
LATIFAH: I'd like to feel it was, although I'm sure it wasn't. But I, you know, I kind of -- it was mine.
KING: Did you have fun doing that?
LATIFAH: I earned it. That was mine.
KEATON: She was good.
LATIFAH: I had to. That took me three auditions to get.
KEATON: Oh, you did?
KING: You had to audition?
LATIFAH: I earned that role. It was definitely not given to me.
KEATON: I didn't know that.
LATIFAH: Yes. There were so many people that wanted to play it. KING: How is the weight loss been going?
Are you doing the weight loss with Jenny Craig?
LATIFAH: I sure am. I just started today, really, because I've been traveling, so it was hard for me for a second to kind of get it going. So I said let me just wait. And I got here last night and I started and I've been eating it all day and it's very good. It's tasty.
KING: What do you want to lose?
Do you have a goal?
LATIFAH: Just like 5 to 10 percent of my body weight. So somewhere between 15 and 20 pounds or so, 25 pounds. I don't know.
KING: You're perfect, right?
I mean you don't want to lose any.
KEATON: Aren't I perfect, though?
LATIFAH: She's perfect.
KING: I mean, weight-wise, yes.
KEATON: Do you really think I'm perfect?
Weight-wise (INAUDIBLE) otherwise?
You mean I'm less than perfect?
KING: No. Diane...
KEATON: How can you say that, Larry?
KING: Diane. Focus.
KEATON: I'm only good weight-wise.
KING: I was in a weight section.
LATIFAH: Hi, Larry.
KING: I was in a weight section.
KING: She said she started Jenny Craig.
LATIFAH: I'm perfect, too, though. I'm good.
KING: I said you're perfect...
LATIFAH: It's just a choice. KING: She wants to lose.
KEATON: You said you're perfect, too...
KING: She wants to lose...
KEATON: That's what you said. He qualified the weight-wise.
LATIFAH: You see that?
KEATON: I'm so upset.
LATIFAH: Get him.
KING: Are you upset?
LATIFAH: I told you I had three waiting if you just -- you don't have to do this. I'll do this for you. I'll fall on this sword.
LATIFAH: No, I'm just kidding you.
KING: You had breast reduction once, right?
LATIFAH: Yes, a couple of years ago. Um-hmm.
LATIFAH: And I'm feeling much better.
KING: Do you ever do plastic surgery?
KEATON: No, I haven't.
But are you saying I should?
KEATON: Because weight-wise you said I'm OK. But...
KING: How many phobias do you have? LATIFAH: Yes. But...
KEATON: No, you're doing it, Larry.
LATIFAH: (INAUDIBLE) some things -- chop, slice, nip, tuck.
KEATON: You're doing it.
KING: I'm not doing it.
KING: I asked...
KEATON: No. But you're thinking I should.
KING: I think it's hopeless.
KEATON: You mean you don't want to talk to me anymore?
KING: No, no, no. The white wagon is outside.
LATIFAH: She's good.
KEATON: Oh, they're taking me away.
KING: The doctors are very good.
LATIFAH: You thought you knew what you were doing.
KING: OK. We have a couple of minutes. With the writers...
KEATON: What's that?
KING: ...with the writers strike...
KING: ...are you, therefore -- nothing happening in the way of scripts or?
LATIFAH: Well, I have a couple of scripts that are definitely on hold until this strike is over. So I'm hands tied on those.
KEATON: Yes, me, too.
LATIFAH: But I mean there are other scripts around. You just don't want it to get to the point where people just start shooting anything just because it's there, you know what I mean?
So I won't just shoot anything just because it's written.
KING: Are you on hold?
KEATON: I'm definitely on hold, Larry.
KING: No, I mean do you have scripts that are you just...
KEATON: Yes, I do. Um-hmm. Yes. So we'll wait.
KING: Do you think this is going to end soon or not?
KEATON: I hope it ends soon. I hope it does end soon, yes. Obviously. Everybody does. This is horrible.
KING: Do you see any...
KEATON: It's getting scary.
KING: Do you see any break?
KEATON: Pardon me?
KING: Do you see any break in it?
KEATON: Well, what about the Academy Awards?
KEATON: Does that mean something?
KING: Do you think it's going to happen?
KEATON: Well, what do you think?
I mean, what do you think?
KING: I don't know.
KEATON: I don't either.
KEATON: I have no idea, but I hope so.
KING: But they have a lot of clout if they want to picket the Academy Awards. There won't be an Academy Awards.
KEATON: But how about brokering a deal before the Academy Awards?
LATIFAH: Yes, that's...
KEATON: Isn't that the point? LATIFAH: And I think everybody needs to really kind of start coming to the table. It's not about just -- you know, I mean I'm sure the writers need what they need. But I feel for everyone who is unemployed right now. I just hope that everyone would sort of come back to the table.
And I might have to go talk to Tom and get someone over in United Artists going...
LATIFAH: Somebody needs to deal with it.
KEATON: He did it.
KING: Yes, he -- have you started any movie?
LATIFAH: They've got to get over there and make some things happen.
KEATON: Have I started any?
KING: Had you started any film?
KEATON: No. No.
KING: Had you?
KEATON: You can't really.
LATIFAH: Well, I -- like I said, I definitely had two films being written that, you know, were just hands tied until they're done. You know, It's unfortunate. It's unfortunate.
KING: You just hosted an awards show that wasn't...
LATIFAH: And it's a good thing I'm a rapper.
KING: Yes. What was it, it was people...
LATIFAH: Because I had to do a lot of freestyle.
KING: What was it, The People's Choice?
LATIFAH: Yes. It was actually kind of fun. Don't stay out of work too long, because my skills might get up. We might get used to doing that, though.
KING: You've got to rev up something that isn't happen.
LATIFAH: Yes. Yes, you do. You do. And it's not so -- I mean it's more so about the people. That was the People's Choice Awards, so the show had to go on, because 10 million fans who have nothing to do with all of this Hollywood business other than being fans of it voted for everyone. So we had to kind of make it happen. But, you know, you want it to be something they can come out ton just really be a part of (INAUDIBLE)...
KING: Let's hope it ends.
KEATON: Thank you, Larry.
KING: Doll, thank you.
KEATON: Thank you so much.
KING: A great movie.
KEATON: Thank you very much.
KING: Enjoy. Enjoy much success.
KEATON: Thank you very much.
KING: It's going to be a hit.
LATIFAH: Tell the people.
KEATON: Thank you.
KING: "Mad Money" opens wide.
LATIFAH: Listen to Larry.
KING: When we come back, "Today's" Meredith Vieira and her husband, Richard Cohen. They know firsthand about chronic illness and its effects. I don't mean to laugh, but I just thought of Diane.
KEATON: He's laughing at me again.
KING: Yes, there's -- their insight is next on LARRY KING LIVE.
KING: And extraordinary new book out; it is already number 14 on the "New York Times" best seller list. It is titled "Strong At The Broken Places" -- I believe that's a famous phrase -- "The voices of Illness and The Chorus of Hope." The author is Richard M. Cohen, the "New York Times" best selling author of "Blind Sided." Richard is here with his lovely wife Meredith Vieira, the Emmy-award winning journalist and co-host of "The Today Show." Richard suffers from multiple sclerosis. He wrote "Blind Sided." He also had cancer.
"Strong at the Broken Places," already a hit, it is not about you. Right?
RICHARD COHEN, AUTHOR, "STRONG AT THE BROKEN PLACES": No, it is about five other individuals dealing with serious chronic illnesses.
KING: How did you get the idea?
COHEN: Well, there was a lot of feedback from "Blind Sided." We met a lot of people who came in wheelchairs and walkers and crutches and had their stories. And I realized that when 90 million Americans have chronic illnesses, there are a lot of stories out there. These are stories that never get told.
KING: You picked these five?
COHEN: Yes, we worked with advocacy groups. We had a lot of help selecting people. And I knew the book would rise or fall based on the strength of the characters. They were very strong and interesting people.
KING: Meredith, did you get to know them?
MEREDITH VIEIRA, "THE TODAY SHOW": I did get to know them, more recently than when he was writing the book. But I felt I knew them because I was watching Richard go through the process of learning about them and drawing them out and, in fact, they also drew him out in the two years he worked on the book.
KING: Do we have a definition of chronic illness?
COHEN: Chronic illness is an illness that essentially does not resolve, cannot be cured. With luck, it can be managed. But it ends up being a long-term process.
KING: Sclerosis is a classic example.
COHEN: It is, absolutely.
KING: What's it like, Meredith, living with a chronic illness?
VIEIRA: It's interesting, because when you were teasing at the top of the show, you mentioned Richard has MS and Meredith takes care of him. That's really not what it's like. I don't take care of Richard any more than he takes care of me. It's funny, when you live with chronic illness it just becomes a part of the fabric of your life. There are days that are good and there days that are bad for each of us individually and for us as a couple and as a family.
It is a little bit of a roller coaster, especially with something like ms. But most of the time it is very manageable.
COHEN: The struggle for people with chronic illness is simply to be seen as a whole person, not a collection of symptoms, not to be defined by your illness, but to be treated just the way anybody else is treated.
KING: It is not easy, though, right?
VIEIRA: Sometimes it is difficult, absolutely. But sometimes it is not. I don't want to suggest -- you know, every once in a while there will be an article written about me, and they will say poor Meredith, the cross she bears, or the burden. Boy, is that off the mark. And I think people who live with chronic illness and have loved ones living with chronic illness know that's not the way it is.
Life is hard. Life is hard for everybody. We were dealt with this. Other people have whatever they have in their own life.
KING: You say there's no taking care of him? You don't -- you don't take care of him?
VIEIRA: No more than we you guys. You and your wife take care of each other. If Richard is having a bad day, I help him. But I can barely take care of myself, much less take care of him.
COHEN: There's truth in that.
VIEIRA: What? He's also an extremely independent person, and part of that is the result of the MS, I think.
COHEN: I think that -- a lot of dealing with chronic illness is psychological. It is really how you want to see yourself and the struggle is to be independent.
KING: How did you choose these five people?
COHEN: With a lot of help from advocacy groups. I wanted strong people. I didn't want victims. I wanted people who took their illnesses on head-on and were trying to make something of their lives.
KING: What illnesses did they have?
COHEN: From ALS, Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, to Chromes (ph) disease and Muscular Dystrophy and a marvelous guy in Atlanta who lives with Bipolar Disorder, because too often mental illnesses are left out of the chronic illness equation, and I realized when I felt -- (INAUDIBLE) -- in the chapter that I had a long ways to go, we all have a long ways to go.
KING: Isn't it awfully difficult when you have something you know is not going to get better?
COHEN: Sure, it is. But the challenge --
KING: That would be frustrating. COHEN: Yes, but the challenge is to make a life of that. It's not a death sentence. It is a big hurdle in the road. And it is bigger for some than it is for others. And really I want to have a good life. I wanted to have a family. I wanted to have a career. I had 25 years in network news that were great.
And it really is a mind game. You really have to be determined to have the life that you wanted and rise above it.
KING: Is it an extra dimension having a broadcaster's life and this? You go to work every day. You are a public image.
VIEIRA: Yes, I don't think so. I think that I'm very lucky that I'm a broadcaster, in the sense I have the opportunity to get the word out. And that's wonderful about illness. I think that's a really positive thing. Any job you do, you would be out of the household.
KING: By the way, do you miss "The View?"
VIEIRA: I miss my friends at "The View" tremendously. I did "The View" for nine years. Although, I wasn't looking for a change when the opportunity afforded itself, I thought this was the time.
KING: Are you happy at "Today?"
VIEIRA: I love it. It is great. You are keeping me up.
KING: I'm keeping you up now, right.
VIEIRA: If I'm bad tomorrow, it will be your fault.
KING: We'll be right back with Meredith Vieira and Richard Cohen and more on this extraordinary book, "Strong At the Broken Places." We are also going to ask them what they think about the current election year. Don't go away.
KING: We're back with Meredith Vieira and Richard Cohen, who, by the way, once worked at CNN. Right?
COHEN: I did.
KING: The good old days. Richard Cohen's book is "Strong at The Broken Places: Voices of Illness, a Chorus of Hope." I knew that title sounded familiar. Earnest Hemingway in "A Farewell to Arms" writes: "The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places."
COHEN: It is screened out. It's a title --
KING: It is a great --
COHEN: It's a great title.
KING: It's a great, great line. You ask of the people in the book how they relate to the idea that they just become their illness. How do you relate to it?
COHEN: It is very difficult because I think society objectifies us. I think that they draw caricatures of us. Look, we live in a culture of beauty, a culture of narcissism. I think people don't want to see all this. I think people look away.
The first lines of the book are "these are faces of illness in America. Do not look away." We put pictures, photographs of the people. I wanted readers to look into their eyes. We are people, not cases. We are struggling to have real lives. We are not victims. And I find these to be very uplifting, powerful stories.
KING: There are the people. Meredith, these people have become so much a part of Richard's life, have they become a part of your life?
VIEIRA: Not to the same extent because Richard knows them better than I do. I feel that have gotten to know them over the course of his writing of the book. I used to watch Richard sort of hunched over, leaning into the computer because he's legally blind. He has to get that close to the computer. Often I would wonder is it worth it. He would say, I have a great responsibility to these people than to anybody I have ever dealt with to get their stories right. I think that that made the struggle for this book --
COHEN: "Blind Sided" -- excuse me -- was only my story. I only answered to my kids who kept looking and saying, when's the book going to be ready. In this book, I felt a tremendous responsibility to five really good people.
VIEIRA: They are great people.
KING: How do you look at Richard?
VIEIRA: I look at Richard as a man. I look at him as a man that is multifaceted. He is incredibly smart, sometimes a jerk. He's charming. He's intelligent. He's got a great sense of humor. He also has an illness. But that's just part of who he is. You know, just the way I'm sure he sees me in many different ways.
KING: What's the hardest part of going blind?
COHEN: Well, I'm not totally blind. I'm legally blind, which is a very important distinction. But it was a very gradual process that really -- that began over 30 years ago. You know, it is difficult. It robs you of your independence.
KING: Do you see me?
COHEN: Well enough. Yes, I mean, I can see you in reasonable detail. If I were ten feet behind where I am, I probably wouldn't recognize you.
VIEIRA: He never misses a good looking woman on the street ever, ever, ever.
COHEN: That's a different story.
VIEIRA: He beats me in pool constantly. Maybe there is a radar thing there, perfect vision.
KING: Our guests are Meredith Vieira and Richard Cohen. More about "Strong at The Broken Places." First let's check in with Anderson Cooper, who is on one of these floors in this building. He will host "AC 360" at the top of the hour. What's up tonight, Anderson?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Larry, the battle for the south is raging in the presidential race. We are three weeks into this primary season and officially not one inch closer to knowing who the front- runner is, let alone who might win their party's nomination.
Mitt Romney's win in Michigan last night put the Republican race back to square one. Now everyone is pulling out the stops for South Carolina's primary on Saturday. You have to remember, since 1980 the Republican that won South Carolina has claimed the party's nomination.
Tonight, all the angles with the best political team on television. Plus, they are startling to listen to, the 911 tapes from that tiger attack in San Francisco. They have been released and the scene is clearly one of chaos and confusion, as one of the victims pleads with paramedics to save his brother who is being attacked. You will hear those tapes tonight.
And we'll have the latest on the manhunt for a Marine suspected of killing a pregnant Marine, Maria Lauterbach. We'll have all that and more, Larry, at the top of the hour.
KING: Thanks, Anderson. Anderson Cooper, "AC 360," 10:00 Eastern 7:00 Pacific. We will be right back.
KING: Back with Meredith Vieira and Richard Cohen. The book, "Strong at The Broken Places." I would be remiss if I didn't ask both of you, as veteran journalists, what do you make of this political year?
VIEIRA: I think it is very exciting. I really do. You don't even know -- both parties sort of are up for grabs at this point. We have a wonderful -- we are in a wonderful situation because we have a son who's 18 and he's going vote for the first time. Seeing an election through his eyes -- and he's very, very involved in politics. He's extremely interested in it.
I was out actually on the campaign trail with Hillary Clinton and also with Barack Obama, took him on both of the trips. He had the chance to speak to these historic candidates. And he really wants things to get better. When you see it through the young people's eyes, I feel there's some hope in a world where it is scary now.
COHEN: I think people are not ready for this to be over. I think people want to hear more. I think voting is, in part, a reaction to the voting in the previous primary. I feel they are not talking to me.
KING: None of them?
COHEN: No, I think that -- what concerns me the most is that 135 million Americans are walking around with diseases that kill and chronic illnesses, that the NIH budget is 29 billion dollars. It is flat. That's enough for two months of this war in Iraq. And we don't have -- we are not a constituency. We don't seem to be a constituency that matters. People don't hear us. People don't see us. And we don't have the political power.
VIEIRA: And growing in number.
KING: Why do you think we don't have an emphasis on -- what's more important than health?
COHEN: Right, but I think that we are all overtaken by this popular culture that celebrates it. I don't think we are comfortable with illness.
VIEIRA: You said something interesting with chronic illness, because you don't die.
COHEN: Chronic illness is not sexy. You're right. You won't see any movies with prominent Hollywood people, you know, suffering from Lupus. It just is not going to happen. I think that these are not sexy diseases. They don't resolve and are very quiet. We don't get the attention.
KING: Why do you think more strides haven't come from the pharmaceutical industries with the area of chronic disease?
COHEN: Well, the pharmaceutical industry is very involved with the developing new therapies for chronic illness. You know what they do? They look at the numbers of people who have different ailments. They make hard business decisions about which ones are big enough. Alzheimers is going to be huge. ALS isn't so big, just in terms of numbers.
And it is a lot easier to get pharmaceuticals to be involved with Alzheimer's than with ALS.
KING: This is frustrating. Isn't it?
VIEIRA: A little like Sisyphus, right, pushing the --
COHEN: Yes, it has to change. It's got to change. I think that we need to rethink our priorities in this country. And, you know, I think that an illness that kills arbitrarily and attacks people in their homes by definition is a terrorist threat.
VIEIRA: But I also think to some extent -- Richard now is very vocal about his MS. For many years, you were in denial about it and you never talked about it. I think a lot of people with chronic illness, for whatever reason, have not had a voice. Either they haven't felt that they have one, or they've been afraid to speak out. They don't want to be identified as their illness. It is only when you empower yourself and you have a voice that people will listen.
KING: Do you or any of these five say why me?
COHEN: I sure don't. I never heard them say it. We all know life is not fair. Once you get there, there's nowhere to go with that. Playing the victim is a losing proposition. I think that all of these five people are strong and they are dignified and they are determined to live the lives that they want to live, and I think all they are asking -- we are not asking for anything from people. We are just asking to be treated fairly.
VIEIRA: I think I have asked, why us. I don't think it is necessarily a strange question. The answer comes back, why not? Why not you as opposed to anybody else? Who are you, anyway?
KING: Back with more moments with Meredith Vieira and Richard Cohen. The book is "Strong at The Broken Places." Don't go away.
KING: Richard, we were talking during the break. I was saying how I don't know how I would handle something like a chronic illness. I don't think well.
COHEN: Larry, I think that people are much stronger than they think they are. We all walk the streets and sit in coffee shops and hear people say, I could never cope with that, or I could never deal with that. I think that we sell ourselves short. I think that we are much stronger and I think we have a reservoir, a resilience that we really are not tapping into.
And I think if you were tested and if you saw somebody that you cared about sick or you found out you were sick, I believe you would rise to the occasion. I think most people have that in them.
VIEIRA: All the people in Richard's book, I think it's true, had very strong support systems, people around them that loved them very much. That makes a tremendous difference as well.
KING: Do you wonder how you would handle a chronic disease?
VIEIRA: I do. But then I have somebody that I watch every day and he handles it with such grace and dignity.
KING: Do you wonder how you would handle it?
VIEIRA: Yes, I don't know how I would handle it. I don't.
COHEN: I think you would handle it very well because you live with stress and pressure and understand the game.
KING: Are these five people optimistic?
COHEN: I don't know that they are all optimistic, but they are all realistic. They are all upbeat. They are all, I think, very emotionally healthy people. I will tell you, I have five new friends and I admire them enormously.
KING: What's the down side?
COHEN: The down side of what?
KING: Of them, of them. What's the negative they deal with?
COHEN: Well, some of them may not be around as long as they should be around. I think they know that. And I think that they are struggling to keep hope going. I think that they are trying desperately to have some semblance of normal lives. And, most of all, they are doing it gracefully.
KING: How does the bipolar fellow deal with it?
COHEN: He is a fabulous person. He fell to great depths and he's pulled himself out of it with medical help, with a lot of self- discipline, with rethinking how he lives. And he's turned into a great mental health advocate.
I will tell you something, he was a touchstone for me in a lot of ways of. I talked to him an awful lot about the book. And he has a great deal of common sense. I relied on him very heavily.
VIEIRA: The think the stigma with mental illness is probably the worst of all the illnesses.
COHEN: He would tell you it is worse than the disease.
KING: How did you handle, Meredith -- before we shut things off for the night -- how did you handle that Katie Couric thing, to go into those shoes?
VIEIRA: Larry, I sort of had done it when I started with "Millionaire" and filling Regis' shoes. So I got those questions back then, how can you fill Regis' shoes. At the time I said -- I felt this way with Katie, too. I'm not filling somebody else's shoes. I'm coming in with my own pair of shoes and people will either like them or they won't. You cannot fill the shoes of somebody else. Katie is Katie. And I'm me. And that's --
KING: You felt no pressure?
VIEIRA: Oh, I think there's always pressure. But I made a decision that I was not going to -- I was not going to play that game with myself, try to be somebody else, because that's the kiss of death.
KING: How did you feel, Richard, about her getting job.
VIEIRA: I was very supportive. I thought it was time for a change. I thought going back to the news business would be exciting. And I keep reminding myself of that every morning at 3:00. I try to find an alarm that goes --
VIEIRA: The alarm is on his side of the bed because I said that was appropriate.
KING: The book is off to a roaring success. Will you do another one?
COHEN: I don't know. I'm going to have to think about that.
KING: Are you surprised at how well it is doing?
COHEN: A little bit. I really am surprised. But I'm thrilled for the five people. I'm thrilled for those 90 million Americans with chronic illnesses that stories are being told and perhaps being heard.
KING: I salute you, Richard.
VIEIRA: Everybody has a story.
KING: That's right. Our guests have been Meredith Vieira and Richard Cohen. The book is "Strong at the Broken Places: Voices of Illness, a Chorus of Hope." As we said, just out, already number 14 on the "New York Times."
Don't forget to check us out at CNN.com/LarryKing. you can e- mail upcoming guests or check out our King of Politics section. We have quick votes, video clips and transcripts, too, all at CNN.com/LarryKing.
Tomorrow night, a former congressman -- he's been indicted for allegedly funding terrorism. We've got the exclusive interview with him. And then Elizabeth Hasselbeck, Meredith's old friend. She's on Meredith's old show, "The View." She'll be with us tomorrow night. Now here's Anderson Cooper and "AC 360." Anderson?
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