The Two Sides of Ann-Margret

Ann-Margret
Ann-Margret
photography by Jason Acton

It may sound strange but actress/singer/dancer Ann-Margret, once named Esquire ‘s 10th-sexiest all-time film star for flicks like Kitten With a Whip, is working on her second album of gospel-music songs. In Dallas for the 2011 Dallas International Film Festival, the 69-year-old Swedish-born entertainer said the new album–like her first gospel effort, which won earned a Grammy award nomination in 2001–will be produced by Garland’s Art Greenhaw, of the Light Crust Doughboys.

And no, she said, she doesn’t see any contradiction between her sexy career image and the Christian music. “That’s always been a part of me,” she said, pausing on the red carpet Friday in support of her new film, Lucky, which would premiere at the festival later in the evening. “The album isn’t just Christian hymns, anyway,” she went on. “It’s very eclectic, and also includes songs like The Battle Hymn of the Republic and Operator, which the Manhattan Transfer did a few years ago.”

The entertainer (pictured in photo by Jeanne Prejean) added that she’d recorded some of the new album’s material with a 130-member choir at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church. Then she adroitly steered the conversation to Lucky, whose director Gil Cates Jr. was standing next to her, one hand on the small of her back. The screenwriter for the film, which is a dark comedy, is Kent Sublette of Saturday Night Live, Ann-Margret said, “so you can imagine how funny it is.” Then the coquettish vixen of screen legend seemed to emerge and she  looked up at Cates and said coyly of the director, “He may not look like it now, but this person here is very … verystrange.” And you sort of got the idea that to the Kitten with a Whip who likes to sing Christian songs, strange is good.

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