Bankruptcy can be messy and painful. Just ask the folks of Braselton, Ga., the town that actress Kim Basinger “bought” in 1989 with big plans to turn it into a historic theme park. Many of the residents stand to lose their homes and their jobs if Basinger—who was born in nearby Athens, Ga.—cannot resolve a complicated lawsuit with a Hollywood studio and her subsequent bankruptcy petition.
Without a resolution, her assets, including Braselton’s tum-of-the-century houses and stores, must be sold to pay her creditors. Says Terry Kitchens, 52, who has lived in Braselton all his life: “If they say ‘move out,’ I get 30 days to load up.”
The problems began in 1993, when a | Los Angeles jury ordered Basinger to § pay Main Line Pictures Inc. $11 million g after she bowed out of Boxing Helena at § the last minute. Instead of paying the | award, Basinger launched an appeal and 5 set the bankruptcy in motion. And although the star, who commands $4 million per film, is not talking about the lawsuits, court documents reveal she has done some serious belt-tightening, slashing her
monthly expenses from $58,000 to $42,000. In former times, Basinger was used to spending $9,500 a month for “pet care and other personal expenses” and $8,300 a month on clothes. Times are tough.
STIRRING UP TROUBLE
According to David James Elliot acting on the top-ranked nighttime soap Melrose Place is “a great gig.” Starting this month, the Toronto-born actor will appear in four episodes as Terry Parsons, a recovering alcoholic football star who stirs up trouble among the regular cast of characters, including Heather Locklear and Courtney Thome-Smith. Winning such roles in Los Angeles, where he now lives, can be difficult. “I have had to lose a lot of my Canadianisms,” says Elliot. “There are words that Canadians use or pronounce differently—‘out and about.’ They ask you that in an audition and you can get pegged right away.” But the 34-year-old actor, who was a regular playing Nick Delgado on the now-defunct CBC drama Street Legal, is used to the demand for a generic voice. “It happens in Canada, too,” he says. “It’s just a factor of the business. If you listen real hard, you’ll notice that, unless it’s in the script, no one has identifiable accents.” Pity.
A WINNING STREAK
Renée Missel has a long list of credits to her name and a solid reputation in the film industry. The Montrealborn producer has worked on such hit movies as Slapshot and The Main Event, rubbing shoulders with Hollywood’s brightest stars—Paul Newman, Barbra Streisand and Richard Gere. Now, with the release of Nell, starring Jodie Foster and Liam Neeson, Missel appears to have another winner on her hands. After more than 20 years in the business, she attributes part of her success to the break she took in 1984, when she returned to university to earn an MA in psychology. “Let me tell you, it really comes in handy on the set,” she says. Still, producing Nell did not demand “any serious psychology.” Adds Missel: “Working | with Jodie, Liam and Natasha Richardson was a delight.
There was a huge quantity of talent and grace in the cast and * crew.” Spoken like a pro. Foster (left), Missel: ‘talent and grace’
Live theatre can be intimidating. Shakespeare can be challenging. Putting the two together and adding movie star Keanu Reeves in the lead role can be downright “scary,” says actress Iiisa Repo-Martell. Repo-Martell plays Ophelia opposite Reeves—the star of last summer’s fast-action mega-hit Speed—in the Manitoba Theatre Centre’s presentation of Hamlet, opening this week in Winnipeg. While international attention from the media and Reeves’s fans have put the spotlight on the production, Repo-Martell says the cast and crew have one thing in mind—
“a good show.” She adds: “Keanu is really into this and we are all working together to make this a success. There is none of that ‘star vibe’ coming from him. Just like the rest of us, he is another actor, working his craft.” And even though many theatregoers in the soldout audiences may be Reeves’s fans, Repo-Martell says his sex-symbol status is unlikely to disrupt the play. “I think that Keanu’s fans know how important this is to him,” says the 23-year-old Toronto-based actress. “I don’t think we will see a bunch of screaming fools.”
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