News March 19, 2021

Foxtel to premiere new Tina Turner doco: ‘It wasn’t a good life’

Foxtel to premiere new Tina Turner doco: ‘It wasn’t a good life’
Pictured: Tina unveils herself at her home in Zurich / Source: Supplied

Foxtel will air the Tina Turner documentary film TINA express from the US next weekend.

The honest and sometimes bitter account features interviews with Turner at her lakeside home in Zurich, Switzerland, with never-before-seen footage, audiotapes and personal photos.

The doco was directed by Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin of the Oscar-winning Undefeated.

TINA – produced by Universal Pictures Content Group – premieres this Sunday, March 28 at 11.00am AEDT on the Movies Premiere channel and will also be available On Demand.

Those providing further insight include Angela Bassett, Oprah Winfrey, journalist Kurt Loder who co-authored I, Tina which inspired the feature film, playwright Katori Hall who scribed Tina – The Tina Turner Musical, and second husband and former record executive Erwin Bach.

“Look at what I’ve done in this lifetime with this body,” the singer said. “I’m a girl from the cotton field who pulled myself above what was not taught to me.”

But there’s a sad theme running through the early life of the woman born Anna Mae Bullock in Nutbush, Tennessee: “I had an abusive life, there’s no other way to tell the story. It’s a reality. It’s a truth. That’s what you’ve got, so you have to accept it.”

Her mother Zelma was physically abused by Anna Mae’s father Floyd Bullock, and they abandoned her as a child. Even when she reconciled with Zelma post-stardom, the mother was cold and unloving.

“Mum was not kind. When I became a star, of course back then she was happy because I bought her a house. I did all kinds of things for her, she was my mother. I was trying to make her comfortable because she didn’t have a husband, she was alone, but she still didn’t like me.”

Worse was to come when she became a singer with Ike Turner and married him in 1962.

Together they had climbed the charts with ‘A Fool in Love’, ‘River Deep – Mountain High’ and ‘Proud Mary’. But life behind the scenes was a nightmare. He beat her and mentally tortured her, and she tried to overdose in 1968 with sleeping pills

She finally plucked up the courage to divorce him in the mid-70s but faced nightmares and trauma counselling for years after. When Ike died of an overdose in 2007 she made her peace.

“For a long time I did hate Ike, I have to say that. But then, after he died, I really realised that he was an ill person. He did get me started and he was good to me in the beginning. So I have some good thoughts. Maybe it was a good thing that I met him – that, I don’t know.”

It took Australian born manager Roger Davies to save her from Las Vegas cabaret shows and turn her career around by making her relevant.

In 1983, at the age of forty-four, she recorded the album Private Dancer in two weeks.

It sold 12 million copies worldwide and the single ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It’ became her first and only number one hit on the Billboard 100 charts.

She became a superstar, played to 180,000 people in Brazil, starred in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome with Mel Gibson, performed with Mick Jagger at Live Aid, became the Australian Rugby League’s poster girl when it adopted her ‘Simply The Best’ as its anthem, and had a movie made about her life with Angela Bassett in the lead role.

At 81 she has suffered a stroke, cancer and had a kidney transplant in 2017 with Bach as the donor. She has not performed in over a decade.

She experienced a parent’s worst nightmare when she had to spread the ashes of her 59-year old son Craig in the Pacific Ocean after he killed himself in 2018.

In TINA she reveals she wants to spend the last of her years as a recluse.

“It wasn’t a good life. The good did not balance the bad.”

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