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Interview With Sean Penn; Interview With Celine Dion

Aired February 15, 2010 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, Sean Penn exclusive. He's just back from Haiti. It's his first interview about the heartbreak he witnessed first hand, and now the new and looming disaster, could be worse and more devastating than the earthquake. Plus, his take on President Obama and politics.

And then Celine Dion, desperate for a baby.


CELINE DION, SINGER: We would love to have another child.


KING: The megastar's fertility nightmare and why she'll never give up on family.


KING: Would you adopt?


KING: Celine gets personal revealing what until now was a secret next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Sean Penn is here, the Oscar-winning actor and activist just back from a three-week aid trip to Haiti as part of the Jenkins Penn Haitian Relief Organization. That was your first time in Haiti?


KING: Had a little time to process? Overall, what was the experience like?

PENN: Well, you know, I think that in talking to the other people that were there, people who have more disaster, let's say, experience than I do, this is the most complicated and most devastating one that anyone has ever seen. When I was in Katrina, so many people said, you know, what you see on TV is nothing. When you get there, you see so much. Actually, it was what I thought, and it was a terrible disaster and it's something that continues today in many ways.

This is the apocalypse. This is like Hiroshima. The devastation there is on a level like nothing anyone that I've spoken to has ever seen. The people are probably the most resilient -- certainly the most people I've ever experienced. We saw amputations without flinching, without anesthesia. Children who are learning to -- who are playing again, but are in so much need and in so much hunger. These are our neighbors, and this is a country that needs us and ultimately we need them because the character of the Haitian people is seeded in a disconnect from the comfort addiction that so many of us in the country have, that's a powerful force of character and that we need to share.

KING: You were with us from Haiti last time on January 29th. Then until now, getting better?

PENN: Where we are right now is on the verge of what might be the greatest public health crisis in the history of the Western Hemisphere.

KING: It's coming?

PENN: We're within two weeks from the rainy season. People have in essence no cover. There are tent cities that are made from rugged tarps on top and sheets on the side. It's an incredible fire hazard. The camps are wildly overcrowded, a breeding ground for infectious diseases.

So what has to happen in the next two weeks and what we're at JPHRO trying to support with the help of other groups as well as with the UNDP is to try to relocate as many as possible. One of the first emergency things that should happen and Haitian law has to be looked at before an emergency is declared over, before the rains come, is that there should not -- there should be the equivalent of what we have in American law, which is eminent domain. Land should be taken and not asked for. People are going to die in mass if we don't get those camps closed.

KING: So the land that is currently owned should be taken?

PENN: If the owner doesn't want it taken, then the owner should be pushed aside. It has to be taken or people will die. It's that simple.

KING: How many people are we talking about moving?

PENN: Right now you have a million displaced people. I would say 750,000 are in dire need of either medical aid or food and almost all in terms of shelter.

KING: When we say rainy season, does that mean like rain all the time?

PENN: It's a very serious rainy season.

KING: And it lasts how long?

PENN: I'm not sure. I believe it goes on for months. The camp that we initially oversee in terms of our medical care, we run a hospital and several clinics at this point at Camp Petionville. That's 75,000 people. It's on a hill.

When the deputy secretary of the Haitian mission Kim Bolduc came, it was declared the most dangerous camp in Haiti on the basis of that hill. It was also declared on Haitian radio the most organized camp because we've been able to put what we call a VIP program, which is the vulnerable patient program, it's a vulnerable identification program. We work across purposes, and we do it 100 percent because we don't know how the relocations are ultimately going to be going down because we don't have tents. The U.N. doesn't have the tents. So we need -- so tents are needed. Of all sizes, for storage as well as for housing.

KING: How do people go to -- you have a Web site?

PENN: It's or we have another one which is

KING: or

PENN: Correct.

KING: And you need what, money, right?

PENN: Yes, we need money. The way we function, we at this -- are pretty much a zero red tape organization. Where there's need we give it. Like I said, we have several satellite camps that we work with as well. We work in strong collaboration with the 82nd Airborne, who have been extraordinary. To see the United States military with all its skill and discipline and most importantly the quality of human beings that there are doing this when it's a human aid effort is unparalleled.

KING: You were so praiseworthy of the military, and normally you're not a big fan of military.

PENN: That's not true. If anyone looks back at the things I've written, I've always been a supporter of the troops. I think that we have a responsibility to only deploy our troops constitutionally and responsibly.

In this case, there's no question. I think this is the most noble mission likely that the United States military has been involved in since World War II, but I support the military in right wars or unright wars. The problem is the use of the military and the misuse of it at times.

In this instance, this is the most efficient force in the country. And I would plead to our president that he keeps the United States military there for longer than I understand is currently planned.

KING: Sean is a father. We'll ask him what effect the children of Haiti had on him, and more about how we can all help in that regard, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: Tomorrow night, Bill Maher returns. Now we're back with Sean Penn talking about Haiti and other things. The Web site for the Jenkins Penn Haitian Relief Organization again is, I suggest you go to it as soon as this program is over. How is your father seeing all those children, how has that affected you?

PENN: I think most of us that are working on the ground there go into a certain kind of autopilot. It's an extraordinary spirit, as I said, that the Haitian people have, but we also have to understand that they lost the 90th of their population in about 10 seconds. And so there wasn't anyone who didn't lose immediately family members, many of them 12, 15 immediate family members.

If a child was outside at the time of the earthquake and the parents were inside, you had 4-year-olds on the streets with nobody left in the world. There's going to be an incredible need for orphanages and all of that.

One of the things that I think that we have to remind ourselves of is that here is these people, our neighbors, and while it may be the sort of story that people think will fade and that the interest and the support will fade, when I talk about the military presence there, the -- where there is something like the Holocaust and there is someone to hate and blame, all of a sudden there's a lot of money and a lot of support that comes in, and it doesn't fade until the job is done.

There's a Holocaust going on here by nature, and there are people when we came in who had -- may have had some kind of initial medical contact, but then amputations were followed by re-amputations when gangrene set in. We have chronic problems of tuberculosis that is becoming untreatable and uncontainable because people were away from their medications. Typhoid, malaria, tetanus. Tetanus is becoming a major problem, as anybody that has seen the images has seen the rusty rebar. People just going through things looking for their effects in the home are cut and are getting tetanus.

JPHRO has been very active in getting people into the United States who needed the kind of treatment that could only be gotten here, getting medical equipment in, and not only for our own facilities, what we tried to do when we first got on the ground is to be able to support standing infrastructures.

We met with Paul Farmer of PIH and hospitals, and we continue to do that, delivering narcotics, antibiotics and medical equipment outside our own facilities as well as ours. But we definitely need the support, continued support financially, because all of us have dipped as far as we can go into our own pockets. And this is really an emergency.

KING: You told me during the break Dominican Republic won't take refugees in? It's right there.

PENN: I've been very committed to not get political about any of this, and frankly I'm not one to ask about that because I've seen about 20 minutes of news since the earthquake happened. What we do is very focused operation. Whatever money we get goes directly within hours of the time things arrive. We get it directly to patients that need it.

KING: Why do you do what you do? Why did you go to Katrina and stand on roofs and help people? What motivates you?

PENN: Paying for sins or something. I don't know. But what I do now and what this is really kind of goes to the old story about John Huston where somebody came up to him and said you're not so much half of movie making is casting and I think he said something like, no, 99.

Well in this case, I have a group of people that are so extraordinary, and the -- they're all volunteers with the exception of the Haitians that we employ, about 100 Haitians. Of course, we pay them. But we have a group of at any given time 40 to 60 volunteers, doctors, nurses, lightasthicians (ph). We have a one-man show, a fellow named Jon Rose who does the water filter distribution. He's already gotten 4,000 of them out, and nobody is taking a penny. We're just giving everything directly into the need.

KING: Are you going back?

PENN: I'm going back. I'll be back in Haiti on Friday.

KING: Sean Penn. That's or

Don't ask, don't tell. We'll ask Sean Penn what he thinks of that policy and other political issues. Celine Dion still to come. Don't go away.


KING: We're back with Sean Penn talking about Haiti and other things. I want to remind you about another hot spot, Afghanistan, is it worth dying for? That's the question that author Eric Blehm answers on our blog. Go to and read all about it.

All right Sean, let's talk about some things political. Obama is getting a lot of raps, things haven't happened. How do you assess his first year?

PENN: I'm sitting here only to assess one thing. The spirit of the United States military under this president, the mission to date that he has sent them on in Haiti has been extraordinary. The cooperation that NGOs have had with the military is unprecedented. The State Department has been extraordinarily supportive, and I really am -- I have blinders on on this issue right now. Huge amounts of people are going to die if we don't continue this fight and keep it going. Keep the media eye on this.

KING: You're warped into this?

PENN: That's it. He's a success to me as long as the focus of the media is maintained on Haiti right now. This is going to be an incredible example of what America -- the best of America. This is a -- as I've repeated many times what Sanjay Gupta really beautifully said, it's awful, indelible and fixable. And this is fixable.

KING: Do you fear the president pulling them out too soon?

PENN: I do, yes.

KING: Have you talked to him about it?

PENN: I have never met the president. I have great respect for him, but I've not had a conversation with him.

KING: Did you see Bill Clinton when you were there?

PENN: No, I didn't see him when I was there, but I'll be seeing him March 1st and we'll have a conversation at that time.

KING: Here, right, the Peninsula Hotel? I got an invitation today. You're appearing with him.

PENN: I'm co-hosting it with our great co-founder Diana Jenkins, who seeded the money that started all this we're doing with JPHRO.

KING: So you mean you've turned blinders to domestic policy, health care bill, jobs, you're not even thinking about that? You the activist that you are?

PENN: You know, there's a time and place for everything. All of my focus is on this right now. And a lot of that really has to do with the character of the Haitian people. You know, we all know in New York City, somebody gets mugged and another person looks the other way.

When we go into the camps in the middle of the night, you know, with all the reputation of the violence of Haiti and everything else, I can tell you this. The 99 percent great people that are among them are 99 percent -- are 100 percent not going to look the other way. You have a problem, they're going to help you. So they deserve our help.

This is a -- there's something in the character of this emergency, and I can't reiterate enough that this emergency is right at the beginning now. This is no mission accomplished. But that's not the fault of anyone, least of all the United States right now, who is such a powerful and wanted presence. And those babies of Haiti are crying out, stay with me. So we have to.

KING: So when you focus on something like that, as politically involved as you are, and as interested as you are, your country and other things, you tune that out? In other words, this has so overwhelmed you that you haven't thought about other things going on?

PENN: If we do this and we succeed in helping with the other countries involved and I'll include countries like Venezuela, Cuba, these controversial countries. It's just at this point all so stupid. Politics are so stupid in this situation. There's no place for it. If we do this, it will affect our character forever and it will build us into a better country and it will build our relationships with other countries better.

KING: Are you confident we will? So far we have. Are you confident it will continue?

PENN: We have to continue. There would be no excuse to not continue. And one of the most important aspects of that will be the media. I've never asked to be on television in my life before with the exception of auditioning for something I get paid for. I asked to be on your show today, and you said yes. That's what's important. To keep the eye on Haiti, and not so important that I asked to be on your show, but that the eyes of CNN and FOX News and everybody else and "The New York Times" stays on this disaster, because it's drama has only begun.

KING: Because you know we have a way of tuning in and tuning out.

PENN: Yeah. Don't tune out Haiti.

KING: Back with more of Sean Penn after this.


KING: I understand your emotion about this, so we'll stay on Haiti even though I thought we'd discuss some things politically. Don't ask, don't tell, you want to repeal it? You must want to repeal it.

PENN: Of course.

KING: Number two, the lavishness of the Oscars. You're a best Oscar winner last year, you won best actor, so you come and present this year. Are you going to talk about Haiti?

PENN: It won't be my moment to talk about Haiti on the stage. I'll be simply there to do what somebody did with me last year and say, the winner is.

KING: Your heart ain't going to be there?

PENN: It depends on where the hearts of audience is.

KING: It's a lavish ceremony, while that is going on --

PENN: It can be a lavish ceremony that can be an example of joy if people stay conscious of the needs of the world and in particular right now Haiti. I think a lot of people will comment on it.

KING: What do you make on these 10 people being detained? Now they're not going to have a decision on bail of who took the orphans.

PENN: It's a very difficult situation, the situation of children and orphans. There was a great percent. It has to be very carefully done. You don't want to send people off because they're a runaway and they do have family. No one knows where so many people are. You know, if you have a house in a neighborhood in America, and it's on fire, 15 vehicles show up. The police, paramedics and this and that. But 99 percent of the homes in Haiti haven't been looked at except by neighbors who can't lift the concrete. They're big people and there are thousands of bodies buried under there. So whose parent is lost versus dead?

KING: Do you have compassion for the 10 WHO took them?

PENN: I don't know the story well enough to comment.

KING: they took these orphans and apparently some weren't even orphans, they still had parents. They're making a decision by Wednesday whether they give them bail or not. They're being charged.

PENN: Again, there are a lot of different issues that are kind of -- for us, micro issues, and yet some of them -- maybe these people need to be championed. Maybe they need to be condemned. I have no idea about their case. I do know that good intentions can go wrong, and right now all good intentions should be focused on saving life there because the numbers are going to increase in a way that is going to be -- that we can stop it. We can stop it now.

KING: I salute you, Sean. Let me repeat the Web sites here,, right?

PENN: That's right.



KING: OK, both of those, JPHRO or Beat the Rain with www in front, dot org at the end. Thank you, Sean Penn.

PENN: Thank you.

KING: The one and only Celine Dion is here. She'll tell us about her new film and why the fifth charm might be charm for having a second child. That's next.





KING: Celine Dion is with us. She's a multi-Grammy winning singer and entertainer, one of the biggest selling recording artist in the history of the mankind, with more than 200 million albums sold worldwide. Her new feature film, "Celine, Through The Eyes of the World" opens February 17th for a limited two-week run. It's a behind of scenes glimpse into her life as she traveled the globe on her Taking Chances Tour. By the way, it's sold out performances everywhere, five continents, 25 countries.

By the way, let's take a look at Celine Dion in action.




KING: That's from the new film "Celine." How did that film come about?

DION: Just watching it gives me butterflies again. First of all, this idea of having photographers and film people around us 24/seven, pretty much, was to bring more than pictures. It was to bring memories, souvenirs. It was just basically for us.

KING: A personal --

DION: A personal thing that we just wanted to bring home. It's not given to a lot of people to bring their mother and their son, their husband -- and to tour as an artist, but I have to say mainly as a daughter, as a wife, as a mom.

KING: Who decided it should show in theaters?

DION: We started to film everything. And Renee didn't take long to figure out that this thing was going to be something very amazing. He said it's so incredible. There's so many amazing moments -- forget -- just a moment, forget the performances on stage with the songs, but behind the scenes. A lot of fans, a lot of people wonder what's going on backstage, what's going on the in car, what's going on in the hotel room, what's going on in the plane, what's going on in the restaurant, how does she look without the makeup, what are they doing on the days off? All that stuff.

It was to give people, the fans, a kind of a VIP pass, in a way. We, Renee especially and the whole team, really thought and felt this was amazing, and we wanted to share it.

KING: It will play for two weeks, and then what?

DION: It will play for two weeks, and the rest will be history. We'll bring the rest home, I guess.

KING: Play where for two weeks?

DION: It's going to be in theaters.

KING: All over the country? Two weeks only?

DION: Yes. Coming out in Japan and Australia.

KING: Will it wind up on HBO or something?

DION: That I don't think. KING: Logically, you're not going to bury it, right?

DION: No. What you say, what you do, if you record, stays.

KING: Was it kind of a hassle to travel with the whole family?

DION: No, but it was -- we were 100 and something people traveling together. We really tried hard to keep this very -- it sounds weird to say -- as intimate as possible. So we were very fortunate to have as close as a team as possible traveling with my mom, with my son, my husband and I. The band was traveling separately. So it was not everybody traveling together at the same time.

KING: Was it a lot tougher to do this than to sing in Vegas every night?

DION: It's a totally different energy.

KING: Harder?

DION: It's just different. It's like an up tempo song and a ballad. I don't think one is harder than another. Being in Vegas was hard -- what's hard about Vegas was the consistency of having to hold your breath all the time. I mean, five nights a week for five years straight. It's not like, let me do three months and take two weeks off, and let me do two weeks off and then take six months off. It was constant for five years. So being out there holding your breath for five whole years.

But it was also amazing, because it was stability, and it was -- you put the set; you test the microphone; you are home every night.

What was great about on tour is that it's a new energy, so it's rock 'n roll. You see the beauty. We wanted to not only tour as an artist around this world, but take the time to see beauty around the world.

KING: You work every night?

DION: We did not work every night. We were doing about three shows a week. Then we did safaris and then met with Mr. Mandela and then we went to Berlin and we went outside of Berlin to see a concentration camp. Some stuff was hard.

When you look back and you have this -- we learned a lot. And to have my mom see this -- and for my son, who was seven at the time -- now he's nine. He talks about it. He doesn't know so well, but eventually he will.

KING: He will. We'll be back with more. What's it like to show up in a remote village and everybody knows you? You're taking chances if you don't stick around for the answers. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: I'm proud to call her a friend, the great Celine Dion. By the way, she has fans all over the world, met many of them off stage. Here's a clip of Celine singing with children in South Africa. Watch.




KING: Were you surprised that you were known in remote places?

DION: Very much, very touched, because you might -- being told that your songs are being played around the world, but when you go there and you have people in South Africa, Soweto, singing your songs -- it's amazing how music can travel. And it makes you realize how fortunate you are to use your voice and to get a message through or to express yourself.

KING: A lot of times, though, they wouldn't understand what you were singing? They wouldn't know the words?

DION: Yes. It makes you realize as well that they're -- with music, there's no barriers. There's no language really. If you speak French or English or Japanese, they might not understand every word that you're singing, but they get the message at the end that you're feeling when you're done with it. If you did a good job, if you -- I think I'm just fortunate that I was blessed with something, and --

KING: Did you hit it --

DION: It's the non-barrier.

KING: How long was the tour?

DION: More than a year.

KING: Wow. Hard to be away that long?

DION: It was not really hard because I was with the people I love the most. If I go away and I have my husband and my son, I have my family now. On top of that, I had my mom, 82 years old.

KING: How is your little one, who knows my little ones?

DION: Yes --


DION: We have to do that again. He just turned nine, and it doesn't -- it doesn't stop getting better. You think that eventually it will just stay there. It gets better and better. What I'm so happy for him is that -- of course, we're proud of our children, obviously. But I'm especially very happy for him. This kid has adapted himself to our lives, and he's a trouper.

KING: Show business kid.

DION: Yeah, show business kid, backstage, planes, jet lag. When he started his school a year ago --

KING: In Nevada?

DION: Actually, in Florida.-

KING: You have a home there.

DION: Now we drive him to school every morning. He's got his school. He's got his uniform. He's got his teachers. He's got his friends. He's got a job as a student to make the best of him every day. When this kid comes home every day, he's full of energy.

KING: Fourth grade?

DION: He's in the third actually. Actually, he was in second grade on tour. He didn't finish, so they call it second/third. Whatever you want to put it. Honestly, to let him feel he owns his own life now, that I'm the one that drives him -- I'm the one that adapts myself to his lifestyle now, it's the most rewarding thing for me.

KING: Do you want another child?

DION: We would love to have another child. We would love to --

KING: Are you trying?

DION: We're trying. We tried four times.

KING: What happened?

DION: It didn't work. We had a -- the first time we had a miscarriage. And the three other times, it did not work. It's kind of common, you know. We were very lucky. And now -- right now we're trying our fifth try.

KING: It's fun trying?

DION: There's nothing wrong with trying, I'll tell you.

KING: Would you adopt?

DION: I think that until my book is open -- let me rephrase that. I think that if I would not have a child, I probably would have thought maybe adopting. Now that we have a son together, I am more than blessed. We're trying to extend a family for him to have a sister or --

Maybe, but Until the book is opened for me -- if the doctor says, that's it, you cannot try anymore, you can't, then I will turn the page, and then I'll see my options.

KING: You ever get tired of singing? DION: Actually, this is what I love. Not what I love the most, because I think being a mother is what I love the most. But as a performer, I love singing a lot, and I hate to sing a lot. When I have the full capacity of my instrument, and I'm there to serve music as good as I can, I adore singing, because I talk with my soul, and I just love to share what I love with people.

But when it's not working so well, and you're sick a little bit, and you're not fine-tuned, it's the worst thing.

KING: Our guest is Celine Dion. When does this open, February, what?

DION: February 15 -- 17th, I'm sorry.

KING: Wednesday the 17th. Two nights away. This is playing on the 15th. It plays for two weeks in theaters all over the country.

DION: That's right.

KING: Celine sang in a Michael Jackson tribute in the Grammys, is participating in a remake of "We Are the World." We're going to talk about that next.






KING: Was "We Are the World" fun to do?

DION: It was. It was touching. It was touching to see everybody and to be -- this is a song that I always sang, and it was -- I was very touched when they asked me to be part of it. I didn't even think about it. I was there and I said, of course, I'd love to. It was amazing because I went into the recording studio and on my left was Quincy Jones.

KING: He produced it, right?

DION: Yes. And on my right was Lionel Richie.

KING: This one's for Haiti?

DION: I was like, I think I'm in good hands. I'll be all right. You can't get better than that.

KING: How did the Michael Jackson death affect you?

DION: It did a lot. You know, you see a lot of things. First of all, when you know him personally a little bit -- he came to see the show in Las Vegas. We talked a while. Michael was very interested in knowing how I was managing to be doing this every night. He was curious. He wanted to know.

And I was very nervous meeting with him. I have to tell you that since I was very young, Michael has been having an amazing influence on me. I just remember looking up to him in both ways. Looking up to him because I wanted to be on stage just like him, sing like him, maybe one day meet with him, but on top of that looking up to him, is that on the ceiling of my bedroom when I was young I had his posters. I was --

KING: On the ceiling. You could look up to him.

DION: The walls were not enough for me. The ceiling was where he was belonging. And I said to myself, well, if I want to sing like him, be on stage like him, maybe meet with him, maybe sing with him, what am I doing? I have to go to school to learn English.

KING: His death must have horrified you in.

DION: I went to school to learn English, and I met with him. I sang with him. And I -- it really hurt me a lot, because through what I was seeing, sometimes through newspapers and magazines and TV and -- they have a tendency to kind of show us the bad side. And I really thought -- I bought that. I bought the fact that I thought Michael was really, really, really sick.

And when I saw the movie -- because I don't think it's great to suffer and to struggle and to go through this. So I said, you know, he was called home. When I saw "This Is It," and I saw him top shape, I got mad.

KING: Yeah. By the way, in "We Are the World," was that your reuniting with Streisand?

DION: I was so happy to see her again. That's right, for a long time. So it was wonderful to see her. I thought she was a trooper just coming with the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus and everybody on stage. She came and did her part. Making a difference.

KING: By the way, you going back to Vegas.

DION: I'm going back.

KING: When?

DION: I'm going back starting next year.

KING: 2011. Cesar's again?

DION: I hope I have the date right. Cesar's coliseum. Home is home.

KING: How long a commitment?

DION: It's going to be -- is it three? Three years. I just wanted to double check.

KING: Your husband runs everything with the show with you, right?

DION: Well, my husband is my partner.

KING: He's a great man. We love Rene.

DION: He is. Three years in Vegas. It's going to be obviously a brand new show. I'm very excited, again. What's great about show business, like, you can always try to surpass yourself or, you know, like be the best of yourself and do something else. We're not trying to do the Vegas show again. We're not trying to do the Taking Chances again.

We're trying to, and we will, have 31-piece orchestra. We're going to sing. We're going to do great music, Hollywood movie tribute.

KING: Who will work when you take your little two weeks off?

DION: I'm not sure. I'm not sure who will, but I will work my schedule. I will do 70 shows a year.

KING: Go back to where you lived before?

DION: Yes. I'll work my schedule around my so son's life now. So he's going to go to school still. Then when he's off for summer, Spring Break and Christmas-time, I will go and perform.

KING: Helicopter there every day?

DION: No, that was like -- they made up that story a long, long time ago.

KING: You did helicopter?

DION: I never did a helicopter. I drove myself to work. No, not myself, I drove people crazy. I had a chauffeur driving back and forth every day. They thought I was going to disturb everybody every day twice -- I never took a helicopter.

KING: Show business, you people --

DION: Don't believe what you read. Ask the people.

KING: "Celine" the movie opens Wednesday, February 17th, for two weeks only, in theaters everywhere. My heart will go on, but only if you stay with us. One more segment with Celine next.








KING: We're back with more of Celine Dion. The film, "Celine, Through the Eyes of the World," opens February 17th, two weeks only in theaters near you. Have you ever turned down something you regretted?

DION: Well, I do not remember and I try not to remember, but I'll tell you a story -- I don't know if I told you that -- that I wanted to return "Titanic." I didn't want to sing "My Heart Will Go On."

KING: Why? Lousy song?

DION: I think it's an amazing song.

KING: Rene talked you into it.

DION: When I was offered the song, and it was played to me, and James Horner (ph) came and it was like playing the song to me -- I don't know what happened to me that day. I didn't think it was for me. And the way he was playing the piano -- and Rene was, like, you know what we're going to do? He said, let me ask Celine to do a demo. Then I knew -- I was like oh, my god, I'm going to do a demo -- make a long story short went for a demo, and I never re-sang the song because the actual recording --

KING: The demo is what they used.

DION: The demo is what they used. They just filled the orchestra. I'm so glad I was wrong.

KING: Were you shocked at how big it got?

DION: When I saw the movie, I was in shock. I was in shock that I was part of it. I was extremely proud. When I saw the movie -- you know, I don't think a love story will ever go away. And it makes me very happy to know and to feel that people, even though the life modernized and changes and it goes quick and fast and it's crazy out there, that people -- that human being are still being touched by the essentials of love, affection, attention, the true things. It's still works and I think it will always work.

KING: Was that a hard song? You have to do it all the time, right?

DION: Yes. I think -- yes, I'm very proud.

KING: Is it a hard song to sing?

DION: It is a hard song to sing.

KING: Give me an example.

DION: First of all, when you do "every night" -- it's all the breathy.


It's all breathy and then --


You have to be, like, killing it. It's from soft to hard. So it's hard. It's hard and also when it comes every day, your voice change. I mean, I started to sing the song a while ago, and hopefully in ten years I will still be a singer singing the song. Am I going to be able to sing it again? I hope so. It might be different --

KING: Might have to change it.

DION: We might have to change it.

KING: Do you ever get tired of it?

DION: You know, honestly truth, sometimes you're like, oh, time after time. But I don't know what, it's called the magic of the show business. You might be not believing you're going to sing the song again before the show starts. When the curtain comes up and they hear -- it works.

KING: You are the best.

DION: And you are a friend.

KING: Love you.

DION: I love you too.

KING: Celine Dion, February 17th, two nights away. It will open, the movie -- just two weeks to see "Celine Through the Eyes of the World," a behind-the-scenes glimpse of life as she toured the globe on her "Taking Chances" tour. Next March, she's in Vegas. We'll be there to see her, opening night! Right now, let's go to AC 360 and Anderson Cooper, starting right now. Anderson.