How Kim Escaped The Bimbo Limbo
Daily Express 14th August 1992
KIM BASINGER'S suit is earn Armani, her hair is short and gelled back, and looking startlingly severe, her smile plays around the famouse, pouting lips and she's acting like an angel.
She's also talking like a cowboy. She's a straight shooter, and admits: "I'm a mutt."
At this point she's alluding to her ancestry — Swedish, German, American, Indian and a touch of the Irish — rather than her much discussed looks.
"The hair? I had it cut off. I've always loved long hair, and I still do, but I wanted a new feeling, I wanted to be freer.
"I have enough grease on it this morning to butter people's toast."
Basinger is not a beauty in the classic sense. She's more drop-dead gorgeous, from the lead-us-not-into-temptation sultry siren school. Red nails. Red lips. Pale face. Daily exercise keeps her classic 36-24-36 figure exceptionally firm.
But her humour, her presumably genetic blarney, stops her getting a visa to the chorus line of Hollywood's Barbie dolls. She doesn't have to be wound-up to speak. Her image is controversial. She has been called "difficult", which is defined in Hollywood as being "a pain in the ass"... She has been part of Tinsel town table talk for nearly a decade. She's power mad, a control freak, a sex-pot...
Her looks, and all the gossip, made her a prime candidate for bimbo limbo, but she has escaped that personality purgatory.
Her; career has fanned much fact into fantasy and vice versa. She's from America's Deep South and went from home-town beauty queen to New York model to Hollywood television series walk-on, to being stapled naked into eight pages of Playboy and being a Bond girl in Sean Connery's Never Say Never Again.
Since then, she's been a disquieting sexual presence in a string of films.
She was Mickey Rourke's love slave in 9'/2 Weeks, tempted Robert Redford in The Natural, was Bruce Willis's drunken companion in Blind Date, gave Richard Gere the run-around in No Mercy and in the recent Final Analysis.
Later this year, you'll see her as Holli Would, who is a cartoon sex pot (think Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit) in Cool World. Holli can only become real by having - sex with a human male and, of course, Holli makes it.
But it's not just the movies that have made Basinger one of Hollywood's most controversial characters. Before a billion viewers, she scolded the Academy Award voters at the 1990 Oscars for not nominating Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing.
She replaced the injured Sean Young as Vicki Vale in the original Batman and was involved with Prince, who was doing the film's music.
And she was dating Jon Peters, the former Barbra Streisand Svengali, who co-produced that box-office giant.
At the same time she, and a financial syndicate, paid $20 million to buy the town of Braselton, Georgia -- an 18-acre community near her home town of Athens, Georgia - - promising much development. But, as yet, nothing has happened.
Last year, there was much howling about her movie, The Marrying Man, in which Basinger and her-now lover, and possibly (she hints)* husband-to-be, Alec Baldwin, co-starred:
MANY said the making of that Disney film was a nightmare, that Basinger and Baldwin were the principal demons. It was claimed that she contractually demanded that her hair only be washed in Evian water; and that she asked for filming to be stopped so she could jet off to Brazil to consult a psychic.
One crew member was quoted as saying this was "only the tip of the iceberg". It was all, he said, much, much worse.
Basinger has made 15 films since her screen debut Hard Country in 1979. She has found something good to say about all of them except The Marrying Man, which she calls "a creative tragedy". Her eight-year marriage to make-up artist Ron Britton ended in divorce in 1989. She now lives in Tarzana in the San Fernando Valley, on the outskirts of Los Angeles, with, at the last count, seven cats and 10 dogs. But today, we're sitting in a suite of a Beverly Hills hotel and she's talking marriage. Baldwin, who starred in The Hunt For Red October, has given her a ring. She says: "It's a friendship ring, but it's a mighty nice friendship ring, I can tell you. I'd like to get married one of these days ..."
She has a raucous laugh and, after a public bashing over the past couple of years, a quiet confidence. What's her side of all the stories? How did she survive the critical barrage? She plunges into a California-speak dictionary as she explains.
"You are a liar, an absolute liar to say that it doesn't hurt you. It hurts incredibly, but how you handle it is the test.
"I don't have any anger or resentment because, if I held all that in, it would only be doing me a disservice. I think the greatest things were my faith in God and my ability to have a sense of humour. I like to consider myself as an individual. First you have to like yourself, you have to meet yourself, get to know yourself, say, 'how do I feel?' and tell the truth. Clarity. That's very important, and sometimes people get that mixed up with being gutsy. Clarity is what you need.
"After The Marrying Man came out, I chose to go underneath and hide from it.
"At the time, I didn't have the right people surrounding me.
"No matter what rumour had been let out — that you're pregnant, that you're in a rehabilitation centre, that you're riding naked around Sunset Boulevard — you've got to stop it. You've got to confront it. I didn't, so it got out of hand.
"I chose to go under rather than come out and say this is wrong, but I think time is such a valuable asset and I think time corrects everything."
Is there time for children? "I would love very much to have kids because I come from a big family. I love that idea.
"When it comes down to the family, love is everything. Love is all there is. A normal life. You know, watching tomatoes grow. All those nice things."
BUT what about all the nasty things? What's happened at the town she now owns? "My dreams are very much alive there, but dreams cost money and the economy is at such a standstill right now, that no big corporation wants to pour money into big dreams. It's really that simple.
"It looks as though we haven't done anything there, but dreams take a long time to paint, to draw, to become reality. There have been some hurt feelings in Braselton, because of nothing happening, but I really don't know the future of that town or a lot of the things in my life right now."
When asked about the Oscar controversy, she says: "I would do it all over again. I felt it was a shame to leave out that film. Everybody had been talking about truth, and I thought it presented the biggest truth of all.
"I wasn't reprimanding the Academy or anything like that. This just truly came from the heart, from inside.
"One billion people were watching the Oscars and I said: 'Well, Lord, help me get through this because this is the biggest audience I'm ever going to have in my life'."
And what about that reported visit to the psychic in South America? Did she really do that?
"I don't know. Maybe somebody at Disney has one. The only psychic I have is God, but that's it and he knows everything. It's all I need, right?"
Her penchant for Evian water — are the stories surrounding that true?
"You mean the gallons and gallons that I'm supposed to be washing my hair in? I drink it, but I drink lots of other kinds of waters as well."
The designer water storm in a bottle sends her off into keep fit.
"I'm a vegetarian," she says. "I don't eat dairy products or meat. I love to exercise. It's like brushing my teeth."
When you ask her how she feels about herself today, there is no hesitation.
She shakes her head and says: "You hear a lot of good and bad about yourself. It never has bothered me, because what you are is what you are. I think when you have the guts to change your life, some people take notice in a good vein and others in an negative vein.
"After I divorced my husband, everything started happening. I had been married for eight
rears and then, after that, was free and I was happy, and I could make my choices.
"In doing that, you cause more attention and then you start really saying how you feel.
"I am shy, but I think the easiest thing in the world is to tell the truth. When I started telling the truth about the way I felt, and even made it publicly known, I think people didn't want that.
"It was never intended to cause trouble, but people view saying how you feel as causing trouble."
SHE'S not looking troublesome — still angelic. She's 39 in December, 40 in 1993 — a dangerous age in Tinseltown terms. Is she worried?
"I don't really have time for that. I don't know what the future is going to hold. We never know how long any of us is going to be around. I think staying and looking and feeling young have a lot to do with your beliefs.
"How you look on the outside depends on the choices, you make on the inside."
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