In 'What If...,' Shirley MacLaine speculates on a whole host of topics from the mundane to the esoteric. It's vintage MacLaine, imaginative, irreverent and funny. The Oscar-winning actress, who recently appeared on “Downton Abbey,” spoke to FOX411 about her musings and beliefs.
FOX411: You're quite happy living by yourself.
Shirley MacLaine: Oh my God yes! I can do all the “ifs” I want. I think I dodged that one. I was married for 30 years. That was enough.
FOX411: Yeah, but you lived in different countries.
MacLaine: Not all the time. We had the only marriage I could ever be in. I think, by the way, a lot of people are beginning to feel that way. They don't really need a spouse to ratify their own existence. I think many, many women are beginning to feel that especially if they have the means to support themselves. I have enough intimacy with my dog.
FOX411: And you believe your dog Teri is going to come back.
MacLaine: Oh yes, I believe she already has. She and I have been together for a very long time, not just here. No question in my mind about that. We were together in Egypt. I wrote about it in a book called, “Out on a Leash.”
FOX411: You definitely believe we're not alone here.
MacLaine: Not long from now we're going to be teaching that we're not alone in the universe. Let's invite some of our [co-inhabitants] in instead of making all this UFO stuff sound so kooky.
FOX411: You're critical of today's younger generation.
MacLaine: They have no respect for annunciation, none of these young people. They're just slurring over everything. They sound half drunk. I think it's a coded language so only they can understand one another.
FOX411: You're also not too fond of airport security.
MacLaine: Traveling is extraordinarily hard on me. Each time I think, “OK I just got away with not being put in the slammer.” It's little people in big uniform syndrome. I don't like it because it's the dumbing down of civilization. Everyone's lined up doing exactly what they're told to do-- even so far as now we're going to photograph your insides. What the hell?! I don't know. Find another way to look for terrorists.
FOX411: How did this book come about?
MacLaine: I was sitting around for a year thinking about what I was interested in and how lots of things had accumulated. I have such fun speculating in what if something is real or not. I learned it from my father. He was extremely intelligent. We used to talk about all these things and that became my entertainment. My father's favorite expression was, “What if a frog had wings, he wouldn't bump his ass so much.” I just loved the feeling of speculating on what if. It's a real entertainment for me. I don't like being stuck in what we think is the only limited reality.
FOX411: Do you feel like your thoughts on past lives have become more mainstream now?
MacLaine: Sure, absolutely but I did have to navigate my way through all of that. There's so many people who are secretly thinking it anyway. Maybe I was one of the ones who contributed it to be something that could be discussed. I think a lot of what I'm writing now or speculating will become fairly mainstream in another 10 years.
FOX411: You don't believe in coincidences.
MacLaine: I think it’s more synchronicity and the more we become aware of these occurrences and happenstances, the more we begin to look at truth in a different way. I don't believe in coincidences. I think it's what Einstein was looking for with the unified field theory. I think all of it makes sense if we would open up and let it be something more than what we've been told and taught.
FOX411: You describe yourself first and foremost as a dancer.
MacLaine: My work ethic is that of a dancer. I'm a team player. I'm kind of aware of what everyone else is thinking and doing. I don't know how to pull a diva trip but I get terribly upset with lack of efficiency. When you start at the age of three in a rehearsal hall, if you're not completely aware of the efficiency of your mind, body and spirit then you're going to get hurt, so you have to be aligned in those ways. Of course I am an actress but aren't we all acting in life? We're all basically producing ourselves.