Why Tina Turner turned down Steven Spielberg and only made three films….


With the passing of the late Tina Turner at 83 years old attention has turned why she only appeared in three films when it has been long established that hugely popular singers have gone into film starting with Elvis. The three films she made were Tommy (The Who’s rock opera) , Mad Max beyond Thunderdome and a small role in Last Action Hero and turned down a lead role in Steven Spielberg’s ‘The Color Purple’, a role that went to Whoopi Goldberg who earned an Oscar nomination for her performance.

The reason for her turning down The Color Purple role was according to a magazine interview she gave,  was “too much back on my life with my ex-husband,” Ike Turner. She continued, ‘I’m just dragging myself down. I’m trying to forget the past because it’s done. It’s over. I finished that part of my life, and I’m not going to do a part that will remind me of what I’ve lived already,” she said at the time. “I think Steve understood that I couldn’t do it for that reason, finally, after I really expressed what it was.”

Today there are because the movies … you just need to be a good actress. But in the earlier ’60s and ’70s, were no parts for women, for Black women.” But the roles that did come in were predominately for parts as prostitutes

!975 saw her appear as The Acid Queen in Tommy – a role that she had to compete with David Bowie to get not knowing that the character was that of a sex worker who would lure her victims. The role only took her a week to film and she explained that,  “I took the part because I got the chance to be this mad woman and doing all these things, and when they gave me the needle, I went, ‘Oh, I’m promoting drugs!’” she said, laughing. “Then I said, ‘Oh, well, but this is acting,’ because when you’re acting, you’re just portraying the lives of anything or anyone.”

In later years she said, “I look back at Acid Queen now and I sort of flinch when I see how horrible it was. Still, people liked it and they remembered it. So I just didn’t take any part because nothing came in that was right until Mad Max “

And it’s Mad Max beyond Thunderdome that she is best remembered for and took the role because ‘It is the warrior woman parts that I want. I want physical parts. I want to drive the machines, to do the fighting. I want to be physical. I still need that excitement.”

But even then the scripts that came her way were as hard nosed hookers, “Really street, really hooker. No madwoman, no machines, nothing but just straight hooker. I didn’t want it. I didn’t want to just be on the screen just for the sake of being up there. I wanted to do something that people would remember me for. Something that I would enjoy and be proud of,” she explained.

So she turned down so many scripts taking only the role, her final one, as the Mayor in Arnie’s Last Action Hero

related feature: Behind the troubled scenes of Mad Max Fury Road……..

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