In Joan Collins Documentary, She Just Gets on With It

She left the business after she married Newley and she struggled to return to it. The documentary includes clips of a particular low point, the real estate investors vs. mutant insects B movie “The Empire of the Ants” (1977). How did she handle schlocky material? “You do the best you can,” she said. “You learn your lines, you hit your marks and you get on with it.”

Only rarely could she escape typecasting, but she shrugged that off, too, recounting a conversation she had with the actor John Gielgud, in which he told her that because she could never escape her physicality, she could never play an ugly woman. “That was true for a certain amount of years,” she said.

She believes that good looks can be a deterrent when it comes to quality roles: “Which the young actresses of today realize, which is why most of them try to look as ordinary as possible.”

In the late 1970s, she made a comeback with two soft-core films — “The Stud” and “The Bitch” — adapted from novels by her sister Jackie Collins. This exposure led to her most famous role, Alexis in Aaron Spelling’s nighttime soap “Dynasty.”

Despite well-publicized on-set struggles, and the producers’ petty reaction to her demands for equal pay, she remains proud of “Dynasty.” Much of the memorabilia hung throughout her apartment dates from that era. “It was glamorous,” she said. “It was about very, very rich people, most of them good looking.” She compared it to the current hit “Succession,” though she remarked that on “Succession” they wear shabbier clothes.

“Dynasty” ended more than three decades ago. Collins hasn’t had a great role since. She thinks she knows why. “Casting directors say, ‘Oh, no, we can’t use Joan Collins in this vixen, bitch part, because it’s too obvious.’ And ‘Oh, no, we can’t have her in this other role. She can only do vixen bitches.’”

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