Former screen siren Jane Seymour may play a “cougar” in the upcoming play The Vortex but, off the stage, the 64-year-old is all decorum.
When she smiled, every schoolboy’s heart was set aﬂutter. Courting and married men felt a pang of guilt when they watched her on the big screen or gogglebox with their women. Winsome, elegant, sensual, Jane Seymour could be any or all at the same time.
She ﬁrst entered male fantasy as the Bond girl, Solitaire, in Live and Let Die. Forty-three years on, the quintessential English Rose with her trademark tresses has not lost any of the pull that had men worshipping at her feet.
In a time when mature women the likes of Susan Sarandon, Madonna and Sam Taylor-Johnson have ﬂaunted, or are married to, men decades younger, Seymour explores this very theme in Asia’s premiere of Noel Coward’s The Vortex, on at Jubilee Hall this month.
She plays 1920s London socialite Florence Lancaster, who takes on a lover the same age as her son. Her affair shakes the foundations of her son’s world when he discovers her trysts. But this is just the make- believe universe of the stage, and The Peak shoots the obvious question: So, why not?
She ﬁres a broadside: “It’s not for me. I have friends who have younger lovers, but I ﬁnd a relationship with someone mature, who has been through some of the circumstances I have, more important.
“Someone who has also been a parent and has been involved with children. Someone who understands my industry and who appreciates me for me, rather than someone young. Plus I have children in their 30s. It would be difficult to date someone the same age as them.”
Seymour, 64, has four children. Two with husband No. 4, James Keach, whom she divorced last December, and two with husband No. 3, David Flynn.
So what moved the English siren to play Lancaster?
“I took on the role because the urge to stay young is very much today’s message. Women will do anything to stay young, as will men. When you feel young inside, but your body is ageing, you try to be the best you can, for as long as you can.” And dating someone younger could provide an injection of vitality.
“But, at the same time, the play also shows the havoc and sadness that her affair has brought to her son. A son whom she really hasn’t been there for and who has a lot of needs – to be heard, to be loved and to have his mother’s attention.
“I think it’s a terriﬁc play, although of course it’s much more pertinent to the 1920s. But she’s ahead of her time and I think it makes us all question the ways that we approach ageing and raising our children.”