You Only Live Twice. From news broadcasting to the Hollywood film industry, a Bond girl role is just around the corner for Emmy-nominated reporter Stacey Turner …
Could Emmy-nominated reporter turned movie star, Stacey Turner, become the next seductive foil for 007 in the iconic forty-year-old film franchise James Bond? After landing a role in a film with Oscar-winning actress Sandra Bullock, an outing opposite Ian Flemming’s debonair Alpha-male of espionage cannot be far out of reach for a talented actress blessed with beauty and intelligence.
On Thursday 6 September 2012, in an exclusive interview with The Bridge Magazine, Stacey admits that acting had always been her true passion in life, and of how her manager, Doug, has made that dream come true:
“He told me they were always looking for real reporters to play the parts and said it might be a good way to get my foot in the door. Sometimes they need a character that can help the audience understand what’s going on and help move the story along. That’s me.”
Doug came up with the idea to pitch Stacey for the part on the basis of her broadcasting skills, although she already has four feature film and several television appearances on her CV, all of which involve her ‘acting out’ her real life profession at the TV reporter’s microphone.
During her career as a reporter, Stacey Turner interviewed presidential candidates, music superstars and other notable interviewees. Even after being nominated for an Emmy Award for her achievements as a broadcaster, she still felt something in her was unfulfilled.
The Emmy Award, often referred to simply as ‘the Emmy’, is a television production award, similar in nature to the Peabody Awards, but more focused on entertainment, and is considered the television equivalent to the Academy Awards (or ‘Oscars’) – for film – Grammy Awards – for music – and Tony Awards – for stage.
Stacey confesses that she always knew in her heart that she wanted to be an actress. However, the death of her brother marked the turning point: it was a decisive moment for her, and was made all the more pressing when the morning show she had worked for suddenly ended at around the same time.
The feisty Irish girl, also a former racing car driver, took these vicissitudes as signs that it was time for her to change her direction and pursue her true passion. As Stacey recalls:
“It was a little scary at first trying to figure out how to do something completely different, but I treated it like an assignment. How do you find an agent? Where do you get the pictures you need? What type of training does it take? As I started to do research it all started coming together.”
She worked as an extra on big budget films that were shooting in Atlanta, and landed a part in a regular comedy sketch show called FARK tv. But it would take four more years from the time her news job ended before she would start to get more substantial speaking roles:
“It’s always when you’re about to give up, that something happens. Within a few weeks, I auditioned for the TV show Army Wives and the feature film The Blindside and I booked both of them. I was so excited I couldn’t see straight.”
Getting those two jobs was all the push Stacey needed. She packed her bags and moved to LA to pursue her acting career fulltime. It was slow going at first, but eventually she acquired an agent through mutual friends and soon started auditioning for film roles:
“It was funny to go in and read. Casting directors would ask me how I do that and I was like, do what? They would say, sound like a reporter. That’s when it dawned on me how much of a stylized sound reporters and anchors have. A sort of cadence in the way they speak. I actually even got applause once in the room, which almost never happens. I was walking on air for the rest of the day.”
She won the role, and then a string of several more, including one in an upcoming film written and directed by Sophia Coppola, called The Bling Ring – a role she almost couldn’t take:
“When it comes to this business you almost always have to have a survival job until you make a name for yourself. Mine is working as a product specialist at auto shows which involves a bit of travel.”
Stacey was in New York when she got the call from Sophia wanting her to appear in her film. The shooting date was right in the middle of the New York auto show and was to take place in Los Angeles:
“I had to jump through a lot of hoops and I had a very understanding boss who let me have a day off but when Sophia Coppola is calling you can’t say no.”
With two films in post-production, and a television movie on the way, Stacey is excited about her future. She is confident hoping to turn these opportunities into even bigger roles in the future and to be the actress she has always dreamed of becoming.
But how far can Stacey go? How high can she aim? Does she have what it takes to be the next Bond girl? Looking at the many boxes that female movie stars need to tick in order to land the highly competitive ‘Bond girl’ role, the criteria is daunting:
1. Bond girls are not clingy or insecure. They are confident. They don’t chase men, men come to them.
2. They are always either slightly disinterested, or pretend to be, in order to intrigue the suave secret agent enough to pursue them.
3. They enhancing their features subtly with a liberal application of makeup so as not to look too ‘high-maintenance’, since a woman may appear ‘cheap’ if she draws attention to her physical assets too garishly.
4. Bond girls are sporty; there are ‘fit’.
5. Bond girls are brave; they show no fear in trying ‘something new’.
6. Bond girls are not arrogant.
7. They are not always ‘available’, and never come across as ‘desperate’ for male attention. They are not snobs either, but always find the balance between being ‘unavailable’ yet still tantalisingly ‘accessible’.
8. Bond girls are ‘sophisticates’: they ooze ‘class’ and restraint; and are ‘cultured’ and ‘educated’.
9. Bond girls always have their own ‘opinions’. They never ‘put all their eggs in one basket’.
10. Intelligence is a ‘must’ for Bond girls, and each is an expert at ‘something’ (other than simply effortlessly seducing men).
Bond girls are also aware of the world around them; no Rapunzels sat pining in ivory towers for gallant knights, but are well-traveled and independent-minded.
So much has been said about how to become a Bond girl over the decades. However, in more recent 007 films, they have come into their own and have frequently been represented as strong, clever and forthright women who can stand on their own in the world.
It looks as though the feisty Stacey Turner has the whole package wrapped up, possessing as she seems to the Triple X-factor: the beauty, the body and the brain. Follow the interview below to understand why Stacey is likely to land a 007 Bond girl role very soon.
1. If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?
This is tricky. Given my obsessive need for detail, I’d want to know more about the island first. Is there fresh water? Are their animals on the island? Will there be natural items that let me make a fire? Since I don’t know the answers, I’ll have to go with:
a) a pillow, because it is the single most important thing when it comes to a good night’s sleep for me;
b) a water filter, since we are 75% water and dehydration is a terrible way to go from what I’ve read; and
c) my iPod (with a solar battery re-charger of course). I’d like to think I could pass the time reading books and waiting for a plane that has Wi-Fi on board to fly over so I could send out a RESCUE ME! message).
2. If you could meet anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you say to them?
Steven Spielberg, and “Hire me”. Probably more than that, but I don’t have an edit button so that’s probably the first thing I would blurt out, followed by high praise of his amazing career.
3. Are you working on any current projects?
I just finished shooting a co-starring role on Bones. It will air in the season premier later this month on Fox.
4. How different is it to switch from being a journalist to being an actress? What do you feel are your biggest strengths and difficulties with being a former journalist entering the acting profession?
It was a bit of an adjustment. In the news business the News directors seem to have 20/20 hindsight on how your story should have gone that day. There is a great deal of stress to keep the ratings up. They want a lead story out of you every day. As an actress it is up to you what you are going to do each day to forward your career. You have to treat it like a small business. How can you get your name out there? How can you market yourself effectively? Where is the best place to train to become better? There is a lot of …figuring things out …on a daily basis. I think my natural curiosity helps tremendously. I like figuring things out. Digging for information is not new to me. It’s just an adjustment of what information to dig for. I think the difficulty is coming a bit later to the game. You have a career going and then decide to take a new path that others have been on for quite some time. You have to keep telling yourself we all have our own path at our own pace. If you make it a competition you’re doomed.
4. Who is your favourite actress?
It may just be Sandra Bullock. Partly because I had the chance to meet and work with her (she’s really cool) and partly because I like the path her career has taken. She doesn’t take herself so seriously that she won’t show up to accept a Razzie award weeks before receiving an Oscar. It’s a crazy business and she seems to keep a sense of humour about it all. I would love to work with Meryl Streep though. Seems like she would challenge you to rise to her level.
5. Did you come up against any struggles being a female working in both the broadcasting and acting industries?
TV news is a bit of a boys’ club. It teaches you to have a tough skin early on. It also teaches you that you have to show others how you want to be treated. It can cause some uncomfortable moments, but once you’ve established what you will and won’t take, it makes things go a little more smoothly. In acting it’s ten times what I just said. A 40 even 50+ male lead is often cast opposite a 20 something female. Really guys? How often do we see this in the real world when there isn’t millions of dollars involved? I love the fact that movies like Date Night and Bridesmaids are being made: funny women writing and starring in funny movies. It sends a strong message.
6. Is either acting or journalism a career path that you would recommend?
Acting, yes, without hesitation, if it is a passion and you can’t think of anything else that would make you just as happy. Journalism is more of a calling, I think. You have to be driven to find the truth and cover both sides of the story fairly and equally, something we don’t see as much as we should anymore. Starting pay for a journalist right out of school is only around 18 thousand dollars a year. Shocking isn’t it? A non-union actor would be lucky to make that. I’m not trying to be a wet blanket, those are just the facts. In both fields you have to love what you are doing more than you love having a new car or the latest high-tech gadget.
7. Do you have any advice for females entering the journalism or acting industry?
Know that the glass ceiling can be broken and then let nothing stop you
from trying to smash it to bits daily. Stick to your guns and your principles. Don’t let others tell you it can’t be done.
8. Do you have any similar insights that might guide someone who is thinking of changing their career path?
Do it. My father worked for the government for 30+ years and hated every minute of it. It was a source of daily complaining for him. I can still hear my mother telling him to quit and do what he wants. He never did. He loved building furniture and making picture frames and did it in his spare time, but never had the courage or belief in himself to turn it into his full time career. That really stuck with me. I stayed in the news business for just over 8 years. Near the end, I was miserable. I had always wanted to be an actress. When my brother died suddenly at a young age it was a real wake-up call that we don’t know how long we have on this big blue marble. Shouldn’t we be happy while we are here? One of my favourite quotes that drives me is “Do what you love and the money will come”.
9. Where do you feel that your passion for acting comes from?
I’m not really sure. I did a play in front of my church when I was really young and I can actually still remember some of the lines. I was terrified and so excited all at the same time. I went out in front of the crowd and did my part and when it was over, they applauded. I was hooked. Then there have always been signs along the way that I should be an actress, including my high school drama teacher telling me to audition for – and then casting me as – Lucy in Your a Good Man Charlie Brown. I had so much fun doing it but that crossed feeling of being terrified and exhilarated was still present. Even while I was a reporter I did a play. I guess I always knew I had it in me. It was just finally making the leap of faith.
10. What is your favourite job you have done so far?
It has to be working on The Blind Side. It was a smaller role, but it was my first role in a major motion picture. It was a two pages’ scene that got cut down to two lines in the film, but what a day on set! Everyone was so amazing. The director (John Lee Hancock, who also wrote the screenplay) even gave me a hug and told me I did a great job. When Sandra Bullock got her Oscar, I felt like I had just the tiniest part in helping her get there. Still love the film to this day.
11. It is believed intellectual women are not spontaneous when it comes to them stripping in front of a camera, making it difficult for them to break into more important roles on the big screen. Is that true or false?
I think intelligence and sexuality can certainly be intertwined, but I don’t think one affects the other when it comes to nude scenes. On screen, nudity, and a willingness to do it, is an individual decision each actress must face at some point in their career. Some of the top actresses of all time have never appeared nude and yet their work (and all the Oscars that go along with it) speaks for itself. I’ve also seen Oscar winners such as Halle Berry appears nude because they trusted the script and, more importantly, the director to make it tasteful and use it to drive the story forward. I don’t really think spontaneity comes into play. Most of the nude scenes you see have been talked about, decided on, choreographed and shot in a very deliberate way.
12- What worries you most?
Having enough time to accomplish my goals.
13-What is your favourite colour?
There’s a particular shade of blue to which I’m drawn. Don’t know what it’s called. Just know it when I see it.
14-What is your lucky number?
I used to think it was 16. Not really sure anymore since no number has shown itself to me as consistently lucky.
15-What is your favourite sport?
I think it might be Le Mans racing. I used to do a bit of racing myself (SCCA Solo II.) Although I do like the extreme sports (X games) because they continually amaze me by doing things I can even imagine doing without wires and a stunt crew.
Stacey Turner, many thanks for taking time to talk to The Bridge Magazine.