“I don’t know if anybody in this room has unexpectedly fallen in love with someone, and had a relationship with someone that you never would have imagined,” said Annette Bening, addressing industry and press in New York City on November 14. That’s the premise of her new film “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool,” which tells the true story of legendary actress Gloria Grahame, who fell in love with a much younger man, Peter Turner (played by Jamie Bell) in the last years of her life. Watch above to see her and Bell discuss their on-screen romance about the unconventional off-screen romance.
“I do think she probably had this amazing energy about her,” said Bell about what attracted Turner to Grahame. “There was something about her that he had never seen before. There was something eccentric, but also wise … I think Peter is a lover first and foremost, and I don’t think she had many men like Peter in her life before.”
Grahame had been married four times and had four children before she met Turner, and she won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for “The Bad and the Beautiful” (1952). That kind of biographical information was easy enough for Bening to find, “but what was going on inside of her was really pretty much of a mystery,” she explained. “She didn’t give a lot of interviews,” so it helped to have the real-life Turner, who wrote the book the film is based on, involved in the production — he even has a cameo in the film. He aimed to capture some of her inner life in his memoir, and now Bening aims to do it on-screen.
Follow the links below for more insights into the film.
Bening on Grahame’s turbulent life and career: “She was either the bad girl or the good girl … Those days, if I may be so general, female characters were sort of more black-and-white that way. I was struck by watching her how many times in these films, when she was the femme fatale, how many times she got slapped and beat up.”
Bell on making producer Barbara Broccoli cry: “I did a reading with Annette, and Barbara was present, and Paul McGuigan our director. We just did a couple of scenes, and I looked up and Barbara was weeping. In my brain I was like, I didn’t think it was that bad, and that’s when she told me she knew Peter.”
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