TINA TURNER PASSED AWAY THIS WEEK, AND THERE WILL ALWAYS BE WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN
Tina Turner was pretty much amazing, in almost every way. An African-American woman who defied hurdles most of us can’t even fathom, whose very life itself is an inspiration to all, genders and race alike. For me, I slowly learned more about her after first loving her music from the early (perfect) MTV era. But I was still just a kid in 1985 when Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome came out, with Tina playing the Auntie Entity role to the hilt. At first, I thought it was weird to see her in the movie. And then I didn’t care, because she was great, in more ways than I could understand at the time.
TINA TURNER OWNED HER ROLE IN MAD MAX: BEYOND THUNDERDOME AND LEFT US WANTING MORE
Now, I understand that she did an amazing job. She was sexy without being a harlot, strong without being too intimidating, enterprising and a leader as a woman and being totally believable, and essentially a pseudo-bad guy who deserved empathy (even a little cheering). That’s what Tina Turner brought to the role. At 12 or 13, I walked out of the movie theater thinking how much fun the movie was, and specifically wondered what else I would end up seeing Tina Turner in. It turns out, nothing else. And while I never managed but always wanted to see her live in concert, I somehow forgot that unrequited expectation from so long ago.
TINA TURNER TURNED DOWN LEAD ROLE IN THE COLOR PURPLE, AND NEVER FOUND ANOTHER ROLE SHE WANTED
Now we all are learning if we didn’t already know, that Steven Spielberg offered Tina Turner the lead role in The Color Purple, though she turned it down. While Whoopie obviously did an amazing, award winning job, I can’t help but wonder what might have been. But Tina explained that the role ran far too close to where she had already been with her history with former husband, Ike Turner. She said, 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.” Spielberg eventually understood, and I can only nod now with sympathy as well.
But man, how different would things have been if she had been able to say yes? How many amazing roles would Tina Turner have brought her unique energy and passion to? We’ll never know. Though now I have to go back and watch Ken Russell’s 1975 film Tommy, where she played The Acid Queen. Tina, you will be sorely missed, but we’ll hear your voice forever more.