Matthew Rhys is looking back on a painful moment from more than 20 years ago.
The “Americans” actor recalled starring opposite Kathleen Turner in a stage performance of “The Graduate.” Turner played Mrs. Robinson while Rhys was cast as Ben Braddock, the future son-in-law she seduces. The play was based on the 1967 Mike Nichols film of the same name.
During the 2000 stage performance, an unauthorized photo of Turner appearing nude onstage leaked to the press.
“I think about that moment so often,” Rhys told U.K.’s The Times of not intervening when the flash went off in the audience. Rhys instead looked to co-star Turner to stop the live show.
“We locked eyes for a second, and because she was such a force and spoke her mind very freely and was very direct and straightforward, I thought, ‘If anyone in this world could stop this production, it would be Kathleen Turner.’ And she didn’t,” Rhys continued.
He added, “In retrospect, that was my responsibility in that moment to stop and go, ‘Hang on, that’s not OK.’ Because the next day, in the tabloids, there was a picture of her naked. She wasn’t happy about it, to put it mildly. And as she was a guest in the ‘Sceptred Isle,’ I was like, ‘Oh, I let her down.'”
Kathleen Turner next stars in HBO’s “White House Plumbers,” though her 1980s heyday as a screen siren is getting renewed attention thanks to Criterion Channel, which currently features films like “Body Heat” and “Crimes of Passion.”
Meanwhile, in the Times interview, Rhys further reflected on the “very intimidating” audition he botched to play James Bond in “Casino Royale” before Daniel Craig was cast. During the casting process, Rhys was asked what he would change about the 007 character.
“I just remember going, ‘Ah.’ I was so not anticipating that question,” Rhys said. “And then I was like, is it a trick question? Are they waiting for people to go, ‘I wouldn’t do anything. He’s perfect?’”
He joked at the time, “I’d give him a limp. I said, ‘Limp?’ Nothing. ‘Eye patch?’ Nothing.”
In retrospect, Rhys admitted he would have preferred the franchise go in a different direction.
“Oh, it’s been a bit one-note for a few decades, hasn’t it?” Rhys shared what he would have said at the time. “I think we can drop the misogynistic jokes.”