And finally, in music, sports and entertainment today there are celebrities and then icons – the ones to be known with just one name. That’s why a new documentary on HBO is simply called “Tina” “
MARTIN: Right In a new documentary, Tina Turner, with the help of a few friends and an amazing collection of archival footage, tells the full story of her remarkable life – her early beginnings, tumultuous, often abusive relationships, her rise to fame, and then a more balanced greater ascent to become one of the largest stars on the planet
We are now joined by the Oscar-winning documentary directors Dan Lindsay and TJ Martin Dan and TJ, Welcome Thank you for coming to us
MARTIN: So I’m not sure who would like to answer that because there is always an interesting story about how such a project comes together. But why did you want to tell this story? I mean, she wrote a memoir herself There is a musical that debuted in 2019 based on her life Why did you want to tell this story this way?
LINDSAY: Well, that’s Dan. And the idea for this came from our producers Simon Chinn and Jonathan Chinn. And they talked to Tina about the idea of doing it, and she agreed. And then we were approached to do it And we were a bit hesitant to be honest at first We had some concerns about two men telling Tina’s story And as much as we knew the broad lines of her past, we didn’t really know in detail And I think when we met Tina and the complicated one Relationship that she has with her own story, recognized and discovered early on, was really what gave us our point of view and somehow inspired us in the way we wanted to make the film
MARTIN: Yeah I mean the only thing I want to add is that the pain of her past was just so present. And we knew there was sensitivity to talking to her about Ike but she brought the conversation up naturally in that direction And when she talked about it, she was very transparent to us about how complicated it is for her and how much – if she talks too much about Ike, he comes back to her in dreams and it feels like the abuse would have happened yesterday And so it was for us – it was a revelation It really shouldn’t have been a revelation But this notion that even at 80, she’s still processing her trauma, you know, and that’s just something we do couldn’t shake off
MARTIN: Let’s just talk about that – because we have to get to the pain parts I’m sorry Sorry we’re doing that But I don’t want to slip past your megawatts
MARTIN: Your skills like what is it? I mean, here she is you know it’s hard to believe that this is a person who at some point was almost knocked off their label, and for the most racist reasons most racist, sexist, ageist names ever and yet grabs them as a big one Star in her late 40’s and 50’s stages around the world What is it as a performer? What do you think – what are your characteristics as a performer?
MARTIN: You know, I mean this is – I think we’re all still trying to figure this out, and if we could I would kind of bottle that energy and use it (laughter) for myself
MARTIN: I mean, that’s part of Tina’s magic, right? And, you know, we’re taking a very special POV with this film. And the only thing we don’t rely on that much is her ability as a performer and as a singer. As she says herself, it was a gift. She sang in the choir, but she never had a real vocal training the same goes for dance she never had a dance training and yet she is only here – as she will say, it’s only when the music is playing, it’s just – something goes without saying for her
MARTIN: You know, as much as I do – I don’t know. I don’t know how to make me feel because as much as I don’t want to talk about it, the fact is I don’t see you not talk about it can because so much of the story, both personally and in the media, revolves around her abusive ex-husband Ike Turner, who has since passed away.I mean, the story of Ike – I mean when it finally emerged – was one of those Sensation And I don’t know that I really understood the depth of it until I saw your film
But it also talks about how they really – I don’t know why people didn’t figure this out.It’s so traumatic that you don’t want to relive the trauma over and over, and I want to play a clip from the documentary In the Take shortly before we see Tina in a recorded interview. And if the journalist approaches Ike, she says, will we talk about him? And you can almost see her flinch, right?
Then we hear a small selection of the many, many personal questions she faced. And we hear from her at the end of the clip. With this setup, I’ll play that now
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON # 1: They raised a son of his, a son of another man and two of Ike’s children of other women. There were always other women on site. How was that for you?
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON # 5: And of course the book and movie contain your allegations about his bashing Tell me about it
TURNER: I’m over. It’s been 16 years since I haven’t been to Ike. And the movie and book take me back in time to something that was really terrible. My life is wonderful right now. I’m a now happy person and not preoccupied with unhappiness
MARTIN: They clearly had a point of view on putting this together this way so tell me what you think about it, and what do you think about it? Why do you think there was this obsession with what she went through? Maybe Dan, do you want to go first?
LINDSAY: I think there’s one – just an inherent contradiction or a paradox or a complication that we were interested in in the beginning, and it’s this idea that Tina’s story as a survivor is for people and for – especially others Survivors – Can Be Very Powerful, Right? But what I think we often don’t realize is – or maybe we assume that Tina herself is somehow superhuman because Tina has this seemingly strong and resilient force and I think we wanted to try to show in the film that she is like everyone else and that, as a survivor, she makes this choice to survive every day. And so this difficult paradox is that her story brings us immense value, but we also have to consider the other side that it is for her can always be traumatizing when asked to talk about sharing this
MARTIN: You interviewed a lot of people around you. And I’m not trying to judge because I wasn’t there. I still find it difficult to understand why no one helped her. Why should people see her covered in blood, with black eyes – you know he could have killed her And I don’t see why no one has ever shown up to help
LINDSAY: This is Dan again. I mean, we talked about this a lot with LeJeune, and we talked to Rhonda
LINDSAY: LeJeune was a backup dancer and an Ikette and Rhonda was Tina’s longtime confidante.She was tour manager for Ike and Tina, and then she also worked with Tina in her solo years and was one of the closest people for Tina and Rhonda was also a victim of abuse, and LeJeune was a witness of it
I think you can’t underestimate the power Ike had in all of these relationships. He was the way someone made money. He controlled all of the finances. He controlled every aspect of the performance. You know, I’m not going to try Pretend I know the answer completely, but I think it exists – it’s just extremely complicated
MARTIN: You said you had a point of view in putting this movie together. Did she have a point of view in helping you put this movie together? And if so, what was it?
MARTIN: This is T.J It wasn’t until we really got into the movie that we realized that the journey we were taking with Tina was that discovery, that she was actually trying to hang up the person of Tina, and whether she was familiar with it or not, we were we are certainly not aware of what is shown in the film is the premiere of the Broadway musical in which she is participating
And this is almost the end of the process for us, or at least the filming process. That was the first time – it was very evident that she was very keen on going to the musical, playing the red carpet, and attending this event And it was – a lot of it just came from this idea of, you know, me – she was deeply grateful for the worship and the homage to her But I think she’s tired I think she’s fed up with the telling of Tina too live and participate in it I think she is in a place in her life where she put six decades of her life on stage, and she gave a lot of herself and she really wants to sit back in her castle on Lake Zurich
MARTIN: And relax and I think she is definitely – first of all, she deserves it (Laughter) And I think that was very real – at least what you see in the movie is this – as she points out, this rhetoric how, how do you bow and how do you bow slowly? And I think we discovered that on the way
MARTIN: That was TJ Martin and Dan Lindsay, directors of the new documentary “Tina” It’s now on HBO TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay, thank you for joining us
TURNER: (singing) Oh, what’s love got to do with it? What is love besides a second hand emotion? What does love have to do with it? Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken? Oh transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR
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