Olivia: Still Totally Hot

Olivia Newton John

Olivia Newton John is back with an unforgettable role in new Australian film A Few Best Men and her accompanying soundtrack is totally camp-tastic. On top of that she’s recently voiced her support for marriage equality, guest starred on Glee and later this month she’ll be in Perth performing with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra.  Olivia took time out from her crazy schedule to speak to OUTinPerth.

Director Stephan Elliott mentioned that you were initially reluctant to take on the part of Barbara Ramme in A Few Best Men, how did he change your mind and are you glad he did?

Stephan and I were supposed to work on a film project a few years ago and then it didn’t pan out. So when sent me the script I read it on the plane to Australia and laughed the whole way through it and I knew I had to be a part of the project.  Of course I was very nervous about where the character ends up but, I knew it would be fun and Stephan really helped me. The things I have been the most nervous about in my career have always ended but huge successes so hopefully this will work out the same way!

The new album that accompanies the film features some favourite songs of 70’s and 80’s given a remix treatment. How does it feel to be back on the dance floor?

This was a great idea by Stephan and Warren Fahey to have me re-record many of the songs in the movie and remixers turn them into dance tunes. There is everything from Mickey to Daydream Believer and I Think I Love You, but I was really excited to record Weightless by John Farrar and his son Max. John wrote and produced most of my hits throughout my career so this was a real joy!

You’re heading to Perth soon to perform with the WA Symphony Orchestra, which songs are your favourites to perform with an orchestra?

I have been so blessed to have had so many hits that are also really great songs. I of course love singing all the songs from Grease and Xanadu. The concert will have pretty much cover my career from my early country hits, through Physical and, even some of the new songs from the new movie, and a few surprises too!

This year will mark 20 years since you were diagnosed with breast cancer. What do you think of when you reflect back on that period?

So much has happened in my life since I was diagnosed with cancer and, I have had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people, from doctors to healers to fellow cancer thrivers! I am most excited that after almost 10 years of fundraising, we will be opening the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre in June this year in my hometown of Melbourne.

You recently voiced support for marriage equality, what inspired you to speak out on this topic?

I have so many wonderful people in my life who are gay including some of my closest friends and my sister Sarah. She and her partner have been together for many years and as I mentioned in my statement, love is love!

In the office we’ve been on a bit of an Olivia music video fest – we’re still arguing about which one we love the most. Of all the songs you’ve recorded, do you have a favourite video clip?

Oh gosh, there are so many but, probably Physical. Someone just reminded me that it was the first music video to win a Grammy for Best Music Video. I recently had the opportunity to guest on the TV show GLEE and they recreated the entire Physical music video set. It was like stepping back in time! And, having the chance to re-do the song with Jane Lynch was so much fun!

We’ve just got to know… what was it like to dance with Gene Kelly in Xanadu?

I have to say – it was heaven. Of course I was very nervous but, he was so wonderful. Come to think of it I have had the chance to dance with both Gene Kelly and John Travolta. Not bad, eh?

To support the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre go to www.oliviaappeal.com

Olivia Newton John performs with the WA Symphony Orchestra at the Burswood Theatre on February 24th and 25th.

Graeme Watson