Kim Basinger: Classic Beauty Goes "Cellular"
Gorgeous blonde Kim Basinger is noted for not only her beauty but strong acting chops. Hey, she played Eminem's mom in 8 Mile, and was Batman's first girlfriend Vicki Vale okay! She also won an Oscar for her portrayal of a high class call girl in the noir thriller L.A. Confidential. Now she stars as a desperate kidnapped woman in the action thriller Cellular. Kim is one of our fave people because she speaks out on animal rights causes even if it doesn't make her popular. She's rescued dogs from test labs and done her part to save elephants from cruelty in circuses.
Kim, who is an "older" mom of a young daughter, looks at least fifteen years younger than she is. Rest easy Kim. I'm not tellin'. When we chatted with the affable actress in a Santa Monica beach hotel, she was all Hollywood glam in long flowing blonde hair, classic black suit and small diamond earrings. She's been busy with quirky indie films lately but Cellular is poised to be a wider-audience hit. The hot blonde talked about her tough, emotional scenes in the film, her daughter, her work with animals and her own cell phone experiences. Push "talk" and tune in to our conversation.
TeenHollywood: You are pretty busy lately.
Kim: These three opportunities sort of popped up all at once: I did The Door in the Floor and then once I finished that little human drama, I went and did a little film in Albuquerque called Elvis Has Left The Building. Then this one. These were just three opportunities that happened to pop up in the same year. That doesn't happen to me that often.
TeenHollywood: How hard is it to do a film like this where it is so emotional every single day of the shoot?
Kim: You know, I really loved this opportunity because it was more like a play to me. And I love new challenges. I said to David (the director), "I don't want the crew around me. I want as few people there to make it as real as I could." I wanted you guys up there with me because I don't know what is going to happen to me and I don't know why I was thrown in there. And, you guys don't either. So I love that. I don't think I can remember a film I have been in where I have had the opportunity to do that.
TeenHollywood: Wasn't it really difficult?
Kim: Yes, it was quite a roller coaster ride emotionally every day. My crew, I think they suffered more than me. They would watch me and say, "Oh, my God, she has to go back in the attic." It was every day that I had to pick up right where I left off. It takes you a long time to learn how to be an actress and then you find these buttons that become so accessible to you. And you just push them. God forbid, I have never had to be in a situation like this, but I tried to get as close as I could to imagining what it would be like. And the word "kidnapping", especially being a mom, becomes a huge fear in your life. So it was a challenge and a bit for me emotionally.
TeenHollywood: You have a great emotional arc in the film. From calm and confident to hysterical. Can you talk about the development of your character?
Kim: You have to kind of write the song yourself as you go along, so that it has those different layers. Because human nature is like that. But I think shock and hysteria and fear, of course, is all in there. But once I had Chris's character understanding this was a real situation, I think it became a fight for your life. And then you found out it was about your son and you sort of lower the whole mechanism so that you clearly understand all that is going on. And always keeping that fear that we could be disconnected at any moment. So it was a balance to do, a challenge. But I enjoyed it. As I have grown up in the acting world, I have learned a lot about really listening and keeping quiet, even in my own life. Less talk, more listening. It has taught me a lot about life and acting.
TeenHollywood: How did you do the scenes where you are on the phone? Was Chris Evans (her co-star) there?
Kim: No. For one little piece Chris was there one day. But they had finished filming him and then they did me as the last part of the film. So they did him as the first half and I got to hear his voice. And we had to change lines, sometimes things didn't work. So it was read to me off stage sometimes.
TeenHollywood: Chris said it was a good idea that you didn't have face to face encounters during these scenes because you aren't supposed to know each other.
Kim: It was great. It worked out the way it should have worked out. My first day of filming was the last scene when I get out of the van and see him. That was the first time I had ever seen Chris. They said "We really hate to do this to you, but you are going to have to get out of the van all beaten up and you are going to have to have already been through it all". That was my first scene.
TeenHollywood: What about your cell phone use? Do you have one with a camera in it?
Kim: I hate that thing with the camera because we have been so disturbed by them sometimes. Like I'm seeing a Broadway play, people will start taking your picture when you are sitting there with your daughter. Anybody who has a kid (knows what I mean). I am a mom, so I have a cell phone. It's that simple. But then some people just like to take pictures of their dog.I am not a real good technical person. I don't have a lot of the gadgets. Sometimes they are forced down your throat and if you do have a young kid and they are into all the stuff for school, then you have to learn, you know. But I carry my cell phone and usually it is in the cradle in the car.
TeenHollywood: Any thoughts on cell phone etiquette?
Kim: Haven't people gone crazy? It is so disturbing. I think it is wonderful to have a cell phone in your car in case you get in trouble. Really, it is important. But I honestly think it should be hands free in this whole country. Honestly. You see too many accidents happening. I live in my car because I live in California. And you see people all the time making wrong turns and whatever and they have got this in their hand!
TeenHollywood: Let's talk purses (okay, guys, tune out). What do you always carry with you?
Kim: A camera. I love to paint, so I love to take photographs of things (to paint). Cash. My credit card. I am not a real girly girl, so no make up. Oh, my sun stick for my lips. Probably some breath freshener. Things for Ireland (her daughter whose dad is actor Alec Baldwin). I always take lollipops in my bag because she always gets car sick. She turns nine in October. And if you had asked me this three years ago, it would be full of anything to keep her occupied. So I think it is about time to clean up my purse, okay?
TeenHollywood: Are you still involved in animal rights causes?
Kim: You know, I am always working on several different things with several different organizations. Always. It is a never-ending, horrific, horrible thing in every country. So right now, we are working on a number of different issues. I am a spokesperson for PAWS. Performing Animal Welfare Society. I work with the Farm Sanctuary in California. They also have another sanctuary in New York. I do work also with individual issues that PETA brings to my attention.
TeenHollywood: What animals will you have at your home?
Kim: Between my two houses on the same property, we have a menagerie: kitties and doggies and rats and..you name it.
TeenHollywood: What is on tap for the next chapter of your life?
Kim: I hope a lot of creative things up the road that I want to work on. But I think just watching my daughter come into her own. Into her creativity and then watching what the rest of my journey is going to be about. I am very open about it. I look so forward to it.
TeenHollywood: I haven't seen you doing plays. Any plans for that?
Kim: Now, I am reading some things for film. You know what? I have got to tackle that (theater) because it is a fear of mine. I would love to do it and I have been asked many times if I wanted to come to Broadway and do something. So I think it might be one of those steps in the near future if I could find something I really wanted to do. I think it would be mortifying, but I have a tendency to go toward anything I fear.
TeenHollywood: Back to Cellular, it looks like you really got roughed up. If you didn't know what the actor playing the kidnapper was going to do to you, did you end up with any injuries?
Kim: Oh, I got bruised and banged up and cut a lot. But you know what? I try to keep pretty physically in shape and not just for the look of it but really keep in shape with weights and running and all that stuff. I was ready to take on this part, but I knew, you can't get thrown on tables and against glass and not expect to get cut a little.
TeenHollywood: How are you and your daughter Ireland doing? Does she worry about you being an "older" mom?
Kim: You have this child that depends on you. And I think when you have a child later in life like I did, you find they come to you in the most innocent way. I know my daughter was mad at me for having her as late as I did in my life and it has been a delicate subject. But at the same time I have great beliefs in what I believe in. And she has a great foundation in her faith and her belief as well. We believe and we will never really be apart ever. She has never really asked me and we haven't gone through it again.
TeenHollywood: Some of her friends parents may be a few years younger than you, but you sure appear to be their age!
Kim: Thank you. You know what? The real truth is I don't go there and I don't really care. But I do really wish we had more of the European feeling of age in this country because it has put so much pressure not just on the women, but on the men and the children, too. It's sad to see a little 8 year-old like my own look at the other girls and start holding in her stomach. My daughter is as thin as a rail. I mean, I have trouble keeping weight on her. And already they are evaluating their own bodies and that is sad. So I hope to adopt that same attitude as I get older and bring it in to my home.
Lynn Barker is a Hollywood-based entertainment journalist and produced screenwriter.