Kathleen Turner Says Burt Reynolds' Sexist Comment Started 30-Year Feud
The former co-stars traded barbs for decades.
Burt Reynolds and Kathleen Turner were two of the biggest movie stars of the '80s, but it seems that that's about all they had in common. The actors did not get along when they were cast opposite each other in the 1988 romantic comedy Switching Channels, and the animosity between them apparently did not fade away. Turner and Reynolds were in a feud that spanned more than 30 years, with both stars still trashing each other decades after they clashed on set. As for how the fight got started? Turner claimed that Reynolds made a sexist comment to her at the beginning of filming that set the tone for their working relationship. Read on to find out what the late Deliverance star reportedly said to his onscreen love interest, and how their feud continued to play out publicly even after Reynolds died in 2018.
They co-starred in a His Girl Friday remake.
Switching Channels is based on the 1928 play The Front Page, which was also adapted into a 1931 movie of the same name and 1940's His Girl Friday. Reynolds played the news director of a Chicago news station, while Turner played his ex-wife Christy, who still works for the station as a reporter. When Christy returns from a vacation announcing her plans to leave her job and marry her new boyfriend Blaine (Christopher Reeve), her ex-husband concocts a series of schemes to prevent it. Switching Channels got mixed reviews and was not a box office hit.
Reynolds was cast at the last minute.
The role played by Reynolds was originally supposed to go to Michael Caine. In fact, the English actor was on board and had even done some rehearsals with Turner but had a scheduling conflict. Filming on his prior movie, Jaws: The Revenge, went long (due to technical shark difficulties, of course), and they couldn't push filming for Switching Channels back because Turner was pregnant. Reynolds was brought in as Caine's last-minute replacement, to his co-star's disappointment.
"I was supposed to do the film with Michael Caine. Good choice, right?" Turner said on a 2019 episode of Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen. "Well, Michael Caine got caught on Jaws 4, the shark kept breaking down, and so I was pregnant and I had a stop date, but he did not. So we shot everything we could without him, and then finally the producer went and hired Burt Whatshisface."
She claimed that he made a sexist remark towards her.
In a 2018 interview with Vulture, Turner shed some more light on why she and Reynolds were so at odds when they worked together.
"Working with Burt Reynolds was terrible," the now-69-year-old said. "The first day Burt came in he made me cry. He said something about not taking second place to a woman. His behavior was shocking. It never occurred to me that I wasn't someone's equal. I left the room sobbing. I called my husband and said, 'I don't know what to do.' He said, 'You just do the job.' It got to be very hostile because the crew began taking sides. But as for the performance, I was able to put the negativity aside. I'm not convinced Burt was."
Reynolds disparaged Turner's acting.
In his own appearance on WWHL in 2018, Reynolds slammed Turner during a game of "Plead the Fifth." When host Andy Cohen asked him, "Who was the most overrated actor in the '70s and '80s?" Reynolds replied, "Kathleen Turner."
She called him her worst onscreen kiss.
Reynolds died later in 2018, but that didn't make Turner more inclined to look back on their collaboration fondly. Cohen reminded her on WWHL in November 2019 that she had previously named Body Heat co-star William Hurt as her favorite onscreen kiss. Asked who her worst onscreen kiss was, Turner responded, "Oh, that'd have to be Burt Reynolds," adding, "He sucked."
Reeve also regretted the movie.
In his 1998 autobiography Still Me, Reeve wrote that he was also hoping to work with Caine on Switching Channels and that the Alfie star's involvement was one of his main reasons for taking the part. While he didn't express the same dislike of Reynolds that Turner has, the late Superman actor did say that he felt during filming that he was "making a fool of [him]self" with the goofy role.
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