It was the moist T-shirt seen around the world — the poster for 1977’s “The Deep” that made Jacqueline Bisset the supply of many a fantasy.
A much less proficient actress would see her profession dry up sooner than that T-shirt. However Bisset’s magnificence, humor and savvy have stored her on-screen ever since.
Now, lithe and wonderful at 74, she’s featured in “Right here and Now,” out Friday. Sarah Jessica Parker stars as a singer going through a lethal prognosis, however Bisset steals each scene she’s in as Parker’s brittle, self-absorbed mom. The character occurs to be French, however Bisset (rhymes with “kiss it”) shouldn’t be.
She was born Winifred Jacqueline Fraser Bisset in Surrey, England, the daughter of a physician dad and a mom who, earlier than marrying, was a lawyer — elements she believes saved her from lots #MeToo moments.
“I at all times thought Hollywood a harmful place, particularly in the event you’re very bold,” Bisset tells The Submit. “It had been drummed into me in childhood: ‘Hold your self-respect.’ ”
Apart from, she provides, talking quietly in a room at Central Park South’s Essex Home, her blue eyes hidden behind classic sun shades, “I believe some folks had been a bit intimidated by me, as a result of I used to be very British.”
However, in the course of the 40 or so years she’s lived in California, she armed herself with “a number of swear phrases” and froze out anybody who appeared sleazy. At any time when she had an appointment with somebody she wasn’t certain about, she took a buddy.
She additionally discovered to not imagine all the pieces she heard, a lesson that began with Frank Sinatra and 1968’s “The Detective.” Mia Farrow, who was Mrs. Sinatra on the time, was imagined to play alongside him, however her “Rosemary’s Child” shoot ran time beyond regulation. Bisset, employed to switch her, was instructed that Sinatra tended to be tough and demanding.
She says she discovered somebody fairly completely different.
“With me, he was charming and really protecting,” she says. “He referred to as me ‘the child,’ and when the author bought a bit nasty with me, he mentioned, ‘Go away the child alone. She has good instincts!’ ”
After the movie wrapped, Sinatra gave her a leather-bound copy of the script. Overwhelmed, she burst into tears.
“Everybody mentioned, ‘Oh, what’s he finished? What’s he mentioned to you?’ ” she remembers. “They had been all gossiping, projecting, however I couldn’t cease crying as a result of he couldn’t have been nicer!”
Maybe, had Sinatra filmed “The Deep” together with her as an alternative of Nick Nolte, Bisset may need been spared the indignity of inadvertently changing into the poster woman for moist T-shirts. Who’d ever scuba dive in one?
“Oh, please,” she murmurs, shaking her head. “Anyone mentioned to me, ‘That is what they put on.’ I had no sense of what I appeared like in any respect.” When she lastly did see herself in all her splendor, she says, “I believed I used to be going to die!”
Fortunately, she didn’t, although she got here awfully near a big and ferocious fish when “The Deep” shot in the water off the British Virgin Islands.
“I used to be feeding this little blowfish shrimp or one thing and it bought its tooth into my glove,” she remembers. “I used to be shaking it, attempting to get it off, after which a barracuda got here zooming by way of, took the fish and went!”
She cherishes fairly a number of roles, together with the author she performed in “Wealthy and Well-known” and the sophisticated, Jill-of-all trades of “The Sleepy Time Gal.” After which there are a number of she’s nonetheless undecided of, just like the MILF of 1983’s “Class” who seduces an adolescent Andrew McCarthy.
“He was so younger!” she says. “I felt uncomfortable after they first solid him, however he’s a really vivid boy.” Nor was she snug, she says, when the director determined — “on the final minute!” — to have her character and McCarthy’s make love in a glass elevator.
“Why would she take her garments off in a glass elevator? Is that this even credible?” Bisset remembers considering. “In the long run, I simply needed to drop my skirt. It was type of insane, the thought of creating love in a glass elevator in the center of Chicago. However,” she provides with amusing, “it’s only a film.”
Although she’s had a sequence of dedicated relationships — one with the late ballet star Alexander Godunov — Bisset by no means married. She does, nevertheless, have a goddaughter: Angelina Jolie, whom she lately visited on the set of “Maleficent 2.”
“I’ve seen [Jolie’s six] kids at completely different occasions, not all on the similar occasions,” Bisset says. “She’s very busy. I don’t know how she does it.”
One may ask the identical about how Bisset’s managed to remain so stunning with out Botox. Her secret, she says, is easy: “Don’t suppose ugly ideas!”
However she doesn’t thoughts enjoying ugly if she has to, she says, and she does simply that in the upcoming movie “Asher.”
“I play a imply outdated girl,” Bisset says, with relish. “I look god-awful, however I’m good!”