Mad Max Thunderdome - Tina Turner - Shooting on Location 1985 9

By Ben – Tina Turner is known throughout the world, blog’s stats can attest that there’s not a single country in the world that doesn’t know her. To most people, she is seen as a bigger than life singer with an unparalleled career. But despite her massive success and what one could perceive as an incredible achievement, Turner often stated that what really attracted her was acting. But not acting just for the sack of being on a big screen no, acting to impersonate a (strong) character, to entertain audience in action, adventure movies. Offers came but not one that would fit Tina’s own vision of a movie star. Who can say no Spielberg? Turner did. Hooker parts? Keep them for yourself! Tina wants to be Grace Jones in Conan the Destroyer, a charismatic villain…

The first footage of Tina Turner on a theater screen goes back to 1970 and her incendiary performance of Otis Redding’s ‘I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” filmed during the Rolling Stones legendary documentary “Gimme Shelter”. However her first appearance as a character would arrive five years later and what other part than a Queen…

1975Bowie was first choice but, a few years before contributing to Tina Turner’s musical come back, he could also be thanks for giving her, her first big screen debut in The Who’s “Tommy” featuring Ann Margret, Elton John, Jack Nicholson… The part of The Acid Queen gave a new audience to Tina and Tommy is regarded today as a cult movie by an entire generation. Those who’ve seen the movie at young age, like me, still probably remember the very strong effects it procure.

Ten years later, 1985, Tina Turner is in the middle of the most sensational come back in music industry thanks to an Australian manager but thanks to an other Australian, film director George Miller, Tina will receive the chance of a lifetime. Her chance to show the world her acting skills while playing a major part as a villain alongside Mel Gibson in “Mad Max III Beyond Thunderdome”. A great part and performance for Tina, a new major hit with “We Don’t Need Another Hero” (T.Britten) and a Grammy Awards for “One of The Living” (Holly Knight).

Another 10 years later, this is 1995 and Tina added another feather in her cap singing the title track for James Bond’s comeback movie “Goldeneye”. Penned by U2’s Bono and the The Edge, it was a major hit mostly in European countries. Consequently, the new Wildest Dreams album and gigantic World Tour that followed until 1997. The song often tops the “Bond Soundtrack Top 10 songs” among the great Bond Hits like Bassey’s “Goldfinger” or Adele’s “Skyfall”.

2005 A decade after Bond , Tina Turner is supposed to appear in the latest Merchant/Ivory production “The Goddess” portraying Goddess Kali. Another Queen part, an indian one, songs in Latin and Sanskrit, everything seems to be perfect for Tina. An exiting project for the singer and her fans, and a close link to her spiritual side and beliefs in reincarnation. Unfortunately the project never saw the light of the day after the sudden death of the man behind the project, Ismael Merchant. Pieces of music were recorded by musician Zahir Hussain but never surfaced. This is something to hope for someday!

Tina Turner at Ismail merchant Memorial event (2005)  Copyright: NI Syndication  Picture: Michael Crabtree
Tina Turner at Ismail Merchant Memorial event (2005) / NI Syndication – Michael Crabtree

2015 – It seems like every 10 years since 1975 something comes around movie wise for Tina. Add to her main movie appearances mentioned above a singing part in the Beatles’s “Sergent Pepper Lonely Heart Club” and a cameo in Schwarzenegger’s “Last Action Hero” filmed in 1993 while Tina was visiting the set of her own biopic “What’s Love Got To Do With It”. Not to forget a few Disney collaborations for the soundtracks of “The Lion Ling II” and “Brother Bear”.

Nowadays, it is unlikely that we ever gonna see Tina Turner on a big screen again. With the upcoming releases of the new Mad Max “Fury Road” and 007 “Spectre”, fans fantasies of an era long time gone and an older and wiser Turner has replaced “Beyond Thunderdome” by “Beyond, Love Within”.

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