For someone who has every press clipping, talk show appearance, and magazine cover with her visage neatly archived in the basement of her London estate, Dame Joan Collins doesn’t consider herself a particularly nostalgic person.
“I don’t think I live in the past,” she recently told Vogue. “Although I do have a lot of fun anecdotes about it.”
In This Is Joan Collins, premiering this week on Turner Classic Movies, the British icon opens up like never before. Having already published six memoirs (with a seventh in the works), Collins is hardly a stranger to sharing the dishier details of her life. But while a number of production companies had approached her over the years about making a documentary, she had little interest in watching old costars sing her praises.
“I didn’t just want a bunch of talking heads saying, ‘I sure loved making that picture with Joanie in nineteen so-and-so,’” Collins says. “How dull would that be?”
I read that you also fought for a raise once your character was shown to boost the show’s popularity. How did it feel to go up against the network at a time when there wasn’t as much transparency around issues like pay equity in Hollywood?
Dynasty became one of the most popular series of all time and made the network billions—and I mean billions. You have no idea. And when I asked the network to put me closer in salary to John, they simply refused. When I kept asking why, they said, “Because he’s an actor, and you’re an actress. End of story.” You really had to fight to be heard in those days.
What do you hope viewers take away from This Is Joan Collins, be they longtime fans or people new to your story?
Well, I’m very, very pleased with the film and think it’s extremely entertaining, so I can only hope that others feel the same. It shows a side of me that I think much of the public could never visualize. I don’t think many people can picture me as a young pregnant woman dancing with my then-husband Anthony Newley or strolling with my children through Central Park. It’s not that I wanted to prove anything, but this felt like a chance to show people who the real Joan Collins is.
This Is Joan Collins premieres on TCM September 19.