Kathleen Turner is known for her raspy, smoky and sultry voice in steamy romances and comedies like “Body Heat,” “Romancing the Stone” and as the voice of Jessica Rabbit in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” In her latest interview, that voice had a whole lot to say.
Speaking with Vulture on Tuesday, Turner dished on everything from President Trump’s “gross handshake” to how cliquey she found the cast of “Friends” when she made a guest appearance. Check out some more of the juiciest highlights from her interview below.
Turner says Elizabeth Taylor was overrated
Right out of the gate, Turner came out swinging at another member of Hollywood royalty, Elizabeth Taylor, critiquing Taylor’s performance in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” comparing it to how she tackled Edward Albee’s play herself.
“You ever listen to her voice? It’s awful,” Turner said of Taylor. “I don’t think she was very skilled. And Edward Albee disliked the film intensely. In the play, when George comes in he pours himself a drink and then nurses that drink the whole evening. The film got that completely wrong. Taylor and Richard Burton are drunk and screaming at each other the whole time. I heard somebody once say [about the film], ‘I get this at home. Why would I go see it?’ But I was lucky that I got to do the play myself and show the humor in it for God’s sake.”
She rebuffed the advances of Jack Nicholson
After her first film “Body Heat,” Turner said she became a “sexual target.” And in working with the likes of Michael Douglas, Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson, Turner said all three male stars were in a “competition” to see who “would get me first.” “None of them did, by the way,” she added.
Turner described two encounters with Nicholson outside of work, one in which Nicholson called her and chided her for leaving a party early.
“I don’t like being thought of as a trophy,” Turner said. “I get there and the phone rings. It was Jack: ‘How could you do that to me?’ ‘Do what?’ ‘You were my date and you left!’ And I said, ‘I was your date? No one informed me.’ Assumptions like that are why I’ve never lived in Los Angeles. Every time I go to that city I feel insecure.”
Donald Trump has a “gross” handshake
Vulture interviewer David Marchese briefly went off topic to ask whether Turner ever met Donald Trump in his 1980s New York days. “Yuck,” Turner replied at the thought, interjecting that Trump has what she called a “gross handshake.”
“He goes to shake your hand and with his index finger kind of rubs the inside of your wrist,” Turner said. “He’s trying to do some kind of seductive intimacy move. You pull your hand away and go yuck.”
On how she avoided being typecast
Turner is known for her voice and her sex appeal, but she said she worked to avoid being considered as only one type of actress, which she added hurt her career and financially. She said that after her first stage role playing a “privileged white girl,” Turner didn’t want the audience to think that was what she was like offstage.
“But there’s the choice: Do you want the audience to like you or do you want to be a good actor? That’s an easy choice for me,” Turner said.
Turner then name-dropped an actress, but requested that the name not be printed, who she felt has been doing the same thing 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.”
On missing out on her prime acting years
Turner battled addiction and rheumatoid arthritis when she was in her late thirties, right at the time she said she was in her last days of being considered a viable, sexually attractive leading lady.
“The hardest part was that so much of my confidence was based on my physicality. If I didn’t have that, who was I,” Turner said. When asked how she dealt with that, she responded, “To f—in’ get it back. You work with what you have, as best you can. That’s what I’ve done.”
She noted that while male actors can more easily be “difficult” on set and be seen as “decisive,” it doesn’t go the same way for women. And having a confusing illness that prevented her from working didn’t help her in the eyes of Hollywood executives.
“The ‘difficult’ thing was pure gender crap. If a man comes on set and says, ‘Here’s how I see this being done,’ people go, ‘He’s decisive.’ If a woman does it, they say, ‘Oh, f—. There she goes,” Turner said. “
She didn’t enjoy being on “Friends”
Turner guest starred on three episodes of “Friends” as Chandler Bing’s drag queen father, but she wasn’t a fan of her experience, describing the core group of the six actors as a “clique.”
“I didn’t feel very welcomed by the cast,” Turner said. “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.’ 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.”
Check out the whole interview at Vulture.