Why Donna Mills said yes to Jordan Peele’s “Nope.”

As resident villain Abby Cunningham on the long-running ’80s prime-time soap, Knots Landing, Donna Mills was accustomed to keeping quiet about some risqué plot twists.

But the TV legend had to deal with a whole new top-secret security clearance when she signed on for director Jordan Peele’s latest spooky hit ‘Nope,’ which opened at the top of the box office this weekend.

“I had signed an NDA and I couldn’t tell anyone [about it]’ Mills, 81, told the Post of her role as Bonnie Clayton in a key scene in the sci-fi thriller. “I mean, I literally couldn’t tell my daughter. It was difficult because everyone wanted to know, ‘What is it really about?’ People asked and I said, ‘I’m really sorry, but no!’ ”

It might seem like an even bigger mystery how, following the success of ‘Get Out’ (2017) and ‘Us’ (2019), Mills starred in Peele’s highly anticipated third film alongside feisty stars Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer. She landed the part by doing a self-tape audition – however, to her surprise, the scene she was given wasn’t from “Nope.”

Donna Mills
Donna Mills did a self-tape audition for “Nope” with a scene from “Blue Jasmine.”
Getty Images

“It was a scene from ‘Blue Jasmine,'” Mills said of the 2013 film, for which Cate Blanchett won a Best Actress Oscar. “I said, ‘Oh God, they made a mistake!’ My agent called and they said, ‘No, that’s the scene he wants her to do.’ He doesn’t send anyone the script until they’re hired to do the film, and then you have to sign a big non-disclosure agreement.”

And Peele was immediately impressed with Mills’ skills. “He said, ‘Oh my god, that was the best audition! I’ll send you the script. If you like it, it’s yours.” I was like, ‘If I like it? I think I’ll like it.’”

Donna Mills, Ted Shackelford, and William Devane in "landing node."
Donna Mill’s love interests while scheming Abby Cunningham on Knots Landing included Ted Shackelford (centre) and William Devane (right).
© CBS/Courtesy of Everett Collection

Oddly enough, Mills wasn’t a huge fan of scary movies herself until she saw Get Out and Us. “I don’t like horror movies at all,” she said. “But ‘Get Out’ is one of my absolute favorite movies.”

Prior to Nope, Mills’ greatest feature film credit was way back in 1971, when she appeared in Play Misty for Me with Clint Eastwood. “It was so amazing because I came to this film straight from the soap opera ‘Love Is a Many Splendored Thing,'” said Mills, who was recommended to Eastwood by Burt Reynolds. “I only met Clint the night before we started filming.”

Clint Eastwood and Donna Mills will be there "Play Misty for me."
Donna Mills co-starred with Clint Eastwood in the 1971 film Play Misty for Me.
Everett Collection / Everett Col

But Mill’s biggest claim to fame, of course, was playing Abby Cunningham in the Dallas spinoff Knots Landing, an iconic role that she created in 1980. “Normally her back,” Mills said — all those years later she is actually closely related to “Knots” rivals Joan Van Ark and Michele Lee.

“Joan and Michele and I are actually really good friends,” she said. “It’s become a really deep friendship for all of us now.”

Donna Mills, Shawn Campbell and Robert Burr will be there "Love is a much vaunted thing."
Donna Mills played a nun on the daytime soap opera Love Is a Many Splendored Thing in 1967-73.
Courtesy of the Everett Collection

Mills also has a special relationship with another ’80s prime-time soap opera diva: Dynasty legend Joan Collins. “If she’s here [in California], we always get together,” she said. “And we did a little reality show together called ‘Queens of Drama’ for a while.”

Mills added drama to the long-running soap opera General Hospital and won a Daytime Emmy in 2015. And after her role in Nope, she’s hoping to add more to her acting laurels. But don’t expect her to tone down the glamor just because she’s in her 80s now.

Donna Mills a "General Hospital."
Donna Mills won a 2015 Daytime Emmy for her guest role on General Hospital.
©ABC/Courtesy of Everett Collectio

“I think I’ve just decided that I’m never going to be non-glamorous,” she said. “Getting older won’t change that.”

https://nypost.com/2022/07/26/why-donna-mills-said-yes-to-jordan-peeles-nope/ Why Donna Mills said yes to Jordan Peele’s “Nope.”

Emma Bowman

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