FRC’s Fallen Icon #8 – Kathleen Turner
In the 80s there was no one better to call upon for a comedy/drama/action and sexy role, Kathleen Turner. But what happened? Where is this Fallen Icon?
For new readers and those who may have missed these posts from prior weeks here is a brief run down of what it is about..
Remember when you would always be waiting for a new film from [insert fallen icon’s name here]. They were always on the top of the list when the casting calls went out. demanding top dollar for their appearance. But then they got old, fat, or just unfashionable and got lost in TV or even the world of PORN.
Well I am going to take a few weeks to pay tribute to these guys. They deserve a comeback. I mean Robert Downey Jr got one. John Travolta got one (Ok he kinda fell again) so these guys deserve it too!!
I remember when I was a child/teen and Kathleen Turner was everywhere. She was smart, funny and sexy. Romancing the Stone was one of my favourite films growing up (I have no shame about that), but in recent years the star has been struggling with alcohol and arthritis, but does she deserve a comeback?
Kathleen started her career as the 80s answer to a Femme Fatale, she shot to fame in the 1981 film Body Heat. She starred as the Femme-Fatale who liked her men stupid enough to kill. The intense chemistry and sizzling performance by Turner made her a household name over night.
Her next film was The Man With Two Brains, where again she starred as the Femme Fatale character alongside Steve Martin. Although this was a comedy not a thriller it showed a different comical side of Turner.
In 1984 she teamed up with Michael Douglas for her first outing in the surprise hit, Romancing The Stone. The romantic novelist had to travel to South America where she meets Douglas, cue romance, comedy, action, the whole shebang. Also in ’84 Turner starred in Crimes of Passion as a prostitute. The film bombed at the box office as the audience were unclear whether you were supposed to laugh or take it as serious as the ridiculous plot took itself!
1985 was a busy year again for the star, she turned up in two films. The first was a hitman couple movie called Prizzi’s Honor, where she starred alongside Jack Nicholson and the pair played hitmen hired to kill each other, while falling in love (who says Hollywood repeats itself? Mr & Mrs Smith anyone?). The next film we see her in this year is the sequel to romancing the Stone, The Jewel of the Nile. Interestingly Turner tried to back out of the movie about was threatened with a lawsuit for breach of contract. Unfortunately the film was not a success like the first and it bombed with the critics. The fans though made it a hit, even though the charm and interesting point of view had switched form the first one.
The next year came a very important, and yet strange choice for the actress. Peggy Sue got Married saw Turner in the title role as Peggy Sue and Nic Cage as her car salesman ex-husband. While at a school 25 year reunion Peggy Sue faints and gets sent back into the past to re-live her choices and give love a second chance. Although Cage seems to be on a different page to Turner, her performance here got a her a very deserved nod from the academy.
When we get to the end of the 80s we are really starting to gain speed. 1988 was a cracker for turner, not only did she reprise her Femme Fatale status in the brilliant Who Framed Roger Rabbit as Jessica Rabbit, but, she also teamed up again with her co-star from Body Heat for The Accidental Tourist. Unlike the hot and steamy Body Heat this film shows a gentler side of Turner. The Accidental Tourist did really well at the box office and critics loved it too.
In 1989 Turner again teamed up with Michael Douglas for War of the Roses. A black comedy about divorce that turns so nasty that it ends up being a battle for survival! Even through it’s dark theme it was a success and audience loved the humour!
When we hit the ‘90s that is when we start to see Kathleen’s career start to slide…
It all started with V.I. Warshawski. This was a series of mysteries especially written for the star, to give her a relaunch. Even though the movie was a bomb with all the critics, Turner was surprisingly good.
In 1993 while she starred with Dennis Quaid in a comedy, Undercover blues, she was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. She was told that she may be wheelchair bound. Sometimes the pain was so bad that she could hardly move. Add the fact that she used to take the huge amount of pain killers prescribed with large amounts of alcohol and her appearance started to change. No longer was she being offered the sexy roles, she was now the older woman.
Although her disease has calmed down her abuse of alcohol didn’t. She gained a lot of weight and even though she is still seen in small roles, Virgin Suicides, Marley and Me, Friends, for instance, her days as a leading lady seem to be over.
Where did it go wrong?
Well it seems that the dreaded drink and illness have a lot to answer for, but she also had a reputation as being very feisty and hard to work with.
Must See Films…
William Hurt and Kathleen Turner strike sparks in Lawrence Kasdan’s ‘Body Heat’, a sexy, haunting tale echoing 1940’s film noirs but charged with an energy and passion that can only flare in the 80’s. Kasdan’s assured directorial debut foreshadows the emotional textures he would bring too later films The Big Chill, The Accidental Tourist and Grand Canyon. Sit back and bask in this contemporary classic’s wicked warmth.
Romancing The Stone
When her sister is kidnapped by thugs searching for a priceless jewel in the Colombian jungle, a romance novelist (Turner) soon finds her own life filled with cliffhangers and danger. All alone, she sets out to rescue her sister and meets up with a handsome fortune seeker (Douglas), much like the charismatic hero of her books, who convinces her to beat the bandits to the treasure…
Peggy Sue Got Married
If you could live your life all over again, would you change anything? Kathleen Turner, portraying Peggy Sue, gets the chance to answer this tantalizing question in Francis Ford Coppola’s romantic comedy. Co-starring Joan Allen, Nicholas Cage, Helen Hunt, and Jim Carrey, Peggy sue Got Married is a humorous, heartfelt fantasy about the golden opportunity almost everyone has longed for at least once.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a tale of a man, a woman and a rabbit in a triangle of trouble. It’s a world where laughing can be dangerous, romance can be hilarious, and Toons and people live side by side. It’s a wonderful place you’ll want to visit again and again. The chemistry is magic. The effects are astonishing. And the film is unforgettable!
Does Turner deserve a comeback? Are you a fan? Comment below…