Five Favorite Films

Five Favorite Films with Kathleen Turner

The enduring Hollywood actress and star of this week's The Perfect Family ponders an eclectic selection of her favorites.

by | May 2, 2012 | Comments

Kathleen Turner began her career in the theater, before a sizzling film debut in Lawrence Kasdan’s 1981 thriller Body Heat established her as one of the screen sirens of that decade. Hits ensued: Romancing the Stone, The Man with Two Brains, Prizzi’s Honor, Peggy Sue Got Married and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? numbered among her critical and commercial successes, while Turner would gravitate toward the black comedy of The War of the Roses and, later, a delectably unhinged turn as John Waters’ Serial Mom. Mixing film, TV and acclaimed stage roles since, Turner remains busy, and this week she headlines the independent comedy The Perfect Family, about a woman about to be named “Catholic of the Year” just as her household is coming apart.

We spent some time recently with Turner to talk about her favorite movies — a subject that proved to be both challenging and an entertaining glance back at her career. “I just don’t think that way, in terms of comparison and listing,” Turner said, considering the topic of her Five Favorite Films. Nonetheless, we soldiered on…

The Music Lovers (Ken Russell, 1970; 67% Tomatometer)

One of the reasons I did Crimes of Passion was because I saw The Music Lovers, Ken Russell’s film, with Richard Chamberlain. It was, and I still think it is, one of the most extraordinary films I have ever seen. Amazing. So when Ken came to talk to me about [Crimes], you know, I was thrilled. I got a wonderful note once from Isabella Rossellini and she told me that she did Blue Velvet because she saw Crimes of Passion. I thought that was a really nice compliment, because I think she’s quite wonderful. So that’s a movie.

I love Ken Russell’s sense of excess; he’s just fantastic.

Yeah. We talked a couple of months before he died. He wanted to shoot his version of Alice in Wonderland, and he wanted me for the Red Queen. But then, you know — he passed away.

It’s a shame, ’cause that would have been something.

It is a shame. I imagine it would have been something. Ken Russell’s [Alice] would be unique. But not anymore.

Shrek (Andrew Adamson, 2001; 89% Tomatometer)

Anyway, what else? I love animated films. I really do. I enjoy them tremendously. I loved the film Shrek. I thought it was great. I loved the animation, I loved the humor.

You’re of course synonymous with one of movies’ more famous animated characters, Jessica Rabbit.

Well Jessica, that was an extraordinary experiment, that film — putting together live film with animation. It was a wonderful job. Bob Zemeckis kept me informed all the way. He kept sending me the tapes of how the work was going and how they were doing it and all this stuff, when it got to the point where they were finally drawing in Jessica’s body — not her face, but her body — so that I could start to put in all the breath and everything so that you could see the movement in the body. And then when we worked up to the face, you know; that whole process, it was fantastic.

You also did the voice in Monster House

Yeah, but they cut the hell outta that. There was tons of stuff before she turned into the house, when she was the fat woman.

Still, I really liked that film. Did you and Bob ever talk about doing the sequel to Who Framed Roger Rabbit? I know the rumor has been floating around for years.

Oh it’s been floating around for ages. First of all, I don’t think anybody’s gonna do that. Technology — again, it was incredibly demanding and expensive, and they don’t need to do it the same way now.

It’d be too easy now. The magic was in the challenge…

Yeah. It was drawing 300 frames a minute, you know. I mean, my God.

The Accidental Tourist (Lawrence Kasdan, 1988; 79% Tomatometer)

Alright, I’ve got an animated, I’ve got The Music Lovers… there must be something in between.

[Laughs] Between Ken Russell and children’s animation? The first thing that sprang to mind — and maybe ’cause you did Serial Mom with him — would have to be John Waters.

[Laughs] Yes. John Waters would be that middle ground.

But I don’t want to pick them for you. Was there something you loved as a kid?

I never saw many movies growing up. I grew up overseas, in South America, until we moved to London when I was in high school; and then, it was mostly theater that I went to, but not film. Films honestly didn’t play a major part of my life until university, I guess; until I came back to the States — and then of course there was very little else. [Laughs] I’m sorry! It’s just not my strength here.

You’ve worked with some acclaimed filmmakers: Francis Coppola, John Huston, Robert Zemeckis, Lawrence Kasdan…

Well I would have to pick… even though I’m in it… I think one of my favorite films is The Accidental Tourist — because I thought Larry [Kasdan] did such an extraordinarily wonderful transcription of the book. I mean, he was incredibly faithful to Anne Tyler, and people had been trying for years to do some of her books, and she’d never allowed it. She’d never been satisfied with film scripts, and when Larry did Accidental Tourist she felt that he really did capture the essence of her book. And I think we did, too. So that’s one I truly loved.

You can include your own films, it’s okay.

[Laughs] It’s a really good film! I’m not sure it was ever as appreciated [as it should have been.] There we go, we’ve got three! I only need two more, huh?

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (David Fincher, 2011; 87% Tomatometer)

Uh! Come on, there must have been something!

What’s something you liked recently?

Oh actually, I liked The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I didn’t really expect to, and I really did. I thought it was really well done. I liked it much more than I thought I would. That sounds like faint praise, but my expectations were that — like most big American studio films — it would be watered down and essentially de-toothed, de-clawed, whatever.

I think Fincher likes to put the teeth back in.

Yeah. [Laughs] So we can put that in, as a recent one.

Auntie Mame (Morton DaCosta, 1958; 92% Tomatometer)

Let’s see, what else… [Long pause]

You’re in a film that I’d put in my favorites.

Which one?

The Virgin Suicides.

Ah! Well, again, Sofia [Coppola] did an amazing transcription of the book, and again, Jeffrey Eugenides had never allowed anyone to do it because he was never satisfied with the film script. Sofia did that one on spec, really — she had no guarantee.

It’s a very sad performance from you.

Thank you. You know, it’s a really terrifying film for me. I mean, Why? Why did these children decide that there was nothing to live for? My daughter was a teenager then, so it was very frightening for me to contemplate. [Pauses] Come on, start listing some films.

Classic films?

Oh — if we’re talking classic films, we’ll go with Rosalind Russell. I adore Rosalind Russell. I think I’d have to go with Auntie Mame. That’s actually a character I think I’d like to do one day. [Pauses] Phew!

Sorry to put you through all that.

[Laughs] I wish my brain worked that way! I wish I had lists in my head, but I don’t.

You did pretty well, under pressure.

Thank you!

The Perfect Family is in selected theaters this week.

Tag Cloud

TCA 2017 Elton John A&E Mary poppins Sundance Showtime cars DGA Comic Book cults technology travel Ghostbusters Rom-Com Binge Guide Stephen King Animation X-Men Nominations Toys richard e. Grant social media adaptation blockbuster 2019 Western Chernobyl Amazon Prime Sony Pictures Ellie Kemper Pet Sematary book Hulu cartoon Dark Horse Comics mockumentary Crackle Star Trek ratings YA Sundance Now Apple TV Plus unscripted SDCC Lionsgate Extras spinoff sitcom adventure Schedule PaleyFest festivals singing competition Summer foreign Fox News cops AMC teaser ghosts The Purge NBC Lucasfilm Amazon Prime Video thriller cinemax anthology doctor who BBC Tumblr Star Wars Valentine's Day Columbia Pictures elevated horror aliens Film Masterpiece Horror Epix crime WGN joker Nickelodeon Rock Pixar SXSW Infographic Emmy Nominations SundanceTV Watching Series jamie lee curtis strong female leads Awards based on movie Captain marvel nature FX game show video south america Red Carpet versus slashers medical drama Creative Arts Emmys Turner TNT spy thriller space President GLAAD Shondaland Marvel Studios Netflix LGBTQ Paramount Network Music dc OWN Super Bowl IFC YouTube Kids & Family Comics on TV 2017 children's TV USA Pirates dragons romantic comedy breaking bad GoT Film Festival Comedy See It Skip It biography theme song canceled TV shows Comedy Central anime USA Network dceu cancelled television DC Universe Oscars Reality Competition hispanic natural history witnail History IFC Films Rocketman comic Mary Poppins Returns politics tv talk 2018 Apple supernatural Musical romance VH1 Trivia Writers Guild of America Grammys historical drama TV renewals GIFs comiccon Disney streaming service Lifetime TV Land Musicals Tomatazos war WarnerMedia zombies Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt talk show Food Network Box Office dramedy Best and Worst movies Winter TV miniseries finale MCU justice league DC Comics independent what to watch The Arrangement Starz werewolf diversity Disney Shudder Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Esquire Crunchyroll crime drama Mindy Kaling Classic Film stand-up comedy Thanksgiving CW Seed El Rey harry potter APB NYCC E3 Election ESPN BET Marvel Television CBS BBC America spain Christmas Mystery sequel facebook revenge Superheroe zero dark thirty Trailer CNN National Geographic ABC true crime Television Academy 71st Emmy Awards Cartoon Network Countdown FOX toy story zombie blaxploitation VICE TIFF Heroines award winner First Look golden globes 21st Century Fox Mary Tyler Moore Walt Disney Pictures sports TLC Drama psycho Biopics 20th Century Fox Cannes HBO green book TV Fantasy Spring TV Set visit Pride Month Universal ABC Family Amazon cancelled TV series binge Holidays RT History The Witch Marvel DC streaming service hist 24 frames science fiction Polls and Games ITV Tarantino TBS Black Mirror streaming cancelled A24 San Diego Comic-Con mutant Brie Larson Peacock Spectrum Originals Marathons Disney Channel Turner Classic Movies vampires Teen American Society of Cinematographers quibi psychological thriller YouTube Premium CBS All Access Podcast composers Character Guide Sneak Peek police drama 2015 The Walking Dead Martial Arts Song of Ice and Fire First Reviews transformers disaster Rocky canceled series Calendar serial killer Family LGBT HBO Max period drama Pop Certified Fresh Anna Paquin E! batman Freeform PBS Nat Geo YouTube Red cooking Year in Review MTV 007 political drama casting Cosplay Paramount free movies Quiz Adult Swim Interview Reality Ovation cats latino CMT Awards Tour Apple TV+ TruTV robots Trophy Talk The CW Disney Plus RT21 Action TCA Women's History Month Acorn TV Winners discovery animated crime thriller renewed TV shows Spike Photos Opinion TCM Superheroes kids Vudu Video Games Bravo FXX DirecTV halloween Britbox game of thrones cancelled TV shows television spanish language Fall TV MSNBC docudrama 2016 Sci-Fi New York Comic Con Emmys spider-man Premiere Dates Arrowverse Warner Bros. Logo Country boxoffice Syfy indie crossover Mudbound 45