Sunday 26 May 2019

Kathleen Turner felt 'objectified' by men after first big film role in Body Heat

The actress has spoken out about the femme fatale character.

By Lucy Mapstone

Hollywood star Kathleen Turner has said her sex symbol status prompted “certain actors” to compete against each other to “get” with her.

The American actress, 62, was catapulted into the spotlight after landing a lead role in 1981′s erotic thriller Body Heat.

The steamy role saw her star alongside William Hurt as the character Matty Tyler Walker, the wife of a wealthy businessman who has an affair with Hurt’s character.


While largely content with the role, Kathleen said she was less than thrilled with the way men began to treat her, which left her feeling “objectified”.

She told Radio Times: “Body Heat immediately made me a target for all kinds of men who wanted to prove something by attracting me, by controlling me, I guess.

“All these ridiculous ideas of me being a trophy.

“I’ve never lived in LA, but when I went out there, I would hear that certain actors had competitions to see who could get me.”


Of the unnamed actors’ attempts, Kathleen said that none managed to woo her.

She added: “I thought that was pretty stupid. It just made me feel so objectified that I had no desire to do anything with these people.”

Kathleen, who was nominated for an Oscar for her role in comedy drama Peggy Sue Got Married in 1986, said she does not think being a femme fatale is a sensible model for life, although she does think it can be fun to play alluring, manipulative women.

She said: “I don’t think it’s admirable. Ideally, a woman should be able to enjoy her attractiveness as she wishes without needing to weaponise it, uh?

“I don’t think femmes fatales were ever liberated or considered themselves to be liberated.


“At the heart of a femme fatale is the feeling that she is always controlled by men and she can only use sex to get back at them. There’s no strength in that.”

Kathleen said she thinks modern Hollywood is light on femme fatale-type stars, apart from Scarlett Johansson.

“She’s got something inherent,” Kathleen said.

“It doesn’t have to be obvious, it’s just part of that woman. I think she’s got it. Emma Stone has that power, too, in a new sort of way.”

Kathleen, who turned the spotlight on the traditional femme fatale character in a Radio 4 documentary, said she is keen to take her career to the next level.


She said: “I’m now starting on a new stage of my career … why not? I’m developing a musical. Isn’t that fun? I’d like to develop the musical in London, I really would.

“There are many people who I’m very impressed by here. It’s a campy, strange sort of thing.”

Asked if she will be singing on stage, she said: “Oh, am I gonna be singing!”

:: Read the full article in this week’s Radio Times.

Press Association

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