With Warshawski, she says, ''we made a choice of not explaining this character very much. You go in and you don't have to learn all this woman's motivations. You're just meeting her in the middle of the story and saying, 'Go!''' That approach suits Turner fine. ''I'm not interested in solving all the mysteries of life, you know?''
In the end, Warshawski may be the closest thing she's done to a self-portrait, because it's her most practical character yet. ''I come back to that word, but it's a marvelous quality,'' she says. ''What can I do about this? Fine. If I can do things, I will; if not, I'm done. Don't agonize, don't waste everybody's time. Just do what you've got to do and move on.''
Most actors are discreet to the point of tedium when commenting on their colleagues. Not Kathleen Turner. We asked her to free-associate about these Hollywood names and institutions, and she said, "You want to see my primal thoughts? Okay!"
Lawrence Kasdan (director, Body Heat, Accidental Tourist): ''I find his sense of humor is rather low, but he thinks I'm stuffy.''
Jack Nicholson (costar, Prizzi's Honor): ''There's this thing when you're the new girl in town in L.A., right? And they all have to take you out for dinner and make sure they get a shot at you. I'm an old-fashioned Midwestern girl, so this doesn't work well for me. Once we got that straight we were friends.''
Michael Douglas (producer/costar, Romancing the Stone, Jewel of the Nile; costar, The War of the Roses): ''Oh, I give him respect and credibility, of course. And he gives me a devil-may-care, laissez-faire attitude.'' (Twentieth Century Fox filed a $25 million lawsuit when she tried to back out of the Romancing sequel, which would have been inconvenient for producer Douglas; asked if he'd like to work with her again, he replies, ''Always.'')
Danny De Vito (costar, Romancing, Jewel; costar/director, Roses): ''He provides a sickness, the tastelessness, that dark underside. It's like being groped all day long being somewhat short, he gets to casually drape his arm around parts of your anatomy that no one usually would.''
Francis Ford Coppola (director, Peggy Sue Got Married): ''I'm really about the only lead woman he's worked with. He's shy, but we worked out well. I said, 'You give me a martini at the end of the day and everything will be fine.'''
Robert Zemeckis (director, Romancing, Roger Rabbit): ''I remember terrible arguments doing Romancing. He's a film-school grad, fascinated by cameras and effects. I never felt that he knew what I was having to do to adjust my acting to some of his damn cameras sometimes he puts you in ridiculous postures. I'd say, 'This is not helping me! This is not the way I like to work, thank you!'''
Steve Martin (costar, The Man With Two Brains): ''Steve just wasn't somebody you want to grab a beer with after work. I don't know why he's so contained, but when the camera's rolling, he's a genius.''
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (which has ignored most of Turner's work): ''I would encourage more young people to join, because the average age now is over 60. Not to sound sour grapes, but I think there is a lot of politics involved. They like a classic with the hottest young actors who can barely speak English. Oooh, didn't I sound like an old lady then?''