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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Interview With Kathleen Turner

Aired July 7, 2003 - 20:53   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Kathleen Turner has been turning heads for years with her performances on stage and screen. And she may be best known for roles as silver screen sirens. Remember "Body Heat"?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "BODY HEAT")

KATHLEEN TURNER, ACTRESS: You scared me. You shouldn't be here. He's upstairs.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I want you.

TURNER: I know. I know. I need you so badly. But it is too dangerous.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: But Turner's latest endeavor has nothing to do with the big screen. In fact, you won't even see her. She has co-created a weekly radio show called "American Dialogue." And it is something she says is very different.

And Kathleen Turner joins us now.

Welcome. Good to see you.

TURNER: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

ZAHN: I saw you wistfully looking at that picture of you in "Body Heat."

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: What were you thinking when you looked at that? It was quite a look.

TURNER: I was thinking, 21 years ago, is what I was thinking. Quite a while.

ZAHN: Were those the good old days?

TURNER: No. Actually, the days get better and better, I think, as the experience and the knowledge gains.

I want to tell you about this show, "American Dialogue." It came about that a friend and partner of mine, Charline Spektor, with whom I have worked for years recording books on tape and poetry and everything -- and then all the proceeds from that went to different charities, Planned Parenthood or Child Help or one of these. So she and I have been working together for some years recording.

And we were so frustrated in January and February, sitting around complaining our heads off that there was no discussion happening in this country, that there was nobody who is questioning, that there was only -- there this was silence, this conspiracy of silence.

ZAHN: I don't think you were watching the right network, Kathleen. We were asking those pointed questions.

TURNER: Oh, yes.

ZAHN: So the fact is, you have taken on this radio show.

TURNER: Yes.

ZAHN: And you see yourself as filling a void that you don't see in talk radio today.

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: Do you view yourself as a liberal?

TURNER: Yes, I am certainly a liberal. And I don't mind that...

ZAHN: And has that ever hurt you in your career?

TURNER: I don't see why it should. I don't think -- I would certainly choose my jobs depending on the character -- the actions of the character sometimes. I won't do anything that has to do with child abuse or women's abuse, that kind of thing.

But the point of the show is not -- is not to propose any kind of one outlook or one political platform. What we do is take an issue every week, like -- our first show was diplomacy, the failure of it before this war and the future now. And we had Senator George Mitchell interviewed, talked to us for 45, 50 minutes, educate us.

What we do is, we ask questions about topics like global viruses, like journalism from Walter Cronkite, like how the government works from Congressman Charles Rangel. We ask questions that we think people would like to ask, but don't have access to the people to ask them.

ZAHN: Well, we try to ask those questions every day here. Let me ask you this.

TURNER: I'm not in competition here.

ZAHN: Oh, good, good. I'm happy to hear that.

But, obviously, you have the luxury of having these programs go longer than the average television interview, which is four to five minutes. TURNER: Oh, absolutely. Yes.

ZAHN: As you have watched post 9/11 the kind of criticism sometimes that has been laid on people like Susan Sarandon, Janeane Garofalo...

TURNER: The celebrities.

ZAHN: Is that something that has concerned you?

TURNER: Well, obviously, I had to think about that, that that might reflect.

But what I'm doing is so different. I am not telling people what to think or what to do. In fact, I don't claim to be an expert in any way at all, though I have my own viewpoint at times. What I do is, I ask questions. So I'm not pontificating. I'm not promoting any one agenda, which I think is wrong, since I'm an actress.

ZAHN: Before I let you go, how are you feeling these days?

TURNER: I'm feeling pretty good.

ZAHN: Yes. The last time I talked to you, you were in a lot of pain.

(CROSSTALK)

TURNER: Yes, well, the rheumatoid arthritis has been a little difficult lately. And I was actually afraid I was going to have to have a foot operation. But, luckily, I have managed to avoid it.

ZAHN: Well, you ambled in here quite gracefully tonight.

TURNER: I did, didn't I?

(LAUGHTER)

ZAHN: And, once again, the radio show can be heard on National Public Radio and some college stations across the country.

TURNER: Yes.

ZAHN: Thanks for sharing your new gig with us this evening.

TURNER: Thanks, Paula.

ZAHN: And we'll look forward to seeing you back on the big screen as well.

TURNER: Thanks.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com


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