Decades after her hit primetime soap Dynasty ended, actress Linda Evans discusses her decision to go to work again in the dark comedy Swan Song

linda evans
Credit: Robert Ascroft

In the 1980s, actress Linda Evans couldn't go anywhere in the world without being recognized by adoring fans of her wildly popular primetime soap, Dynasty.

"I remember once I landed at a very small airport in Australia with not a thing around it but these 10 huts," Evans — who won a Golden Globe playing the role of Krystle Carrington on the show — tells PEOPLE in an interview in this week's magazine.

"I got out while we were refueling and someone ran up and yelled, 'Krystle! Krystle!' I asked, 'How do you know that I'm Krystle?' And the man pointed to this little TV antenna on the side of this little hut ... it was shocking."

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But Dynasty ended in 1989 and after a few years — when it became clear that Evans, who by then had left Hollywood to live in rural Washington state, was no longer looking for acting work — the scripts and offers stopped coming her way.

All that changed in 2019, months before the pandemic shut down the planet, when Evans fell in love with a script she'd read for the touchingly dark comedy Swan Song and soon found herself flying to Sandusky, Ohio, to shoot her first movie in decades.

"I was nervous," recalls the 78-year-old actress, who has struggled with depression and debilitating back pain in recent years. "Of course I was nervous. How could I not be nervous when I hadn't done this for so long? The last time I worked I had my own hair and makeup team with me everywhere. Now it was just Linda going to Sandusky by herself and that was part of the excitement."

swan song
Swan Song
| Credit: Chris Stephens/Courtesy Magnolia Pictures

Evans plays a socialite alongside Udo Kier in the movie, now in theaters and on demand Friday.

"I'm in love with this film," she says. "I had to do it. It was poignant the way [screenwriter and director Todd Stephens] captured what it's like to be older and struggling with life. It really touched me."

Evans' own struggle with life started in 2006, when her two sisters and close friend were diagnosed with serious illnesses. She felt powerless to help her loved ones for the first time in her life and was soon plunged into a depression.

"I fell apart big time," she says. "I really had to fight my way back."

Six years later, a slipped disc left her in physical agony and for two years her depression returned. 

"The pain was so bad," says Evans, who eventually underwent four orthoscopic surgeries to alleviate the problem.

Now living on 70 acres in Washington, Evans is happy to have put the pain-filled past few years behind her. 

And her experience shooting Swan Song has confirmed what she has always believed about life's infinite possibilities.   

"What are the odds that I'd be back working at 78?" says Evans. "It's so outrageous, but as I always love to say, 'Anything is possible.'"