When it comes to the screen and stage, legendary actress Kathleen Turner has been the bad girl (1981’s “Body Heat”), the bad parent (1994’s “Serial Mom”), the bad wife (the Broadway version of the 1967 film, “The Graduate”) and the bad toon (she was the voice of Jessica Rabbit in 1988’s hit “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”). What she really loves to do, however, is teach.
So, along with filming Hulu series “The Path,” tonight, Turner will lead a discussion at the Philadelphia Theatre Company’s premiere of “Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins,” in which she starred in 2010.
The Golden Globe winner gives us a preview.
Do you want to tackle new works like Red Hot Patriot over modern classics?
I very much want to be at that forefront. I’m in the middle of my own transition. I was going to take a supporting role in an off-Broadway show this season [“Would You Still Love Me If…”] when it turned out the director wasn’t quite up to the task. Someone behind the scenes said they would have to cancel the production if I didn’t take up the reins and direct — so I did. I prefer to direct when I’m not in a show, but I loved the process, and I’m ready to do more.
Do you think subscription television networks like Netflix, HBO or Hulu is where it’s at for actors?
I don’t want to generalize. I did just do this outrageous character in a show called “The Path.” I had a ball. I play Hugh Dancy’s mother and he plays the successor to this new religion echoing Scientology. He depends on his mother, who is, well, I walked onto the set and my “room” was filled with liquor bottles and overflowing ashtrays and all I could think was “subtle.” I much prefer the stage, but there is fun that you can have with a camera that you can’t do in the theatre. Plus, there’s some great lighting going on in television presently.
Madeleine Albright was stumping for Hillary Clinton and said there is a special place in hell for women who don’t support women. What say you?
Yeah, her and Gloria Steinem. I tell you what it is: We feel hurt. Women over 40 are hurt that younger women neither respect nor appreciate what they have done to get women where they are now. Our work is taken for granted, while all the risks are still there.
Let’s talk Philly. You built a real relationship with PTC with the Molly Ivins play.
We got real support and space to explore and build that show there. It is a lovely house. And Philadelphia as a theater town? There is a lot of stuff going on, like the historic Walnut Street Theatre. I like the city a lot. I’m not giving up on Manhattan, but I enjoy your city — you’re hot.
What would you like students to embrace during your master class?
I don’t like to preach or lay down my theories like law, as if they are the rules of the universe. What I like to do is open it up to questions. People say or think a thing and that leads me to ideas and stories and plots and ways in which to operate an actor. Then I can make people laugh. Then I can teach. I want to tell people to be brave — ask away — and if I don’t want to answer you, I won’t.