Diane Keaton on her Mel Gibson 'crush' and AFI honor: 'It's the wedding I never had'

"It's the wedding I never had and the retirement party I never wanted," says Diane Keaton of being honored with the AFI Life Achievement Award. "When I got the phone call, I was simultaneously thrilled but also terrified. Because it meant I was going to have to look back on my life as a performer. So right now I'm anxious. It's terrifying to see your life go by!"

Ahead of the June 8 ceremony at the Dolby Theatre (June 15 on TNT), Keaton, 71, who has worked with everyone from Woody Allen to Warren Beatty, recalled some of her less celebrated performances, and of course that career-making turn (at 26) opposite Al Pacino in Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather. "I was just thrown into this world that was way too overwhelming for me. I was like a deer in the headlights. And the wig they made me wear was ridiculous. It was so wide and so awful and so wig-like. But I didn't say anything because I was lucky to have a job," she confesses. "I just saw the film again. [Coppola] got his way with the studio — his cast, his cinematographer, the look of the movie — and it's so great! And this is something I've come to [realize] only recently. So this goes to show you what an idiot I am."

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Diane Keaton through the years
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Diane Keaton through the years
American actress Diane Keaton on the set of Manhattan written and directed by Woody Allen. (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
Diane Keaton as Kay Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather: Part II. (Photo by ?? John Springer Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
Woody Allen & Diane Keaton. (Photo by Nury Hernandez/New York Post Archives / (c) NYP Holdings, Inc. via Getty Images)
American actress Diane Keaton with actor, director and screenwriter Woody Allen on the set of his movie Sleeper. (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
American actress Diane Keaton on the set of Reds written, directed and produced by Warren Beatty. (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY - JUNE 20: Wody Allen and Diane Keaton sighted on June 20, 1970 in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Diane Keaton walking with Woody Allen. Allen has his hand in front of his face; circa 1970; New York. (Photo by Art Zelin/Getty Images)
Diane Keaton (right) and guest during Diane Keaton Sighting at Scandia Restaurant in New York City - January 2, 1974 at Scandia Restaurant in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
American actor and director Diane Keaton poses with a big smile and tilted head at the 48th Academy Awards and wears a white suit with a carnation in the lapel, striped shirt, and polka dot tie, Los Angeles, California, March 29, 1976. (Photo by Frank Edwards/Fotos International/Getty Images)
American actress Diane Keaton and American film director and actor Woody Allen talk in still from the film 'Annie Hall,' written and directed by Allen, 1977. (Photo by United Artists/Courtesy of Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES,CA - MARCH 29,1976: Director Milos Forman pose backstage after winning 'Best Director' for 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' with actress Diane Keaton during the 48th Academy Awards at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles,California. (Photo by Michael Montfort/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - CIRCA 1978: Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton circa 1978 in New York City. (Photo by Sonia Moskowitz/IMAGES/Getty Images)
Diane Keaton at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion in Los Angeles, California (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
CANADA - SEPTEMBER 17: Diane Keaton (Photo by Erin Combs/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Diane Keaton at table with apple in a scene from the film 'The Good Mother', 1988. (Photo by Buena Vista/Getty Images)
Diane Keaton during Opening of A Mom's Life - February 28, 1992 at Tiffany Theater in West Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Diane Keaton (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Diane Keaton during HBO's TCA 1992 at RItz-Carlton in Pasadena, CA, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)
Diane Keaton during 'What Women Want' Los Angeles Premiere at Mann Village Theatre in Westwood, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, UNITED STATES: US actors Steve Martin (L) and Diane Keaton arrive at the premiere of new film 'The Score' , 09 July 2001, in Hollywood in Los Angeles, CA. The film stars Robert De Niro and Marlon Brando. AFP PHOTO/Lucy Nicholson (Photo credit should read LUCY NICHOLSON/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 29: Diane Keaton & Liza Minelli backstage at 'The Act' in New York City 1977 (Photo by Vinnie Zuffante/Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 2612 -- Pictured: (l-r) Actress Diane Keaton during an interview with host Jay Leno -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Diane Keaton arrives at the premiere of 'Something's Gotta Give.' (Photo by Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images)
Diane Keaton during National Board of Review 2004 Awards Gala at Tavern on the Green in New York, New York, United States. (Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/FilmMagic)
Diane Keaton during NRDC's 'Earth To L.A.! - The Greatest Show On Earth' Benefit at Wadsworth Theatre in Westwood, California, United States. (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 8: (L-R) Executive Producer and honoree Diane English and actress Diane Keaton attend the annual Planned Parenthood Advocacy Event : 'Policitics, Sex & Cocktails' on October 8, 2004 at Astra West at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD - FEBRUARY 16: Sherry Lansing, the chairman of the Paramount Motion Pictures Group, (C) poses with actors Diane Keaton and Morgan Freeman at the hand and footprint ceremony honoring her at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on February 16, 2005 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 16: Actress Diane Keaton and Goldie Hawn arrives to the 62nd Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel January 16, 2005 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images)
BRENTWOOD, CA - APRIL 28: (L-R) Actress Diane Keaton poses with Kathy Preston, at the Publication Celebration For Kathy Preston's 'The One, Finding Soulmate Love and Making it Last' hosted by Variety, Arianna Huffington, Elizabeth Wiatt, and Jim Wiatt on April 28,2006 at the home Arianna Huffington in Brentwood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD - JUNE 10: Actor Diane Keaton speaks at the 'Future in Hand' benefit for UCLA's Surgical Endowment Fund at the Kodak Theater on June 10, 2006 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images)
Diane Keaton during Loreal Legends Gala Benefiting The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund - November 8, 2006 at The American Museum Of Natural History in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Jason Kempin/FilmMagic)
Diane Keaton and Ricky Lauren during Cocktail Reception to Celebrate Ricky Lauren's Book 'Ricky Lauren: Cuisine, Lifestyle, and Legend of the Double RL Ranch' at Ralph Lauren in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Hal Horowitz/WireImage)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 3299 -- Pictured: (l-r) Actress/director Diane Keaton during an interview with host Jay Leno on January 30, 2007 (Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Mandy Moore, Diane Keaton and Piper Perabo during 'Because I Said So' Los Angeles Premiere - Arrivals at The Arclight in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD - FEBRUARY 25: Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton present Best Picture award during the 79th Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre on February 25, 2007 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Diane Keaton during Film Society of Lincoln Center's 34th Annual Gala Tribute to Diane Keaton - Greenroom. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
Diane Keaton and Nancy Meyers (Photo by Eric Charbonneau/WireImage for PMK/HBH)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 04: Actors Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson attend the Los Angeles Philharmonic Concert Hall Gala at the Walt Disney Concert Hall on October 4, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Mathew Imaging/WireImage)
WESTWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 14: (L-R) Jody Evans, Max Palevsky and Diane Keaton attend Hammer Museum's Gala in the Garden Honoring Mike Kelley and Miuccia Prada at Hammer Museum on October 14, 2007 in Westwood, Ca. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
�2009 RAMEY PHOTO USA, Australia and South Africa rights only Actress Diane Keaton arrives on the set of the movie 'Morning Glory', in New York, NY, on May 27, 2009. Cau (Photo by Philip Ramey/Corbis via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MAY 27: Diane Keaton is seen in Manhattan on May 27, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Marcel Thomas/FilmMagic)
�2009 RAMEY PHOTO SANTA MONICA, 11/4/09 EXCLUSIVE. DIANE KEATON went to a track field in Santa Monica where she ran about 10 laps while talking to herself (probably rehearsing some screenplay) and wearing a long coat and a pair of jeans. When she was done running, she started to do some weird exercises (probably some yoga moves), still talking to herself... Her kids were swimming in a pool nearby. JIB-MCL (Photo by Philip Ramey/Corbis via Getty Images)
Actors Harrison Ford (L) and Diane Keaton arrive at ELLE's 17th Annual Women in Hollywood Tribute at The Four Seasons Hotel on October 18, 2010 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jeff Vespa/Getty Images North America)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 7: Diane Keaton poses for a photo during a portrait session at The Waldorf Towers in New York City, NY on November 7, 2010. (Photo by Munawar Hosain/Fotos International/Getty Images) Reproduction by American tabloids is absolutely forbidden.
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 12: Actress Diane Keaton (L) and actress Sarah Paulson arrive at the Alliance For Children's Rights 3rd annual celebrity right to laugh event at Avalon on June 12, 2012 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 4445 -- Pictured: Actress Diane Keaton during an interview on April 22, 2013 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 05: Actress Diane Keaton attends The Hollywood Reporter's 'Power 100: Women In Entertainment' Breakfast at the Beverly Hills Hotel on December 5, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 10: Actors John C. Reilly (L) and Diane Keaton attend a party for Matthew Rolston's new book 'Talking Heads: The Vent Haven Portraits' hosted by Diane Keaton and Kay Saatchi at JF Chen on May 10, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 05: Actor Morgan Freeman (L) and actress Diane Keaton attend the 'Ruth & Alex' premiere during the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival at Ryerson Theatre on September 5, 2014 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Angela Weiss/WireImage)
ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - OCTOBER 01: Diane Keaton attends the 'And so it goes' Press Conference during Day 7 of Zurich Film Festival 2014 on October 1, 2014 in Zurich, Switzerland. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images for ZFF)
ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - OCTOBER 01: Diane Keaton attends the 'And so it goes' Green Carpet Arrivals during Day 7 of Zurich Film Festival 2014 on October 1, 2014 in Zurich, Switzerland. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images for ZFF)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 04: Actress Diane Keaton speaks onstage during the 2015 AFI Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute Honoring Steve Martin at the Dolby Theatre on June 4, 2015 in Hollywood, California. 25292_003 (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Turner Image)
NEW YORK - JULY 28: Diane Keaton seen out in Soho on JULY 28, 2015 in New York, New York. (Photo by Josiah Kamau/BuzzFoto via Getty Images)
ROME, ITALY - AUGUST 11: Diane Keaton is seen on set filming the new TV series of Paolo Sorrentino 'The Young Pope' near Saint Peter's church on August 11, 2015 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Agostino Fabio/GC Images)
WESTWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 10: Diane Keaton and Sarah Paulson, wearing Bottega Veneta, attend Hammer Museum's 'Gala in the Garden' Sponsored by Bottega Veneta at Hammer Museum on October 10, 2015 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Hammer Museum)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 16: Actors Blake Lively (L) and Diane Keaton attend the L'Oreal Paris Women of Worth Celebration 2016 on November 16, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for L'Oreal)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 16: Actress Diane Keaton attends the L'Oreal Paris Women of Worth Celebration 2016 Arrivals on November 16, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for L'Oreal)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 20: Actor Diane Keaton with Holly at the 2nd Annual Punchline For Paws at Candela on May 20, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Lucianna Faraone Coccia/Getty Images)
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Read more: Critic's Appreciation: A Closer Look at Diane Keaton's Career

A decade later, she joined Albert Finney in Alan Parker's Shoot the Moon. "Oh, my God, he scared the hell out of me," says Keaton of her abusive onscreen husband. "That scene where he's knocking on the door and screaming at me, and I'm saying, 'No, you get out!' And the kids are terrified — I'm proud of that movie." A few years later, in Gillian Armstrong's Mrs. Soffel, she starred opposite Australian up-and-comer Mel Gibson. "I was pushing 40, and he was in his 20s, but I remember how easy he was to work with," says Keaton. "And how gorgeous. I had that kiss with him, and I was sitting in the car driving back to the hotel, and I remember trying to relive that kiss because it was really wonderful. Of course I had a crush on him, even though he already had, like, four kids ..."

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This story first appeared in the June 7 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.


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