I fell in love with Joanne Whalley in the move Willow. I wanted her long wavy red locks and her ability ride horses, shoot bows and arrows and sword fight. And she got to kick and then kiss Val Kilmer on top of all that! How cool was she? I identified more strongly with her Warrior Princess qualities than I did with the traditional Disney Princesses. Guess I’ve always been a bit of tomboy.
I followed her career after Willow and cheered when I found out her and Val Kilmer married. However, when I saw that she was staring in the movie Scandal, I felt a bit disenchanted. I remember sitting in the orthodontist office reading People Magazine and seeing an article on her new movie. It upset me because I didn’t want to see her as so overtly sexual.
As a twelve year old who about to turn thirteen, I wanted her to be strong but innocent. To see her as sexy made me uncomfortable. This was back in 1989 before all actresses flaunted their stuff everywhere. And this was before the internet, so I had no idea there nude pictures of her out there before that. Her famous recreation of Christine Keeler’s nude photo genuinely shocked me.
Oddly, that moment made me more aware of the adult world and of sexuality in general than anything else had up to then in my short twelve years. I point to that moment as a loss of innocence for me. It transformed me from innocent girl dreamy-eyed girl to a teenager more than my birthday did that year.
When the movie Scandal came to video in 1990, I rented it from the video store. Though Rated R, my mother let me see it. I watched the video alone and enjoyed the movie. Whalley’s performance was good and the subject of the film not as shocking as perhaps as I’d first imagined.
Later Whalley stared Navy Seals. I was disappointed she didn’t play a larger part in the testosterone driven film, but overall it wasn’t a bad movie. I liked her in Shattered. Since then I haven’t seen her in much, though she continues to act. I saw commercials for her in the mini-series Scarlet, but I never saw the mini-series itself. I did, however, see her in the Showtime series The Borgias. She played Vanozza Cattaneo, a courtesan and the mother of Rodrigo Borgia’s children.
As an adult and fan of Veronica Franco, I enjoyed Joanne Whalley as a courtesan. Honestly, despite the implications of her profession, the series didn’t focus much on her sexual adventures. She plays a wanton woman who has become the matron of a powerful family. This role is perhaps a reflection of the now older Whalley who is the mother of two herself.
Despite divorcing Val Kilmer 1995, the two acted together in Francis Ford Coppola’s 2011 horror movie Twixt. I am sure the two keep in contact since they have two children together, but seeing the two of them working together after all these years surprised me. In any case, her ex-husband Val Kilmer deserves his own blog….I find him intriguing as well. If their son and daughter end up becoming actors though, I wouldn’t be surprised at that.
PS Guess Jack Kilmer did star in the movie Palo Alto in 2013!