Fallen Angel

Posted January 19, 1994

Many believed River Phoenix was a Hollywood rarity: a gifted young actor who shunned the spotlight as well as the temptations that destroyed so many before him. Then, on a fateful Halloween morning, Phoenix’s life shuddered to a pitiful end. Martha Frankel looks back on the first fallen idol of his generation. “It’s really designed, I think, to strip you and blend you. It’s like feeling like the invisible man. You just stand there, and you start disintegrating, and you can’t see yourself, and you feel like you’re being absorbed into this big blob of glitter. I just can’t hang.”– […]

Innocent Abroad

Posted November 19, 1993

Chris O’Donnell, the fair-haired star of Scent of a Woman, spent months working with Kiefer Sutherland and Charlie Sheen and still seems like a sweet kid from the Midwest. O’Donnell has just returned from four months in Vienna and England filming The Three Musketeers. If, as all his press says, O’Donnell is “nice, nice, very nice,” a small-town boy from a big, supportive family who has shown no outward tendencies toward being seduced by booze or wild women, then I can only imagine that this might have been a trial by fire. At The Regency Hotel in New York City […]

Clean Slater

Posted July 1, 1993

Still beloved by teens, but yet to carry a major hit, the reformed Christian Slater makes his bid for breathing room with Tony Scott’s True Romance. Slater’s sexiness on-screen is a given. Now that he’s 23, though, one has to be increasingly suspicious about where he can take his Nicholsonisms and the hipster’s cockiness. It’s now-or-never time for vaulting the chasm between teen idoldom and grown-up stardom. STEPHEN REBELLO: I’m thinking about how everybody used to like movie rebels who tangled with the law. What’s a rebel to do in the safe and sober era?CHRISTIAN SLATER: Lie. [Laughing] No, I […]

Johnny Depp Lets Down His Hair

Posted April 1, 1993

It’s the second time around for our roving reporter and Hollywood’s best-looking bad boy. I mean, I’ve interviewed this guy before and one of the things I know about him is that he loves a good goof. After all, isn’t his “Are-they-or-are-they-not-a-couple?” status with Ryder one of those need-to-know Depp essentials? These days, the former 21 Jump Street rave has a thing or two to feel cool about. By the time he’s finished up a new flick in Texas, a total of three Depp movies will be theater-ready, his first since Cry-Baby and Edward Scissorhands. First up is the oddball […]

Born to be Brad

Posted March 1, 1993

Perfumy Sade music engulfs the Pitt household. In fact, the volume is notched up so loud that no one can hear me knocking. As the minutes pass, Brad Pitt and his live-in companion, Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee Juliette Lewis don’t answer. A sandwich delivery man joins me now, and his knuckles prove golden. Two short raps and Brad Pitt, the guy who knocked everyone’s socks off as the glorious Paul Maclean in A River Runs Through It, appears at the door, waving us in like a matador who once played for the Fighting Irish. “I was taking a shower,” […]

Lucas on Violence

Posted January 17, 1993

Littleton is everywhere, even at a press junket devoted to George Lucas’ Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. At a press conference, Lucas was asked to discuss movie violence in the wake of the shootings at Columbine high. Even though the Star Wars movies hardly qualify as the kind of fare that inspires scorn from those who believe the culture is far too bloody. Lucas says his attitude toward big-screen violence remains largely unchanged. “The other films are pretty much the same in terms of the amount of drama, action and violence. My feeling is the key issue […]

Grace Kelly

Posted September 24, 1992

It has been 10 years since her death in a horrible auto accident in Monaco and more than 35 years since her last film, yet Grace Kelly’s charm, cool beauty, and elegant style have not faded from our minds or our hearts Her mother said it first: there was something “special” about Grace. As a child she had a steely determination to act, and with comparatively little trouble, she became one of Hollywood’s brightest stars in the 1950s. Though some perceived her as an “ice princess,” those who knew her well knew she was warm, funny, and it was said, […]

Brad Pitt’s Cool World

Posted August 1, 1992

Since he played the thief who hitched a ride in Thelma & Louise, Brad Pitt has been hot property. Now, with three films, the actor proves he’s very much his own man. Brad Pitt doesn’t know this, but at one o’clock in the morning, as we were leaving the swank Atlanta restaurant where much of the following interview took place, our waiter tugged at my sleeve and whispered, “Remember Thelma & Louise? Remember Brad’s love scene with Geena Davis? Everybody I know wants to be in Brad Pitt’s shoes or Brad Pitt’s pants.” There may be one or two people […]

Rich or Famous?

Posted March 1, 1992

Ethan Hawke isn’t sure whether he wants to be either one, or both. Here, the sought-after young star talks about his generation, girls, and what it’s really like to see one’s name up in lights. “I swore to myself that I was never going to do this anymore,” Ethan Hawke says, waving his hand to include me, my tape recorder and the yellow pad I’ve set up for this interview. And when did you decide that? When you were a puppy? “It was when I was 20,” he says in all seriousness. “No, 19. No, wait…” Excuse me a minute […]

Wil Wheaton

Posted December 17, 1991

[seventeen] I’m waiting for Wil Wheaton out in front of the Columbia Bar and Grill and beginning to wonder if he’s going to show up. He’s already canceled a day at the beach, a lunch in Beverly Hills, and an afternoon at his house in La Crescenta. Since he is almost a half hour late, I suspect he’s going to blow off interview attempt number four. Just when I’m ready to leave, Wil pulls up in his truck, tumbles out, and shuffles up the restaurant’s walkway. “Sorry I’m late,” he says, pushing his hair out of his doelike like chocolate-brown […]