What the Hell Happened to Sean Young?
In the 80’s, Sean Young was a rising star. She co-starred with Harrison Ford, Bill Murray, Kevin Costner and James Woods. She worked with directors Ridley Scott, David Lynch and Oliver Stone. She was cast in the star-making role of Vicki Vale in the 1989 Batman. And then, she became a cautionary tale of career implosion.
What the hell happened?
Sean Young came to Hollywood after working as a model and studying ballet in New York. In 1980, Young made her movie debut in the Merchant Ivory production, Jane Austen in Manhattan. The movie was shown on the BBC and received a limited theatrical release. Young summed up her performance thusly, “Thank God the character was a space cadet because I knew nothing.”
She was auditioned twice by Steven Spielberg for the Marion part in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Ultimately, Spielberg decided the actress was “too green”.
In 1981, Young appeared in the comedy classic, Stripes:
Young was cast based on her look. Director Ivan Reitman liked what he called Young’s “sweetness” which he thought would go well with Harold Ramis on-screen. It was a small part, but Young made the most of her screen time as the future Egon Spangler’s girlfriend.
Stripes got mostly positive reviews and was a hit at the box office.
The next year, Young appeared in two films. The first was the forgettable Garry Marshall spoof, Young Doctors in Love. The movie had a talented cast and attempted to do for daytime soaps what Airplane! did for disaster movies. But alas, it just wasn’t very good.
As you can see from the clip, it comes close to getting a laugh. But the timing is off. Whereas Airplane! fired off gags at a machine-gun pace, YDiL just limps from yuk to yuk. And that’s probably more than anyone has written about Young Doctors in Love in at least a decade.
The other movie Sean Young made in 1982 was Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner.
Blade Runner was a visionary sci fi film that wasn’t appreciated when it was released in 1982. But today, it has gained mainstream acceptance from critics and audiences alike. It has influenced countless films with its dystopian view of a future where it never seems to stop raining.
Young played Rachel, a replicant (robot) who doesn’t know she’s not human. She’s obviously beautiful, but Young also manages to be vulnerable and mysterious.
Although Blade Runner was not a hit in 1982, it will probably be the part Sean Young is most remembered for.
Next: Dune and No Way Out
Posted on May 21, 2011, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actress and tagged blade runner, David Lynch, Dune, Harrison Ford, Kevin Costner, Ridley Scott, Sean Young, Young. Bookmark the permalink. 241 Comments.