Tuesday, March 04, 2008

My Dinner With... Kathleen Turner

Piper @ Lazy Eye Theater sent me a dinner invitation. Only trouble was it was blank and it required me to actually do the inviting. But before I do, let's consider for a moment the audacity of M. Piper. He sent it to me on January 8th. I know right? Yes, just as the BFCA winners were celebrating and the DGA nominees were being announced... smack dab in the feverish build up to the Oscar nominations it did arrive. January! The nerve.

My friends all know not to try to engage me in actual attention-requiring conversations from mid December through late February (yes, I'm that good to my loved ones). But with Oscar season over, my brain is my own again. I can now enter the kitchen rather than taking my meals intravenously at the computer.

So this is what a kitchen looks like.

1. Pick a single person past or present who works in the film industry who you'd like to have dinner with and tell us why you chose this person.
I'm inviting Kathleen Turner to dine with me.

"I'd love to, Nathaniel. I don't care if this whole room of reporters knows about our rendezvous!"

I'm not inviting Kathleen because she's my favorite "lost" actress from the 80s, though she is (she hasn't made a movie since 2000). This is not because I am Oscar obsessed and she was the first talent I ever considered "snubbed" in my earliest throes of awards curiosity, though she was (I was confused that they preferred three farm wives to her LAFCA winning work in Romancing The Stone & Crimes of Passion). This is not because her "Martha" in the Broadway revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf was one of the best performances I've ever seen and she (shockingly) made me forget all about Liz Taylor, though it was and she did.

No, it's a combination of all those things but mostly that I've just finished reading her bio Send Yourself Roses. I was disappointed to discover that it was only 261 pages long. I was hoping her oral profundities would last me through the rest of winter. I'm a slow reader but 261 pages of Kathleen is easy to binge on. Like her film career, this book was way too short.

With my invitation would come roses (no way should the great lady have to self-send) and a note that would hopefully quell her objections to meeting a crazed fan. It would utilise her own get up and go / face the music motto that she winds throughout the book's pages "...you just have to, don't you?"

2. Set the table for your dinner. What would you eat? Would it be in a home or at a restaurant? And what would you wear? Feel free to elaborate on the details.
Kathleen can wear whatever she likes. She's not into fashion. She's into comfort. Her feet bother her (rheumatoid arthritis + knee replacements. Ouch and sympathies) ...socks or flip flops are fine. I would actually hold the dinner in a rented van. No, no sillies --not like a Buffalo Bill type of situation. A van so that Ms. Turner and I could do service together for City Meals on Wheels in between bites. Kathleen is a good samaritan and I'd want to impress. It's been eons since I did something selflessly for someone else. Unless you count all this free promotion I do for celebrities like Kathleen Turner on this blog. Shush.

The trickiest thing about this dinner would be that I would have to have the table especially built so that it was just an inch or two too high. I want Kathleen, a large woman, to have to look up slightly to talk to me. This way, her patented head toss that delights me so would be sure to occur with great regularity as we scarfed our food. If the food was spicy enough maybe I could engineer some extra eye-flashing from her as well.

Kathleen believes in communal dishes. She says so in the book. So the first course would definitely be something we could get our hands into and share, like an African rice dish perhaps. I haven't worked out the entire menu but I'd theme the courses after her movies... can you eat alligator? Kathleen is not a recovering alcoholic as the tabs and her own vodka soaked public breakdowns had everyone believing. She is a self-moderating drinker but, all the same, no booze for this special night.

Kathleen's five best performances, give or take Crimes of Passion (which I
haven't seen in too long to judge) counter clockwise from top left:
Body Heat (1981),
Peggy Sue Got Married
(1986), War of the Roses (1989), Romancing the Stone (1984)
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf

3. List five thoughtful questions you would ask this person during dinner.
I would ask 50 --can one ever have enough Kathleen, but do they have to be "thoughtful"? This meme is so strict. Here's a sampling.
  1. Why didn't you write about your Oscar loss for Peggy Sue Got Married in your book Send Yourself Roses? You wrote about a few unpleasantries and some straight up tragedies and the way I see it an Oscar loss (when you deserved to win) surely fits somewhere between those polls of ewww. And yet in 261 pages ...nothing. You're torturing me! I fear I remember the night better than you.
  2. Your candor has always been a great and rare gift, especially for an A lister. But, if there's one part of the book that feels like you're holding back it's the section on Crimes of Passion (1984). You do dish some stories from the set but once it comes to your first screening, your husband's subsequent anger and assumption that he could control your creative choices, and your own surprise at the same... the book suddenly feels cagey. Can you retrieve the missing 10 pages please. 20? There's more stories there, surely. I wish you had slapped him around a bit. Who marries an actress known for her screen-scorching sexuality and then freaks out when she uses it in the service of a role?... a truly outré role in a deranged Ken Russell movie, but still.
  3. You've smartly realized how much better stage roles are for actresses of your calibre and age... but you've also expressed a desire to return to the movies. What kind of roles would you like to play? I've seen you on stage and you're an even better actress than you were when you were a huge movie star. Hollywood is missing out.
  4. Can I audit your class at NYU "Practical Acting: Shut Up and Do It!"? I'm not an actor or an NYU student but I love the title and I'm willing to bet that you're an insightful coach. It'd give me great blogging material. You believe in charity. Give. To me.
  5. Speaking of... Will you star with me in a YouTube response video called "I'm F#@*ing Kathleen Turner"?
    ...........I've already written the song.
4. When all is said and done, select six bloggers to pass this Meme along to. Link back to Lazy Eye Theatre, so that people know the mastermind behind this Meme.
okay, get cooking people... Emma @ All About My Movies, 14 or Candy @ Circus Hour, Gabriel @ Modern Fabulousity, Jackie @ Spectator, JA of My New Plaid Pants and Dave @ Victim of the Time.


Anonymous said...



Glenn Dunks said...

You really think Turner should've won for Peggy Sue? I'd say she should've won for Romancing the Stone, sure - but Peggy Sue?


well, that's how i remember it at least :)

She and Sigourney were my favorites and maybe now many years later I'd go with Sigourney... i haven't seen either movie in a long time. But the race was definitely between Kathleen and Marlee and I think Turner wipes the floor with Matlin. I still think it's really weird that William Hurt was the one announcing the award. He won the year before so of course he was the one... but considering her and Kathleen rose to fame together in erotic fashion and he was sleeping with Matlin at the time... and they were the two frontrunners in the category. strangeness.

Drew said...

My mom roomed with Kathleen Turner in college and said she was a roaring, phony bitch.

Just sayin'. :x

Anonymous said...

Is someone questioning her Peggy Sue Got Married nomination? I know it's not the type of film the Academy usually goes for (making the nomination that much sweeter) but the performance is phenomenal. She won NBR and came runner up at NYFC and NSFC for it and would have won the Globe had she not won the same category the previous TWO years. It's probably the loss that saddens me the most in AMPAS history. This was her first film I had ever seen, which then caused me to seek out her other work... now she's one of my favorite actress' of all time. I'm not one who usually gives into these silly little 'conspiracy theories' about why so and so won/lost... but Matlin's win felt like SUCH a political win. I can't believe this was the only time Turner was up for the gold prize.


I know. it's shameful.

she should've garnered at least 3 nomninations

Body Heat

Romancing the Stone (or Crimes of Passion if you're feeling crazy)

Peggy Sue Got Married

and there are people who will make cases for War of the Roses and Prizzi's Honor, too.

My dream (it's always a dream with my favorites cuz they never win) is for her to do a great lively old lady turn in some well received flick in 10 years and get a statue in supporting. Not that she does supporting roles if she can help it...

she's a STAR!

Anonymous said...

"and there are people who will make cases for War of the Roses and Prizzi's Honor, too."

I'm one of them.

Anonymous said...

Body Heat - WIN
Romancing The Stone
Prizzi's Honor
Peggy Sue Got Married - WIN
The War Of The Roses
Serial Mom
The Virgin Suicides

Emma said...

Thanks for tagging me Nat, I had to give it a good think!

Posting right this second.

PIPER said...

Sorry about the timing of the whole thing. Had I known that you were up to your eyeballs in awards stuff... actually I did know that. See, I'm a simple guy and when an idea hits, everything else just fades away.

I'm kind of with kamikaze here on the whole Turner/Oscar thingy. Didn't feel like she really deserved it for Peggy Sue. It's hard to see her as she was then and as she is now. She was a sizzle back then, and well now... she like sweat suits.

Thanks for doing it Nat. A good post.

Anonymous said...

my mum met kathleen turner back in...86 i think it was..or 87...and said she was lovely...they kept intouch, but when my mum fell pregnant with me she moved to london...they still catch up and stuff occasionaly but havent seen eachother since 92... sad really