After four decades in Hollywood, Kathleen Turner has some stories to tell and some names to name.
Lucky for us, the Peggy Sue Got Married star didn’t hold back in a lengthy, juicy new interview with Vulture, dropping the names of people she’s worked with over her four decades in Hollywood. While the Oscar-nominated actress had kind words for some — she praises actress Emma Stone in general and the stage work of Meryl Streep — she was refreshingly honest about her interactions and impressions of others.
Some of the celebs she had less-than-glowing things to say about:
“Yuck,” Turner said of encountering Donald Trump in the ’80s. “He has this gross handshake.”
She explained: “He goes to shake your hand and with his index finger kind of rubs the inside of your wrist. He’s trying to do some kind of seductive intimacy move. You pull your hand away and go, ‘Yuck.’”
The cast of ‘Friends’
Asked to recount her time guest-starring on Friends, Turner also kept it real.
“I’ll be quite honest, which is my wont: I didn’t feel very welcomed by the cast. I remember I was wearing this difficult sequined gown — and my high heels were absolutely killing me. I found it odd that none of the actors thought to offer me a seat. Finally it was one of the older crew members that said, ‘Get Miss Turner a chair,’” Turner said. “The ‘Friends’ actors were such a clique — but I don’t think my experience with them was unique. I think it was simply that they were such a tight little group that nobody from the outside mattered.”
That was actually a pretty sweet response, until she was asked her opinion of their acting.
“I won’t comment on that,” Turner said.
Turner has a voice that can make a cartoon sexy. (Please see: Jessica Rabbit.) She was not shy about citing Elizabeth Taylor’s voice as, well, less than optimal in 1958’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. “[Taylor] has a bad voice, badly used,” Turner said bluntly.
When she was asked if she’d seen Taylor’s Oscar-winning performance in 1966’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? before reprising it in a later Broadway production, Turner was clear. “God, no. Quite the opposite,” she said. “For a while I felt like half my life was making her wrongs right.”
This statement pretty much sums it up: “I don’t think she was very skilled.”
Ever wondered about Nicolas Cage’s odd vocals in Peggy Sue Got Married? Turner figured it out very early on during filming, and she wanted to stop it.
“It was tough to not say, ‘Cut it out.’ But it wasn’t my job to say to another actor what he should or shouldn’t do. So I went to [director] Francis [Ford Coppola]. I asked him, ‘You approved this choice?’ It was very touchy. [Cage] was very difficult on set. But the director allowed what Nicolas wanted to do with his role, so I wasn’t in a position to do much except play with what I’d been given. If anything, [Cage’s portrayal] only further illustrated my character’s disillusionment with the past. The way I saw it was, yeah, he was that a**hole.”
Asked to clarify whether she was referring to Cage or his character, Turner said, “Listen, I made it work, honey.”
See what she did there?
Michael Douglas, Warren Beatty, and Jack Nicholson
“I understood later, from Michael Douglas, that there was a competition between him and Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty about who would get me first,” she said in her throaty voice. “None of them did, by the by.
“I don’t like being thought of as a trophy,” she continued. “Let me tell you, when Jack and I were shooting Prizzi’s Honor, a bunch of us went to his place up on Mulholland [Drive]. Jack said, knowing Warren’s interest in me, ‘Why don’t you call Warren and tell him I don’t have a corkscrew.’ ‘Why?’ ‘You’ll see how fast he gets here.’ There was an unspoken assumption that women were property to be claimed.”
It should be noted that Turner also had good things to say about Douglas, who, along with Danny DeVito, co-starred with Turner in three ’80s movies; they supported her after she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis soon after they worked together. “I do have to say, when I got sick [with rheumatoid arthritis],” Turner said, “Danny and Michael called and said, ‘If you need anything, kid…’ So they’re true friends.”
“Working with Burt Reynolds was terrible,” Turner said of her co-star in the 1988 movie Switching Channels. “The first day Burt came in he made me cry. He said something about not taking second place to a woman. His behavior was shocking. It never occurred to me that I wasn’t someone’s equal. I left the room sobbing. I called my husband and said, ‘I don’t know what to do.’ He said, ‘You just do the job.’ It got to be very hostile because the crew began taking sides. But as for the performance, I was able to put the negativity aside. I’m not convinced Burt was.”
For what it’s worth, the movie has a 60 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Reynolds has also shaded Turner, calling her the “most overrated actor in the ’70s and ’80s.”
Turner withheld the name of someone described parenthetically in the interview as “very famous Hollywood actress” who plays the same roles over and over. She “has played the same role for 20 years. She even looks pretty much the same,” Turner said. “She’s probably one of the richest women out there, but I would shoot myself if I were like that, only giving people what they expect.”
“Very odd” is how Turner described her co-star in her breakthrough movie, Body Heat. “I remember one night while we were shooting Body Heat we were sitting around, and for some reason he wanted to talk about how we’d each like to die. I don’t remember what my answer was, but he said he wanted to be sucked up into a jet engine. You would find yourself in that kind of discussion with Bill. Then when we did The Accidental Tourist, Bill was sober, so there were fewer discussions like that. God, you did not want to get Bill talking too much.”
Her response to a question about them as a group was pretty perfect: “In Crimes of Passion I was playing a designer by day, $50 whore on Hollywood Boulevard by night. Do you think I was going to hang out with whores on Hollywood Boulevard and find out what the f** that was like? I have an imagination, you know.”
Please, someone give her an Oscar — or at least some time at the podium.
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