BY Duane Wells
February 05 2010 4:05 PM ET
Vanity Fair dubbed her “Hollywood’s own Marcel Proust,” and the late director Louis Malle called her “a raunchy moralist.” But Hollywood insiders tend to call Jackie Collins the Queen of Hollywood, because no one better understands the players in the city of dreams and what drives them.
While Hollywood itself may be in upheaval, the queen has a lot to crow about in the days leading up to the release of Poor Little Bitch Girl, her latest page-turner, which explores the lives of three very strong but very different women who all attended the same ritzy high school in Los Angeles.
Over the last four decades, Jackie Collins has sold some 400 million copies of her books in more than 40 countries, and not a single book she has written has ever gone out of print. Moreover, she has to her credit a whopping 27 New York Times best sellers, all of which she has delivered with clockwork-like precision.
“It always amazes me when I’m doing television shows that the host will say, ‘Oh, so you’ve churned out another book?’” she says. “I want so say to them, ‘Hey, wait a minute! You had Tom Hanks on. Did you say to him, “You’ve churned out three movies this year?”’ People are always surprised, but I love what I do.”
Collins voiced brims with her love for what she does when she talks about her latest venture — writing a and producing a film that will go directly to DVD and be mass-marketed in much the same way as a paperback novel. She’s also writing a cookbook with recipes from one of her most memorable characters, Lucky Santangelo, and she’s positively over the moon about the hilarious new song Josh Miller has written which is, in both name and spirit, an ode to her new book, Poor Little Bitch Girl.
It’s always fun to talk to Jackie about her new projects, but nothing beats dishing with her about the subject she knows best — Hollywood. In this no-holds-barred conversation, Collins not only talks about her new book but riffs on everything from the late-night television scandals involving Letterman, Leno, and Conan and the recent string of tragic deaths in Hollywood to her 2010 Oscar picks and the double standard Tinseltown maintains for openly gay actors.
The Advocate: I love Poor Little Bitch Girl and I know you love your strong female heroines, but I’m so ready for you to write a gay lead in one of your novels. Do you think you would ever do that?
Jackie Collins: Yes, I absolutely do. You know, Cole DeBarge — the gorgeous black fitness trainer — keeps coming back. He’s been in four books now, and I keep on giving him romances but not main romances. And of course Lucky Santangelo’s brother Dario was gay, and in Chances he had a huge part in the beginning of the book.
It’s so interesting — somebody did a sort of analysis of all the gay characters in all my books, and it was quite amazing the number of gay characters that I had written. But, you know, I write life the way it is.
Poor Little Bitch Girl seems to have been ripped not from the pages of Variety but straight from the headlines in The New York Times. There are shades of Eliot Spitzer, South Carolina’s Gov. Mark Sanford, and even maybe a little Heidi Fleiss and Victoria Sellers in this new novel. How much of Poor Little Bitch Girl was inspired by the headlines?
You’re very, very, very right. The Eliot Spitzer case did absolutely inspire me. So I created [the character] Annabelle, who’s lying in bed with Frankie Romano after they’ve just made love and they’re thinking about what they’re going to do next ... they’re lying there reading the paper and they’re reading about Eliot Spitzer. So that’s how that all came about. And then with Carolyn in Washington, I’ve always had that Chandra Levy case on my mind and I wanted to kind of mirror that a little bit.
And also, while we’re talking about this, Annabelle’s parents vaguely — vaguely — mirror maybe someone like Arnold Schwarzenegger if he was married to someone like Gwyneth Paltrow. [Laughs] Do you love that combination?