Whatever Blows Your Hair Back

Whatever Blows Your Hair Back

Posted March 1, 1996

Chris O’Donnell breezes into the Four Seasons Hotel in L.A. looking more like someone’s driver than a guest. He’s been staying at a friend’s house and has come to the hotel for this interview, a neutral place where the writer can’t observe anything too personal about him, and he can make his exit without leaving much of a trace. He’s only 25, but he is guarded, and he prefers to maintain as much privacy as possible while still being a recognizable celebrity. LAWRENCE GROBEL: Do you find that what you say follows you around?Oh yeah, especially in foreign countries because […]

Fame is a Four-Letter Word

Posted December 24, 1995

Johnny Depp slips me $20 when we shake hands. “Do that again.” “It’s preparation, it’s all preparation,” he explains, and we shake hands again, more of a brush of fingers, really, the sort of discreet, low-key maneuver. A $20 bill appears in my palm. Depp looks around the room with a wry, satisfied smile, as though he’s just pulled off a magic trick. “I’m a compulsive big tipper,” he says. “But it’s embarrassing if you just hand the money over. You give it to them in a handshake. If they put it in their pocket right away, they feel confident […]

River Phoenix| Strange Days

River Phoenix| Strange Days

Posted October 24, 1995

Two years after River Phoenix’s death, a new view of his troubled life emerges He seemed to stand in the shadow of pain, and sensing this from the very start of his career, directors threw him the heavy stuff. In a 1984 after-school TV special called Backwards: The Riddle of Dyslexia, 13-year-old River Phoenix played a child crushed by his secret reading impairment. The drama is slight, but River¹s portrayal is subtle, uncompromisingly real. In the following year, he made Surviving, a compelling movie-of-the-week about teenage suicide. River’s character reacts to his older brother’s death by trying to take his […]

True Confessions

Posted October 1, 1995

Brad Pitt is sitting due west of the back entrance of Musso & Frank’s restaurant in what we’ll charitably refer as an open-air smoker’s lounge—some dusty green plastic lawn chairs flanked by a couple of stringy potted plants. He drags on a Camel, occasionally flicking the ashes into a butt-filled canister, and takes in the landscape before him: a few dozen empty cars, three sweating valets and several crumbling Hollywood apartments. “Ahhhhh. This is nice,” Pitt says with a sigh. The 31-year-old rubs his bristly goatee, which he’s been cultivating for next week’s pickup shots of Seven. From the onset […]

The Corruption of Chris O’Donnell

Posted May 24, 1995

Suspecting that Chris O’Donnell is not the straight-laced preppy he has played in movies, our reporter asks the actor about his brushes with The Seven Deadly Sins. Sitting across from Chris O’Donnell in the lounge of The Argyle hotel, I can’t help thinking, ‘How goes the inevitable corruption of Chris O’Donnell? After all, it’s been a couple of years since he admitted on these pages to my esteemed colleague Martha Frankel, “I’m waiting to get corrupted. I know it’s going to happen sometime.” Certainly, he’s no less alluring to look at now that his pink-checked, vine-ripened frat boy sweet-ness is […]

Lost in Hollywood

Posted April 24, 1995

This charismatic actor survived a bizarre childhood (was raised in a flaky cult, sent out to panhandle in the streets at age five) only to succumb to dark additions he fought to keep secret. In the summer of 1968, a twenty-three-year-old secretary named Arlyn Sharon Dunetz decided to drop out of her workaday life to pursue a hippie dream. She returned from her Manhattan office one day and told her husband that she was leaving him to find a more meaningful life. Stuffing some clothes into a backpack, Arlyn took a few dollars of savings and left the Bronx to […]

The Buzz On Johnny Depp

Posted April 24, 1995

What a week. You know, you’re staying at this hotel, the Mark. It’s not your regular place, but come on–you’re paying twenty-two hundred dollars a night for the presidential suite, you think at least they wouldn’t look at you funny every time you cross the lobby. Is that too much to ask? Every time … especially this one guy who works there. You can just tell he doesn’t like you, he doesn’t like you at all. And why? Because you didn’t change your jeans or wash your hair? So it’s five in the morning and a couple of million cups […]

Ethan Hawke: Renaissance Boy

Posted March 1, 1995

Two and a half years ago, this reporter met up with young Hawke, not far removed from a supporting role opposite a dog in White Fang and fresh off his turn as every vegan’s nightmare in Alive. Reaction from bystanders was universal: “Ethan Hawke … isn’t he the ‘Oh, captain, my captain’ guy from Dead Poets Society? He’s such a cute kid.” Fast forward to the present. Toss in one role as a cynical hipster asshole in the twenty-something comedy Reality Bites, a tabloid dance with Julia Roberts and reports that he has completed a short novel. Once again the […]

Boy Meets World

Posted March 1, 1995

He’s played misfits and half-wits, and scored an Oscar nomination at nineteen. This month, Leonardo DiCaprio is a junkie-poet in The Basketball Diaries and a gunslinger in The Quick and the Dead. But the most fearless actor in Hollywood still lives with his mom. Leonardo DiCaprio is throwing roundhouse karate kicks a few inches from my face. Whoosh. He hikes up his baggy jeans which instantly slide back down his nonexistent butt and kicks again. Whoosh. This one is a bit closer than the one before it. This f**ing great actor, this rising phenom, this valuable celluloid property, still lives […]

Brad Attitude

Posted February 1, 1995

The first time you meet Brad Pitt, you think, Brad Pitt is a knucklehead. “The thing about these articles, I sit down and give my life views, and it sounds like I’m walking around like a prophet,” Pitt says. “And that’s not true, ‘cause most of the time I’m out cutting up and laughing and speeding in my car and whatever, whatever, whatever. Yelling at the TV and cranking the tunes…It’s like ‘What’s your favorite color? I don’t know, I like a bunch of ‘em.” Under the druggie diction, beneath the bale of bleached-blond hair, Pitt is murderously handsome. As […]