Look, we all know by now that President Trump shakes hands like a pissed off gorilla, yeah? But we’re used to mostly witnessing his grabby dominance plays as exerted toward international male politicians — and hearing about a different sort of grabby dominance when it comes to women. Luckily actress Kathleen Turner is here to remind us that, yeah, Trump is super gross when he’s shaking a woman’s hand too, courtesy of her recent interview with Vulture:
This is a sort of left-field question, but President Trump seems like someone you would’ve bumped into at a party in New York in the ’80s. Have you ever met him?
Yes. Yuck. He has this gross handshake.
What’s he do?
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.
Did you just throw up a little in your mouth? It’s OK, we’re friends here. For what it’s worth, the rest of that Turner interview more than makes up for this momentary queasiness. It’s long, and full of gems that prove Turner has reached near-Quincy Jones levels of giving zero fucks at this stage of her career. She dishes on her past illness and addiction struggles, difficult co-stars (Burt Reynolds), roles for women of a certain age (stage is better than screen, thank you very much), and what went down between her and Michael Douglas during the making of The Jewel of the Nile — a movie I watched countless times as a child, along with her other Douglas/DeVito films, Romancing the Stone and The War of the Roses (I’ve been stanning Kathleen Turner my whole life, thank you very much). Honestly, just read the whole thing if you have time because you won’t be disappointed, but I’ve gone ahead and cherry-picked a few priceless exchanges if you need more proof that we all need more Kathleen Turner in our lives.
On being assertive (a.k.a. “difficult”) on set:
You didn’t think any of the press about your being “difficult” or your drinking or your illness was cynical?
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, fuck. There she goes.”
What’s an example of that happening to you?
Here’s one that was very nicely resolved with Francis [Ford Coppola]: Sometimes at night I dream the scene I’m going to be doing the next day, and with Peggy Sue I had dreamed a scene where my character was coming down the stairs in the old house and meets her mother. In my dream the camera was there. When I got on set, the camera was here. I was disoriented. I said to Francis, “The camera’s supposed to be over there” — because that’s how I’d dreamed it — and he went, “No, it’s not.” I said, “I’m telling you it should be over there.” He goes, “Well, it’s over here.” So we made a deal.
What was the deal?
He said that if I gave him as many takes as he wanted from where he had set the camera, he would give me two takes from where I wanted the camera. And guess what happened?
The take he used was from your spot?
Yes, Nic Cage has always been weird AF:
I have another question about actors and their choices: When you show up on set, like you did for Peggy Sue Got Married, and realize that Nicolas Cage has decided to play his part with such an unusual voice — that he was doing a thing — how did that affect how you calibrated your performance?
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. He [Nicolas 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, it [Cage’s portrayal] only further illustrated my character’s disillusionment with the past. The way I saw it was, yeah, he was that asshole.
Sorry, Nicolas Cage or his character?
Listen, I made it work, honey.
But of everything she had to say, this bit hit me the hardest. Anger works, folks. As long as you make it work FOR you rather than AGAINST you.
What else, aside from luck, has driven your career?
What do you mean?
I’m fuckin’ angry, man.
Where does that anger come from?
Injustice in the world.
How does rage show up in your work?
In my cabaret show I use this passage from Molly Ivins: “Beloveds, these are some bad, ugly, angry times. And I am so freaked out. Hatred has stolen the conversation. The poor are now voting against themselves. But politics is not about left or right. It’s about up and down. The few screwing the many.” She wrote that over ten years ago and it’s no less true today.
Is any part of the rage you feel related to how illness derailed your career?
I’m too busy coping with disease to think much outside the day-to-day. For me it’s can I hold a pen? Can I stand up? Can I climb those stairs?
So you don’t feel as if part of your prime was unfairly taken from you?
I suppose there was a feeling of loss. Rheumatoid arthritis hit in my late 30s — the last of my years in which Hollywood would consider me a sexually appealing 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?
What was the answer?
To fuckin’ get it back. You work with what you have, as best you can. That’s what I’ve done.
BRB, running out to buy her memoir now…
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