• Golden Globe Awards

Out of the Archives: Michael Douglas on Kathleen Turner

In 1984 Michael Douglas talked to the journalists of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association about Kathleen Turner, his costar in Romancing the Stone directed by Robert Zemeckis as well as in the sequel Jewel of the Nile (1985) and The War of the Roses (1989) directed by Danny DeVito.
“Kathleen was actually suggested by Joe Wizan, president of 20th Century Fox Studios, who had remembered her from The Man With Two Brains. Initially, we hadn’t thought of her, because from Body Heat with that kind of sensual quality, you don’t think of her as a vulnerable girl. But she wanted to do the part enough that was willing to do a test, and once the test was done you could see that she was a consummate actress and was right for the part. Then the other things they never tell you about is how cooperative someone is going to be when you’re on a tough location. And besides her expertise as an actress, I’m so grateful for her support on a very tough shoot. There’s a lot of leading actors and actresses who may not have put up with no toilets and no motor homes a few times.”
“I had really underestimated my role and there were many times when I would have preferred to be in a mental hospital or in a nuclear control room for a number of weeks. Because in a chase picture, every day is a different location, so the combination of weather and logistics was a lot of pressure. And the producing really has to take first place, so it affects the acting sometimes, for instance, if you’re running out of time, you’ll talk to the director and say, ‘Make sure we get the other people. Get Kathleen first,’ you generally have to relegate yourself to a diplomatic position.
“Chemistry’s a strange thing. The first time that Kathleen and I became aware of it was before we even started shooting our first movie, Romancing the Stone. We had to go and do some press photos for possible artwork, so we went in costume down the jungle to a waterfall and we did all these romantic kind of shots, and when the photographs came back, they were hot. There’s almost a brother/sister physical resemblance, her natural hair color is very close to mine and we complement each other. Then both of us have a theater background and training, so we know about picking up cues and understanding each other, then basically what happens is you get very protective of that relationship.”
“With War of the Roses, when we started talking about the actress, Danny DeVito was the director, but Jim Brooks was the producer, and I was just an actor for hire. We talked about many different people and, of course, Kathleen’s name was prevalent, but Danny and Jim were worried that people would think it was just another Romancing the Stone and Jewel of the Nile. For me, I thought that, because the movie was so strange and unique, audiences would feel more comfortable with the security of knowing the two of us before, they would be more forgiving.”
“On our last picture together War of the Roses, we both had to get over that first time that you look at the movie, when you just look at yourself, the second time you look at the other person and then the third time you relax and begin to see how the whole movie’s going together. So with Kathleen and I, the second time we saw the movie in New York, it was sweet, and afterwards at the same moment we both said ‘You are fantastic in this picture.’ And Kathleen had the best line, she said ‘With you Michael, we anticipate each other’ and that’s what we do. We know each other, so we have a sense of our rhythms and you can begin to anticipate the other person.”