JOAN COLLINS INTERVIEW ‘Most Proud of being a survivor’

Interview with JOAN COLLINS, talking about her forthcoming role in THE CIRCLE. Syndicated from Birmingham Hippodrome

THE CIRCLE (Alan Melville) is at the Birmingham Hippodrome from 5 -10 April and tours.

Her career has spanned more than five decades, 55 films, 50 TV shows, nine plays, 10 books, three children and five husbands. She was superbitch Alexis Carrington Colby for eight years in the TV soap of the 80s, Dynasty; took most of her clothes off for Playboy at the age of 49 and received the OBE in 1997 for her contribution to the arts and to charity work.
Yet Joan Collins isn’t contemplating slowing down. Not for a nano-second.

Retire! Why should I want to do that? she exclaims. Indeed. At 70 she has just celebrated her second wedding anniversary with theatrical manager Percy Gibson. Next month she embarks on a 15-week, 15-venue tour of the romantic play Full Circle and her 11th book a fifth novel is published later this year.

Next year Joan wants to produce a film of a novel she and Percy have just bought the rights to and she says she has a germ of an idea for yet another novel.

Clad in a crimson leather suit and impossibly high heels with nails and lips painted a matching glossy red, Joan is clearly keen to be treading the boards again in Full Circle. Set in glamorous Paris of the 1950s, the comedy is at Birmingham Hippodrome from April 5 to 10.

I’m doing it because I consider myself to be a comedy actress, even though I am not known for it particularly, says Joan, whom for the record, looks about 50, doesn’t believe in Botox, and credits her youthful looks to positive attitude, good nutrition, exercise and love.

I had been looking for a play to do for a couple of years and this one found me via Duncan Weldon of Triumph Entertainment who took it to my agent. When I read it I thought this is fun, very entertaining. A little old-fashioned because it is set in the 50s but still a pleasure to watch.

Full Circle was written by well-known author and lyricist of the 1940s and 50s, Alan Melville. He adapted it from the French play Les Enfants d’Edouard. The plot centres on the sophisticated Denise Darvel who unexpectedly tells her children that each of them had a different father and she didn’t marry one of them a confession certain to outrage chic French society of the 1950s.

Denise Darvel is a lot like me she’s had three children whom she loves a great deal, but she’s never been married, unlike me – and of course she is a best-selling author, which I am too! quips Joan.

The tour is going to be tough but that’s what this business is all about. Friends who do a lot of touring tell me to expect exhaustion to set in after 10 or 11 weeks and of course it will be hard changing the hotel, changing the dressing room, changing the theatre every week, but I am so looking forward to doing it all.

I am used to working in the theatre. I came into the business to be a stage actress, not a film actress or a TV personality. I went to RADA at 16 and thought I would be like Vivien Leigh and eventually end up like Flora Robson. The most daunting aspect is keeping it fresh. It’s not like in television where you only have to do that for two takes or 10 takes or whatever it is.

She is not, she insists, a precious or demanding star. I don’t have any must-haves. I don’t want dressing rooms redecorated for me. I am not Beyonce. But I do like my dressing rooms to be homely so I shall have pictures of my family around and scented candles, plants, cushions and of course my makeup and that takes up a whole table, she laughs, spreading her arms wide to demonstrate.

I am going to love going to most of the places on this tour. It will be Joan’s first appearance at Birmingham Hippodrome and no doubt she will take a look at the new Bull Ring shopping development, just five minutes walk from the theatre.

She is already planning how she might fill in the hours on tour between performances. I don’t know yet but there is all day if there isn’t a matinee. I am considering writing a tour diary and we’re stocking up on DVDs of films for me to watch.

When I do a play, the whole day revolves around getting ready for curtain up. In the morning I read the papers, talk to people like my agent on the phone, gear myself up for a nap about 5 o’clock and then be at the theatre for 6.30. I don’t relax until after the show and then I like to go out for drinks with the rest of the cast.

And what’s her proudest career moment to date?

Of having kept a career going. I started at 16 and my father told me it would be over by the time I was 25. I am most proud of being a survivor.

2004-03-12 21:16:06

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