Linda Gray says she has hardly thought about the famous nude scene while preparing for her role as Mrs Robinson in the West End version of The Graduate.
The actress who played Sue Ellen in Dallas, takes over from Anne Archer as the middle-aged seductress on October 1.
Gray is 60 tomorrow and co-stars with 24-year-old David Nicolle.
She told reporters: “It’s the role that’s the interesting thing. The nude scene isn’t an issue.”
Asked when she would first go nude, and if it would be at the dress rehearsal, she said: “I’ve no idea, I might practise in my room. I might jump out of the shower and drop the towel, I’ve no idea.
Joan Collins and Linda Gray go head to head in West End
Soap rivals Joan Collins and Linda Gray are going head to head again, 20 years after battling for ratings in Dynasty and Dallas.
Joan has confirmed her appearance in the West End comedy Moon Over Buffalo, just days after Linda was revealed as the latest Mrs Robinson in The Graduate.
Linda takes her bow in The Graduate at the Gielgud theatre on October 1, and Joan’s show opens at the Old Vic two weeks later.
Publicist Peter Leone told the Daily Express: “At the end of the day I think there is room for both productions, just like there was room for both Dallas and Dynasty on television.”
Linda Gray prepares for 1st nude scene
LONDON – Actress Linda Gray didn’t wait to be asked to play the middle-aged seductress Mrs. Robinson in the West End production of ”The Graduate.”
”Actually, I put out the word that I would like to be on the — I’m sure — huge list of women wanting to do this part,” the former ”Dallas” star said on Tuesday.
Gray takes over the role from Anne Archer on October 1. At 61 she will be the oldest woman to have played a part so far portrayed by Kathleen Turner, Jerry Hall and Amanda Donohoe during the play’s 18-month run.
”It’s always been a wonderful role for any woman. And at this time of our life when Hollywood disposes of women past a certain age… it’s the most delicious female role. She’s sexy, she’s funny, she’s irreverent, she’s quite interesting.”
Her London stage debut will also mark another first — her first nude scene.
She is understandably nervous about the brief moment when her towel will slip to the floor before the nervous Benjamin, played by 24-year-old David Nicolle, and a packed theater.
”I think everybody is fascinated by the nude scene. I don’t want to say I’m looking forward to it, because I don’t know yet how that first time will feel,” she said during a break in rehearsals.
”But it’s not an issue. It’s like the smoking. I don’t smoke, but I think its a very integral part of who Mrs. Robinson is.
”Everyone I’ve spoken to about the production says it has been handled very tastefully and in a very lovely way, so that would be the only way that I would do it.
She said it was the role, rather than the nudity, that drew her to the part.
”I think (Hollywood) is rather youth-obsessed and that’s the beauty of a role like Mrs. Robinson. There’s a wonderful maturity that comes, and you have the life experience to delve into a role like this.”
Gray has yet to see the current London production, which has taken over 8.5 million pounds, but she has had a connection with the original 1967 Hollywood film since her early days as a model.
In a neat twist of fate, it is her stockinged leg which dangles across the movie’s famous poster.
”When you are modeling you do literally bits and pieces. So for me now to be the whole body, instead of a bit, is very exciting,” she said.
Gray is best known from her 11 years as the heavy-drinking Sue Ellen in the television serial ”Dallas,” leaving the Texan oil drama in 1989 before it finally ended in 1991. ”I know everyone will probably compare (Mrs. Robinson) to a very strange Sue Ellen, maybe they were related somehow,” she said.
Larry Hagman, who played her oil tycoon husband ”JR,” remains one of her best friends and plans to fly to London to see her in the production, she said.
Unlike many other elder actresses she says has kept clear of one way to avoid the aging process — cosmetic surgery.
”I am the original item. It’s been one of those things that has frightened me. I have seen some very unsuccessful things that make people look unnatural. I’m not saying I’d never do anything, but I like the natural look.”
After the show’s run Gray will work on another first — directing a feature film in Europe. She said financing was still being arranged and hoped to have more news on the project in the coming weeks.
Gray said she wasn’t sure if she would get a chance to practice the nude scene in a dress rehearsal or whether it really would be a first on the first night.
”I might practice in my room, I might jump out of the shower, drop the towel.. I have no idea. I am now worrying about my lines, getting rapport between the two of us, wardrobe, hair, all that stuff.
”The nude scene, it will be what it is, it’s not a focus — except for you,” she joked with reporters.