What the Hell Happened to Kim Basinger?


She’s been a Bond girl, Batman’s girlfriend and a corpse in a Tom Petty video.  Most recently, she played Zach Effron’s mom.  What the hell happened?  The easy answer is that Kim Basinger was a sex symbol who got old.  But the story of Basinger’s career is far more interesting than the easy answer would lead you to believe.

Like a lot of the actresses, Basinger got her start as a model.  She then transitioned on to TV shows like Starskey and Hutch and Charlie’s Angels.  Following that, she broke into films with films like Hard Country and Mother Lode.

basinger - never say never

Basinger’s breakout role was opposite Sean Connery in Never Say Never Again.

After Diamonds are Forever, Connery had vowed never to play James Bond again.  However, he reconsidered.  And in 1983 he returned to the role.  The title is a winking nod to Connery’s earlier comments.

Never Say Never Again is an odd entry in the Bond franchise.  It was not produced by Eon Productions like most of the Bond films.  Instead, it was a remake of Thunderball based on a settlement deal surrounding Fleming’s original novel.

In the summer of 1983, Connery and Roger Moore had dueling James Bond films as a result.

As it turns out, there was room for two James Bond movies that summer.  Although Roger Moore’s Octopussy outperformed Never Say Never Again, both films were hits.

basinger - playboy

To promote Never Say Never Again, Basinger posed nude for Playboy.  Basinger actually credits the Playboy shoot with helping her land the role in Barry Levinson’s baseball film, The Natural.

Basinger - The Man Who Loved Women

But first, let me make a passing mention that in 1983 Basinger also appeared in the Blake Edwards comedy, The Man Who Loved Women starring Burt Reynolds.

Kim Basinger - The Natural - 1984

Kim Basinger – The Natural – 1984

Never Say Never Again, the Playboy shoot (and maybe even the Burt Reynolds movie) caught the attention of Barry Levinson.  When he was looking for a femme fatale to seduce Robert Redford in The Natural, he called upon Basinger.

Basinger was perfect for the role conveying the glamour of the era as well as the necessary sex appeal.  She was rewarded with her first Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

Kim Basinger - Fool For Love - 1985

Kim Basinger – Fool For Love – 1985

Up to this point, Basinger has worked with an impressive collection of directors.  Never Say Never Again was directed by Irvin Kirshner (director of The Empire Strikes Back), The Man Who Loves Women was directed by Blake Edwards and The Natural was directed by Barry Levinson.  But her next film, Fool for Love, was directed by none other than Robert Altman!

I haven’t done the research, but I venture to guess that no other actress has gone from Bond and Playboy to Altman in three films or less.

Fool For Love was not a box office hit.  But it got very positive reviews and helped to legitimize Basinger as an actress and not just a pretty face.

basinger - 912 weeks

In 1986, Basinger worked with another visionary director, Adrian Lyne, in the erotic drama, 9 1/2 Weeks.  Basinger and co-star Mickey Rourke played a couple who push their sexual boundaries until Basinger’s character reaches her limit.  The sex scenes were artfully done, but the film was scandalous at the time.

Reviews for 9 1/2 Weeks were mixed.  Some critics considered it borderline soft core porn.  But most praised the genuine performances by Rourke and Basinger.

At the time of its release, 9 1/2 Weeks bombed at the box office.  But it became very popular overseas and eventually developed a cult following.  A direct to video sequel and prequel were both eventually produced.

Next: Blind Date and My Stepmother is an Alien

Posted on February 5, 2012, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actress and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 653 Comments.

  1. Deader Than Disco / Film


    During the 1980s and early ’90s, Kim Basinger was not only one of the most sought after actresses in Hollywood but also one of its biggest sex symbols (serving as Hollywood’s epitome of “the blonde bombshell”). Basinger with personality traits of shyness and sensitivity along with incredible physical beauty and sensuality, was arguably, the closest ’80s equivalent to Marilyn Monroe. After working as a fashion model and gradually paying her dues in films like the unofficial James Bond film Never Say Never Again, The Man Who Loves Women, The Natural, Fool for Love, 9 1/2 Weeks, No Mercy, Nadine, Blind Date, and My Stepmother Is An Alien, Basigner officially reached the A-list when she was cast as Vicki Vale in Tim Burton’s 1989 blockbuster Batman. Ironically, the Vicki Vale role was originally meant for Sean Young, who had to back out at the last minute after breaking her collarbone in a horseback riding accident. Shortly after Batman however, a series of events threatened to derail her career completely. Around the same time that Batman was out, Basinger dropped $20 million dollars to buy the entire town of Braselton, Georgia. The idea was to establish a tourism industry built around a Kim Basinger film festival. Five years later, she sold the town for a mere $1 million dollars. In 1991, Basinger co-starred along with her future husband Alec Baldwin (sometime before this, Basinger started up a very public affair with the pop star, Prince, who recording music for the Batman soundtrack) in the Neil Simon comedy The Marrying Man. Produced for $26 million, The Marrying Man only grossed $12,454,758 and currently, has a 10% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Odds are, you would’ve forgotten The Marrying Man had it not been for the infamous behind-the-scenes fights upon its initial release. Basinger in particular, insisted that the director of photography be replaced because she didn’t look like how she looked in the test shots that he had taken. That wasn’t all. Four weeks into filming, she asked to change the dialogue, telling the screenwriter, “Whoever wrote this scene doesn’t understand comedy.” Basinger also kept production waiting on the set due to her elaborate morning routine, which included washing her hair with only Evian water and shampoo. Also, Basinger wouldn’t settle for having her makeup touched up between close-up shots. No, she had to have her makeup completely removed and re-applied between takes, something that made filming take about 20x longer than it should have. To top all of this, Basinger reportedly, did not wear underwear on the set and was very forthcoming with what she wanted to do to her co-star in between takes. Basinger followed up The Marrying Man the erotic thriller, Final Analysis, which reteamed Basinger with her No Mercy co-star, Richard Gere. Final Analysis was released a month before Basic Instinct and was part of a wave of “erotic thrillers” that started with Fatal Attraction. But reviews were mixed and the movie tanked, grossing $28,590,66 million on a $33 million budget. Next for Basinger, was Ralph Bakshi’s live action/animation hybrid, Cool World. Ralph Bakshi was so dismayed by the film’s reception (it only grossed $14,110,589 against $28 million budget and has a 4% rating on Rotten Tomatos) and Executive Meddling (which included Basinger bowdlerizing the movie to show for sick hospital children even though that was not the intention of Bakshi at all) that he eventually retired from filmmaking. The following year, Basinger teamed with Val Kilmer on the heist flick, The Real Mc Coy, which also mixed to negative reviews (with a 20% rating on Rotten Tomatoes) and bombed at the box office (grossing only $6,484,246).

    However, the biggest story of 1993 for Kim Basinger (well, besides her appearance as Tom Petty’s corpse girlfriend in his “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” music video) was Boxing Helena, a movie Basinger did not even appear in. To make a long story short, just before filming was supposed to begin Basinger got cold feet about playing a woman being held hostage by her possessive ex who winds up amputating her limbs off to keep her dependent on him and falling back in love with him. Not surprisingly, the makers of Boxing Helena sued. What is surprising is that they were awarded an unprecedented settlement of $8.1 million for Basinger’s breach of her verbal contract. Eventually, the verdict was voided. Basinger signed an out-of-court settlement for $3.8 million dollars. But the damage was done. Between her costly legal battles and the failure of her investment in the town of Braselton, Basinger filed for bankruptcy. In 1994, Basinger again co-starred with Alec Baldwin, now her husband, in the remake of the 1972 Steve McQueen/Ali Mc Graw crime drama film The Getaway. Despite some buzz if not controversy over a steamy steamy sex scene between Basinger and Baldwin, it was not enough to make The Getaway a hit. It received negative reviews (with a 33% rating on Rotten Tomatoes) and bombed at the box office (grossing only $16,096,000 ). Ultimately, faced with lawsuits, bankruptcy and a string of box office flops, Basinger retreated from Hollywood for a few years.

    But three years later, Basinger was primed for a comeback, which came in the form of Curtis Hanson’s gritty film noir, L.A. Confidential. Basinger’s performance as glamorous, sexy femme fatale earned Basinger an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. In one fell swoop, Basinger appeared to be back on Hollywood’s A-list and of course, at the peak of her career. Despite the overwhelming success of LA Confidential, Basinger didn’t jump right back into starring roles. She didn’t release another movie for three years. In 2000, Basinger finally followed up LA Confidential with I Dreamed Of Africa and the supernatural thriller, Bless the Child. Both received bad reviews (I Dreamed Of Africa earned a 10% Rotten Tomatoes rating) and underwhelmed at the box office (I Dreamed Of Africa only grossed $15 million against $50 million budget while Bless The Child only grossed $40,443,010 worldwide against a $65 million budget). Nonetheless, Basinger’s three year hiatus (one way or another), successfully ensured any hype she had fizzled out. Shortly after the one-two punch of I Dreamed Of Africa and Bless The Child, Basinger and Alec Baldwin filed for divorce. This lead to a long, drawn out custody battle over their daughter Ireland. Baldwin in the process, accused Basinger of blocking him from seeing or talking to his daughter, ignoring court orders and trying to turn Ireland against him. Six years later, that battle would become public when Baldwin left some angry phone messages for their daughter. In hindsight, Basinger’s ugly divorce and custody battle with Alec Baldwin overshadowed her professional work and her career has never been the same. Basinger did enjoy a minor reprieve when she reunited with her LA Confidential as Eminem’s mother in the semi-autobiographical box office hit 8 Mile. Unfortunately, she was arguably utterly forgettable as a character etched in the collective rap fan consciousness. Eminem’s biting and scathing rhymes about his mother’s bad parenting are so iconic that Basinger’s performance retreated into the shadows. Since that time, her career has been on a slow decline with few notable hot points and she for the most part, has disappeared from the limelight. Rightly or wrongly, Basinger (who has suffered from major anxiety issues and agoraphobia for most of her life) has in recent years, earned a reputation as a serious recluse while devoting most of her time to animal activism. While Basinger continued to work, it’s mostly been in smaller films that most people have probably never seen or heard of (namely, limited release films and straight-to-DVD dramas). For example, in 2008, Basinger appeared in (and helped produced) the Christmas themed thriller While She Was Out, which soon got reviewed by Matthew “Film Brain” Buck on Bad Movie Beatdown. Basinger did enjoy a modest hit playing a damsel-in-distress in 2004’s thriller Cellular (which grossed $56,422,687 against a $25 million budget), but since that time, Basinger has appeared in a string of small films and box office disappointments, where she’s relegated to small supporting roles. The highest profile of which were The Sentinel in 2006 and Charlie St Cloud in 2010. Also, when Basinger was cast in 2009’s The Informers (which received a 13% rating on Rotten Tomatoes), the movie never moved past limited release, and it only grossed a paltry $300,000. Once she won her Oscar, it seemed as if Hollywood stopped paying her much attention… even when she appears in high profile movies. To put things in proper perspective, in 2013, Basinger appeared in alongside Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, Alan Arkin, and Kevin Hart in Grudge Match; of those five actors, the Oscar-winning actress was nowhere to be found in the movie trailers. To add insult to injury, Grudge Match only grossed $29,807,260 (domestic), $44,907,260 (worldwide) against $40 million budget. As previously stated, while Basinger still works sporadically (as of this writing, she is due to appear in Shane Black’s The Nice Guys and the sequel to Fifty Shades of Grey), she’s now a days, primarily associated and known for her acrimonious split from Alec Baldwin and for their contentious custody battle over their daughter Ireland (also as previously mentioned). Or, Kim Basinger is often pointed towards as an example of actors/actresses whose careers immediately went downhill after winning an Academy Award. And finally, Basinger is often seen as a poster child for the classic excuse of being simply being a sex symbol who just too got old. Even Kim Basinger’s much filmography (including her 1980s-early ’90s prime), outside of Batman (for purely nostalgic reasons) and her Oscar winning role in LA Confidential is arguably, largely forgettable or cast aside. Even Basinger’s modestly successful starring vehicles like Blind Date and Cellular are now pretty much footnotes in helping launch the film careers of Bruce Willis (pre-Die Hard) and Chris Evans (pre-Captain America).


    • http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/DeaderThanDisco/Film

      During the 1980s and early ’90s, Kim Basinger was not only one of the most sought after actresses in Hollywood but also one of its biggest sex symbols (serving as Hollywood’s epitome of “the blonde bombshell”). Basinger with personality traits of shyness and sensitivity along with incredible physical beauty and sensuality, was arguably the closest ’80s equivalent to Marilyn Monroe. After working as a fashion model and gradually paying her dues in films like the unofficial James Bond film Never Say Never Again, Fool for Love, and Blind Date, Basigner officially reached the A-list as Vicki Vale in Tim Burton’s 1989 blockbuster Batman. Shortly after Batman however, a series of commercial duds and her ego problems badly damaged her career. Around the same time that Batman was out, Basinger spent $20 million to create a film studio and festival in Braselton, Georgia which was a commercial failure. In 1990s, Basinger starred in the comedy The Marrying Man alongside Alec Baldwin, the erotic thriller Final Analysis, and the live action/animation hybrid Cool World. All of them were commercial and critical failures overshadowed by Basinger’s clashes with the production teams. While working on The Marrying Man in particular, Basinger demanded that the director of photography be replaced, asked for a rewrite of the dialogue during filming, and stalled production with having her makeup completely removed and re-applied between takes instead of the more efficient method of touch-ups. Basinger followed up The Marrying Man, which also tanked despite the popularity of “erotic thrillers” and the publicity surrounding Basinger’s reunion with her No Mercy co-star, Richard Gere. Her collaboration with Ralph Bakshi on the was also a disaster. Bakshi was so dismayed by the film’s reception (it grossed only half of its $28 million budget and was savaged by critics) and Executive Meddling (which included Basinger censoring the movie to show for sick hospital children against Bakshi’s wishes) that he eventually retired from filmmaking. The following year, Basinger teamed with Val Kilmer on the heist flick, The Real Mc Coy, which also mixed to negative reviews and bombed the box office.
      However, the biggest story of 1993 for Kim Basinger was Boxing Helena, a movie that she did not even appear in. To make a long story short, just before filming was supposed to begin, Basinger got cold feet about playing a woman held hostage and amputated by her possessive ex only to fall back in love with him. Not surprisingly, the makers of Boxing Helena sued, leading to Basinger signing an out-of-court settlement for $3.8 million dollars. But the damage was done. Between her costly legal battles, box office bombs, and failed investments, Basinger filed for bankruptcy. In 1994, Basinger again co-starred with Alec Baldwin, now her husband, in the remake of the 1972 crime drama film The Getaway. Despite some buzz if not controversy over some steamy sex scenes, it was not enough to make The Getaway a hit. Ultimately (and all as previously mentioned), faced with lawsuits, bankruptcy and a string of box office flops, Basinger retreated from Hollywood for a few years.
      Three years later, Basinger was primed for a comeback in the form of Curtis Hanson’s 1997 film noir, L.A. Confidential. Basinger’s performance as glamorous, sexy femme fatale earned her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, putting her back on Hollywood’s A-list. Despite the overwhelming success of LA Confidential, Basinger didn’t jump right back into starring roles until I Dreamed Of Africa and Bless the Child in 2000. Both received bad reviews and underwhelmed at the box office, killing the momentum of her Oscar win. Shortly after the one-two punch of I Dreamed Of Africa and Bless The Child, Basinger and Alec Baldwin filed for divorce. During the divorce proceedings, the two entered a tumultuous custody battle over their daughter, which only overshadowed her professional work. Since then, her career has been on a slow decline with Basinger only starring in low-budget movies and becoming a recluse. Her most high-profile role since was in 8 Mile with Eminem where she played his character’s mother. Once she won her Oscar, it seemed as if Hollywood stopped paying her much attention even when she appears in high profile movies. To put things in proper perspective, Basinger appeared in alongside Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, Alan Arkin, and Kevin Hart in the 2013 Grudge Match; of those five actors, the Oscar-winning actress was nowhere to be found in the movie trailers. To add insult to injury, Grudge Match only grossed $29,807,260 domestically and $44,907,260 worldwide against a $40 million budget. Nowadays, Basinger is more known for her bitter clashes with Hollywood figures, her lack of bankability, and being “Mom’s Spaghetti” from “Lose Yourself”, than being an actress. Even most of Kim Basinger’s filmography, aside from films like Batman, LA Confidential, and 8 Mile that are remembered on their own merit, is largely forgettable, with most of her other films remembered as vehicles in launching the careers of such stars as Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lawrence, and Chris Evans.


  2. Re: Unpopular Opinion: She’s The Man Is Better Than Mean Girls


    Stephanie McMahon is a relevant character on a TV show that I keep up with and watch bits and pieces of about every week. You won’t be finding a whole lotta postings in my history of me mentioning her. The same however can’t be said about your musings on Kim Basinger – whom I might add is no longer a relevant celebrity in the spotlight.

    (Sun May 8 2016 22:47:34)

    How thick are you? You post about Kim Basinger constantly. The sooner you understand that the sooner you can move forward.


  3. Kim Basinger proves she’s still got it at 62 in tuxedo at premiere http://dailym.ai/1rFBmqI


    • Russell Crowe: ‘Kim Basinger will always be my pal’


      Russell Crowe and Kim Basinger made such a strong connection on L.A. Confidential that it’s remained despite never seeing each other.

      The two starred together in the double Oscar-winning movie in 1997, which includes a best supporting actress gong for Kim, and have teamed up once again for new flick The Nice Guys. While the set-up is totally different this time around, Russell admits the “intimate” bond the pair forged all those years ago has remained strong.

      “It was great seeing Kim again,” he smiled to Cover Media. “We were talking and realised we hadn’t been in the same room together for over a decade, but it is a very different cinematic relationship than before.

      “We had so many hours together on L.A. Confidential that we had a very intimate friendship and that still remains. That is the funny thing about this business, you can go on a cycle and not see each other for years but if you connected you still connect the next time you see each other, so it was great to see her and all that but a very different work experience this time.”


    • This is probably really unfair (since many actors have issues w/ this), but I’ve noticed that more than often, Kim Basinger’s movies (including “The Nice Guys”) have technically bombed at the box office (i.e. they failed to brake even and be profitable). I don’t know if that’s much of an indication of how poorly she often chooses roles or simply a case of bad luck and timing:

      Bless the Child (2000) — Budget, $65 million. Box office, $40,443,010. Writer Tom Rickman was cursed with only writing TV movies after this (one of which was The Reagans, which was released months before Ronald Reagan’s passing.)

      Cool World (1992) — Budget, $28 million. Box office, $14,110,589. Director Ralph Bakshi was so dismayed by the film’s reception and Executive Meddling (which included star Kim Basinger bowdlerizing the movie to show for sick hospital children even though that was not the intention of Bakshi at all) that he eventually retired from filmmaking. Cool World was also one of a few flops in the early 90’s that melted the A-list career of Basinger, and film helmer Frank Mancuso’s career was downgraded to B-level status ever since.

      Final Analysis (1992) — Budget, $33 million. Box office, $28,590,665. One of a few flops in the early 90’s that melted the A-list career of Kim Basinger.

      Grudge Match (2013) — Budget, $40 million. Box office, $29,807,260 (domestic), $44,907,260 (worldwide).

      The Marrying Man (1991) — Budget, $26 million. Box office, $12,454,758. Dashed Kim Basinger’s hopes of being a singer, and one of a few flops in the early 90’s that melted her A-list career.

      My Stepmother Is An Alien (1988) — Budget, $26 million. Box office, $13,854,000 (domestic). One of a handful of 1988/1989 films that caused the Weintraub Entertainment Group to implode right out of the gates, and one of the movies that ended Coca-Cola’s control over Columbia and caused their merger with Tristar and Sony.

      The Nice Guys (2016) — Budget, $50 million. Box office, $33,364,096 (domestic), $50,364,096 (worldwide). Despite glowing reviews from critics, this was released in the midst of one of the ugliest box office summers in cinema history, and could not make up the budget as a result despite almost all of the big-budget competition getting worse reviews than Nice Guys got.

      Waynes World 2 (1993) — Budget, $40 million. Box office, $48.2 million (domestic). While this take on Wayne and Garth had a budget that was double that of the original sleeper classic, it was not considered as fresh as the original, and it didn’t have the same director because she had fallen out with star Mike Myers over the difficulty of working with him (she directed The Beverly Hillbillies instead, which was a financial success but was actually disdained by critics). Paramount and NBC let the Wayne’s World sketch lie in the culture nostalgia corner after this film, but this would be one of the last times an SNL-based film would be taken seriously before it started getting derailed with It’s Pat! the next year.


  4. Kim Basinger: “Children Are Our Greatest Teachers”


    In 2001, actress Kim Basinger filed for divorce from actor and then-husband, Alec Baldwin, and even in an industry known for its acrimonious splits, theirs was a particularly bitter breakup. The next few years were rocky ones, as Basinger and Baldwin endured a nasty custody dispute over their daughter, Ireland. For years the battle filled tabloid headlines; the couple eventually settled on joint custody, with Basinger and Ireland living in Los Angeles and Baldwin flying from New York City to visit his daughter.

    As a Solo Mom, Basinger tried to raise her daughter to be strong and confident. “Ireland and I have gone through many challenges,” the actress told Elle in 2015. “I’m a single mom, so we were joined at the hip. . . . She’s had her challenges and her struggles with relationships. I always tried to be sincere in sending messages to her that she could do anything in the world. . . . I see her getting there. She’s a strong girl, and another gifted woman on this planet.”

    Basinger, who over the years has appeared in films ranging from an Academy Award–winning performance in L.A. Confidential to 8 Mile, has said she turned down movie roles when Ireland was growing up because she didn’t want to be away from her daughter. “I was there for everything,” Basinger told the Los Angeles Times in 2015. “She played soccer, she played basketball. You don’t want to miss that. I felt it was so important at least for one parent to be there all the time.”

    In recent years, the actress has appeared in movies such as Fifty Shades Darker, due out in 2017, and the intense drama The 11th Hour, where Basinger plays a business executive who, after being told she is too old to carry a baby to term, sets out on a dangerous quest to find a child on her own. The actress credits her raw performance in The 11th Hour to her daughter. “What I have learned about children is that they are our greatest teachers,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “You are in their classroom. If you miss out on that, then you have missed out on a full ride. I know she’s taught me a lot.”

    According to Ireland, who grew to be six feet two and became a model at 17, Basinger has given her good advice in turn. “My mom taught me to go on and have fun and avoid everyone else’s comments and avoid what people are going to say about you,” she told Access Hollywood in 2013. When her early modeling efforts drew a mixed (and sometimes mean-spirited) response, she says both her parents offered encouragement.

    Growing up can be a journey, of course, and in 2015, Ireland checked herself into the SOBA Recovery Center in Malibu, California, seeking treatment for emotional trauma. She’s doing great now, according to her mom. “Kids go through things,” Basinger told the Los Angeles Times. “She’s only 19. We’ve all made choices and been around wrong people, and she took her own step in the right direction.”

    These days, Ireland is moving forward. In an April 2016 interview with Paper Mag, she shares that she’s “focusing on acting more and more,” though she still loves modeling. She loves her dogs; she likes to read and write.

    And Basinger? She is proud of her statuesque daughter: “If I didn’t know [Ireland],” the actress says, “I would be happy to meet her.”


    • I hate to dig into other people’s business if you will, but Kim seems to be extremely inattentive or in denial regarding her daughter. There are numerous blind items (on sites such as Crazy Days & Nights) that insinuate that Ireland Baldwin as a serious cocaine problem. Ireland’s rehab for “emotional trauma” therefore, was complete and utter BS. Kim also seems to be nonreactive towards her daughter’s embarrassing and sleazy attempts at exhibitionism .It seems like if something bad happens to Ireland, we first and foremost pin most of the blame on Alec because of his reputation for being an angry a$$hole.


  5. The Curious Career of Kim Basinger


    The Oscar-winning actress has never quite shaken the bizarre stigma that comes with being a sex symbol.

    The twisty 1997 crime drama L.A. Confidential starred a murderer’s row of top-tier actors: Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, James Cromwell. But when Oscar season rolled around, only one of the film’s stars took home a prize for acting: Kim Basinger. “If anyone has a dream out there,” said Basinger as she accepted the trophy, “just know that I’m living proof that they do come true.”

    The irony, of course, was that Basinger had achieved her Hollywood dream by playing a woman who had failed to achieve it. Basinger’s L.A. Confidential character, Lynn Bracken, was a failed actress-turned-prostitute who went through plastic surgery so she could conform to a fantasy entertained by a number of wealthy johns: a one-night stand with screen starlet Veronica Lake. In the end, Bracken does get her own kind of Hollywood ending, riding off into the sunset with Bud White, the L.A.P.D. cop played by Russell Crowe.

    Today, nearly 20 years after L.A. Confidential first graced theaters, there’s an unlikely kind of second chapter. Basinger and Crowe have reunited on the big screen for The Nice Guys—but the power dynamics have shifted. This time, Crowe is a lunkheaded enforcer so low-rent that he doesn’t even have a P.I. license, let alone a badge. And Basinger is the head of Los Angeles’ Justice Department, exercising colossal political power in a missing-persons case in which she has a very personal interest.

    It’s not quite a comeback. Over the years, Basinger has occasionally turned up in wife/mom roles in movies like Charlie St. Cloud, and Grudge Match, and she toplined a long-gestating passion project called The 11th Hour, which arrived on VOD last summer. But unless you’ve been actively following Basinger’s career over the past decade, it’s still a little startling when she suddenly pops up in The Nice Guys—like stumbling into an old friend you rarely think of and never visit.

    Hollywood has an exceedingly short memory, so it’s easy to forget how omnipresent Basinger was in the 1980s and 1990s. She costarred in a miniseries remake of the Best Picture-winning drama From Here to Eternity. She held her own opposite James Bond and Batman. She worked with directors as varied and talented as Robert Altman, Adrian Lyne, and Robert Benton. She earned a Golden Globe nomination for her supporting turn in The Natural. There were also costly mistakes; at the height of her career, Basinger turned down starring roles in both Thelma & Louise and Sleepless in Seattle.

    But even as her acting career was pushing forward, the tabloid headlines were beginning to overwhelm her body of work. Basinger was linked to a string of purported high-profile romances: Richard Gere, Prince, and Alec Baldwin, who she married in 1993. That same year, a protracted legal battle between Basinger and Main Line Pictures over a bizarre erotic drama called Boxing Helena ended in disaster when a jury decided that Basinger had breached an oral contract by first agreeing to star, and later pulling out of the project. She was ordered to pay $7.4 million—a decision that sent her into Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
    Hollywood is a difficult business at the best of times, but it’s particularly cruel to its sex symbols. Basinger, as the Hollywood trades repeatedly reminded everyone, had posed for a full-frontal Playboy centerfold spread that ran in 1983. Many of her buzziest roles explicitly cast her as a sex symbol; when she branched out, in films like the under-seen comedy Nadine, the audience didn’t follow.

    And then, in 1995, Basinger did something considered unthinkable by most Hollywood stars on the rise: She stopped acting. At the height of her career, she spent a few years not acting, and might have continued that way if L.A. Confidential director Curtis Hanson hadn’t aggressively sought her out for the role. “Having played so many sexpots and femme fatales in the past, [Basinger] didn’t want to play a prostitute in L.A. Confidential,” reported the Los Angeles Times. The film’s casting director, Ed Johnston, summed it up in a single sentence: “She started out as a sex symbol, and the powers that be in Hollywood couldn’t see her as anything else.”

    L.A. Confidential was an ideal showcase for Basinger, and following the film’s exceptionally well-received premiere at Cannes, the actress was showered with praise by many outlets that had previously written her off and drubbed her—a coronation that ended with the Oscar statuette. So how did Basinger respond? By taking another hiatus from acting. When she returned in 2000, it was for a passion project: a big-screen adaptation of Kuki Gallmann’s memoir I Dreamed of Africa. Though Basinger’s performance was widely praised, the film tanked. In the years that followed, Basinger acted only sparingly—most notably, she re-teamed with L.A. Confidential director Hanson to play Eminem’s mother in 8 Mile.

    Basinger’s career is a complicated one to parse. Some of her breaks from acting were clearly her choice; in interviews, she’s quick to describe how much of her focus since 1995 has been on raising Ireland, her daughter with Alec Baldwin. Some of her movies were terrible and justly panned. But it’s still a little galling to see Basinger opposite her L.A. Confidential costar Crowe in The Nice Guys—gray and paunchy, in one of the sharpest leading roles of his career, while she languishes in an underdeveloped and underwritten bit part at the periphery of the narrative. This remains the reality for the vast majority of Hollywood actresses, and particularly those who were so explicitly lauded for their sex appeal, as Melanie Griffith, Kathleen Turner, and Kelly Le Brock could attest. At the very least, it’s hard to imagine Basinger’s similarly aged male costars being subjected to an insipid Q&A like this one:

    But if we’re not quite in the midst of a Basinger-aissance, there’s at least one more role on her docket that’s higher-profile than anything she’s done in at least a decade. In an elegant bit of casting, next year’s Fifty Shades of Grey sequel Fifty Shades Darker has cast Basinger as Elena Lincoln, the “Mrs. Robinson” who seduced the teenaged Christian Grey and paved the way for his sadomasochistic sexual preferences. It’s another role that hearkens back to a key touchstone in Basinger’s career—in this case, playing a woman in the midst of a sadomasochistic sexual affair in 1986’s 9 1/2 Weeks. And if it’s yet another sex symbol role in a career that has turned out to be narrower and more limiting than the one Basinger might have chosen — well, at least she’s the one in control.


    • Here’s The “Fifty Shades Darker” Trailer: Now With Even Less Sexiness And Charisma!


      In the first Fifty Ss of Boring movie, Dakota Johnson and pretty wooden post Jamie Dornan had the chemistry of two paper bowls full of overcooked Malt-O-Meal. I figured that the only way Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele could look less like they wanted to f each other is if the roles were recast with John Travolta and Kelly Preston. But it looks like the makers of the sequel Fifty Shits Darker somehow managed to make the second movie even less sexier than the first one. Congrats to them!

      The trailer for Fifty Shits Darker was released today, and besides every single trick looking like their Ambien just kicked in, this mess looks like it’s part watered down remake of Eyes Wide Shut and part horror movie. There’s a helicopter crash! There’s Kim Basinger coming at Jamie Dornan while thinking to herself, “F*** my career.” There’s an angry dude coming at Dakota. And there’s a spooky chick who keeps stalking Dakota. The producers should definitely try to re-market this as a horror movie. I mean, I have a feeling that Fifty S***s Darker is going to leave most of the audience screaming. They’ll be screaming at themselves for paying actual money for this crap, and they’ll be screaming at Kim Basinger and Hugh Dancy for needing a check that bad.

      IMDB tells me that James Foley, who directed Fifty Shits Darker, also directed Who’s That Girl. The phrase “How the mighty have fallen!” has never been so fitting.


    • Kim probably short-cut herself by during the height of her marriage to Alec Baldwin, promoted herself as sort of a packaged deal with him. I think that her being so forth coming about the fact that she was married to him, kind of turned her male fans off (and any women who were aware of Baldwin’s more unsettling part of his personality) It got even worse when she wanted as hard as possible, promote herself as a “doting mom” at the expense of her career.

      Kim was probably already starting to dabble in “mom roles” in she did “The Real McCoy” back in 1993. But by the time that she did “LA Confidential”, she was already well into her 40s. While Kim was still incredibly beautiful, she couldn’t exactly play “hookers with a heart a gold” forever. It seemed like she started becoming a bit lost as she was getting older. Kim arguably wasn’t charismatic or wide-ranging enough to truly be successful in solo vehicles (of course, it all depended on the right director and right script/project), but she couldn’t plausibly keep up the “sexy blonde bombshell” up as she got older w/o it coming across as creepy or cringe-inducing.

      It didn’t help that her marital problems started to greatly interfere with her professional work.


  6. The Curious Career of Kim Basinger


    The Oscar-winning actress has never quite shaken the bizarre stigma that comes with being a sex symbol.


    • https://www.facebook.com/groups/thecinefiles/permalink/10153996655440795/?comment_id=10153996672250795&comment_tracking=%7B%22tn%22%3A%22R2%22%7D

      I think it’s just a combination of Hollywood’s problem with older women, and the fact that, aside from L.A. Confidential, she’s just never really showed she had any real range. There seems to be a charisma vacuum with her.


    • Does this ring true to Kim Basinger also:

      I remember reading or hearing at some point that Tina Louise** was pretty upset that Mary Ann got so much more fan mail than Ginger did, considering the fact that Ginger was supposed to be the irresistible sexpot.

      But, well, here you go. This is why the Mary Anns will always win against the Gingers: sexiness fades. It has to. At a certain point you either stop trying to be sexy, or your attempts to stay sexy become embarrassing. (See Mae West’s later years. Or…don’t.)

      Mary Ann never tried to be sexy. She was naturally attractive, but it was in a kind of wholesome, adorable way, and that’s what she embraced. That kind of beauty sticks around forever.


    • I don’t want to repeat what that GQ article said, but it’s quite obvious that Kim for whatever the reasons (whether it’s lack of true talent or simply how most people want to perceive her) couldn’t reconcile her sex symbol “stigma” if you want to call it that w/ anything else.

      I remember one of the earliest comments in this article that Kim set herself up in a trap by continuing to play “oversexed” roles well into her 40s when she should’ve just focused on being an “actresses”. The problem is that when she does try something else, it’s arguably in roles that either aren’t appropriate for her (e.g. “I Dreamed of Africa” and “Bless the Child”), sets out (intentional or not) to make her look bad (e.g. “Cellular” and “While She Was Out”), or so so thankless or malnourished on the surface that just about anybody could’ve done it (e.g. “Charlie St. Cloud”, “The Sentinel”, “Grudge Match”, and “The Nice Guys”)

      The smaller, indie movies that Kim has done in-between I would assume was Kim trying to get another “LA Confidential” style prestige project, but somehow, Kim hasn’t been able to get any real traction in her career. I think part of the issue stems from Kim not wanting to get involve to closely w/ the media/press, thus immediately giving forth the impression that she’s faded from the public’s consciousness.

      It’s as if all Kim Basinger really has now is her past (both on a personal and professional level). Kim Basinger rightly or wrongly, has mostly become pigeonholed for being Alec Baldwin’s ex-wife instead of her own film career.


  7. Jennifer Lawrence once told a room full of journalists that Kim Basinger died:


    • The sad irony about Jennifer Lawrence’s little misfired joke is that Kim Basinger is so reclusive and low-profile these days, that you can make a flippant joke about her being “dead” (for real not like in the Tom Petty video) and it would be easy to believe.


  8. Zac Efron: Joking His Way to Movie Stardom


    It was all but forgone that Efron would get a crack at movie stardom, and he did, but when that happened it was in winsome “crowd-pleasers” like “17 Again,” “Charlie St. Cloud,” and “The Lucky One.” Right away, audiences saw the downside of his teen mystique: He could play the beautiful and thoughtful boy next door, but as an actor, he lacked force and heft and danger. He didn’t know how to smolder. He was so flatly earnest that for all his likability, he came off as a bit of a lox. His looks began to seem like a limitation, maybe even a trap, because their effect was to emphasize a certain underlying passivity. It’s the Vincent Chase principle: If you look like Zac Efron, the whole world comes right to you, so why do you have to do anything — like, you know, act?


  9. Her 8 1/2 weeks costar rourke could use a article. He seems currently in the nic cage territory making movies that barely see light of day.


  10. Blind Items Revealed #2


    June 8, 2016

    This 80’s A+ list actress is now barely in demand for any movies. She used to be married to an A+ lister who has been A list for a few decades. Our actress stopped getting roles after she fired multiple directors and directors of photography because they were not shooting her the way she wanted. She also fired writers who didn’t give her enough dialogue.

    Kim Basinger/Alec Baldwin


    • Blind Items Revealed #40


      September 7, 2014

      This former A list mostly movie actress who kind of fell off the planet when she and the A list mostly television actor got divorced more than a decade ago has had her chances to work. Really famous for one iconic movie, the actress recently got a chance to star in an independent movie with a small budget and a great script. The budget was tiny but our actress wanted two separate trailers and cakes, yes cakes, delivered three times a day each day of shooting and had specific dimensions and flavors for each cake. Yeah, the producers passed and ended up landing two Academy Award winners/nominees for the lead roles.

      Kim Basinger/Vera Farmiga/Andy Garcia


    • I don’t know for sure how much weight that blind item has. I’m not denying that there have in the past, been rumors or allegations of Kim Basinger being a diva on movie sets. I think what happened in that regard (if it’s true that Kim was in essence, blackballed from getting more lead, mainstream roles) is that Kim simply wasn’t bankable enough of an actress to justify acting like said diva.

      I also won’t contend that Kim Basinger despite her great beauty, can sometimes come across as extremely neurotic, emotionally needy and flaky. For whatever the reasons, being an excessively “flaky” type of a woman (and not in a cute, quirky, “adorkable” kind of way) can be a major turn-off despite how physically attractive said woman may be. And I do find it ironic that Alec Baldwin continues to be “rewarded” so to speak, when he’s even worse of a human being than his ex-wife. So I do seriously think that sexism comes a bit into play.

      Kim was the type of actress whose big ticket to fame and success was her looks and sex appeal. I think that I said prior that Kim Basinger during her prime, was arguably the heir apparent to Marilyn Monroe. Once she got older and her “assets” lost their gravitas, Kim became relegated to otherwise thankless mom roles.

      I also think that Kim Basinger isn’t a enough of an ambitious, hardcore, firebrand careerist. This can explain why Kim went on three year intervals from 1994-1997 and again from 1997-2000 (in-between her supposedly career reviving Oscar win). Once she had her daughter, her priorities pretty much changed. The fact that Kim was/is already the last person that you would expect to be comfortable in the limelight, and would later experience through serious marital problems (and likely, the lasting emotional trauma from being around Alec Baldwin), and it’s quite easy to understand why her career essentially cooled down.

      I think that in part, Kim has taken smaller, indie-type roles because they require minimal effort (and theoretically, allow her to actually “act” and not just stand around and look pretty) than a larger scale production like when she did “Batman”. I sometimes think that Kim treats acting more like a hobby or a temporarily outlet to deal with her lifelong emotional issues. But she sometimes doesn’t entirely understand the politics behind the business.




    People have largely ignored Kim Basinger’s career post the turn century, perhaps because she was getting older, perhaps because her personal life kept blowing up in the tabloids. Whatever the case, it’s a sad state of affairs, considering that she’s only gotten better as an actress, in some cases turning out performances so flawlessly, you overlook that she’s acting. In 8 MILE, the movie that fictionalized Eminem’s real life, Kim is awesome as a whiny, needy, f*cked up mother who bones her son’s former classmate while her youngest child pretends to cover her ears. It’s horrific when you consider just how commonplace this type of behavior is out in the world.


  12. I watched Cellular last night. It was utterly painful. That’s the only Basinger film I’ve seen, thank god. I don’t think I’ll watch another.


    • Otherwise known as that movie where Jason Statham and his buddies kidnap Kim Basinger and her family, lock her in an attic and Kim tries to convince Captain America (despite the two never meeting before) to come to her aid! “Cellular” seemed to be one of those movies which called for Kim to display overly-hysterical emotions when crying out for help.

      I don’t know what the hell Kim was thinking when she designed she wanted to do that type of movie? It seemed like this was her own type of “female empowerment” (like that “While She Was Out” movie) as means of getting revenge so to speak against people in her past like Alec Baldwin.



    • I said in the “What Might Have Been” article on Kim Basinger that I think her main issue as an actress to a fault is that that she’s not very “even-keel” or nuanced. Kim is either very flat, charisma-less and lacking in screen presence (beyond her looks) or goes too far. Maybe because Kim is a naturally shy, insecure person in real life, that can easily translate for better or worse on screen. Kim’s “default modes” seems to appears to be being crazy-shaky-panicky. When she’s paired with a director who perhaps knows how to handle her (e.g. Curtis Hanson) but in decidedly less “skillful hands”,her default modes are brought out for the worst.

      And I think that “Cellular” is perhaps one of those movies. “Cellular seems like a movie that would’ve theoretically gone to say, Ashley Judd during her prime (since she seemed to specialize in the “woman in peril” sub-genre around this time), but went to Kim since she was relatively on the up again thanks to “8 Mile”. It’s unfortunate that Kim pretty much allowed her self to play such a demeaning and embarrassing role (albeit “high concept” for the early 2000s), even though she’s technically the heroine.

      In some respects, Kim Basinger is somewhat of a lazy, one-note actress. When she isn’t being sexy or doe-eyed (I said that Kim seems to be better when she’s in a quiet, intimate, one-on-one scene like her and Michael Keaton in the kitchen in “Batman”), she appears to be out of her depth. Maybe it’s because she’s so introverted, it takes a greater effort for her to bring any fun, natural confidence or assertiveness.


    • When Hostage Situations Get Personal


      victims are forced into a claustrophobic environment, that leaves them surrounded by their antagonists with them trying to find their way out of the nightmare they’re in. This is an intense, scary, psychological, and genuinely thrilling marathon that plays off the same concepts of hostage situations boiling down to confinement in one location for the duration of the story, vulnerability of those being kidnapped or people assisting them in their eventual rescue, and finding ways of trying to get out of the scenarios they’re in. Not to mention that the people who end up either being kidnapped, or those helping the kidnapped escape become stronger people by the end of each story as the ordeal transforms them into different people. This is an exciting and clever mashup of movies, that all work together beautifully to deliver a night full of sheer suspense, terror, excitement, and convincing acting that presents and sells each scenario to the audience. For tonight’s kickass marathon, we have the following thrillers on the menu:

      The fourth movie of the marathon is the 2004 suspense thriller titled Cellular starring Kim Basingers, William H. Macy, and Chris Evans. The story centers around a woman being kidnapped and locked in a basement by her captors who plan to target both her husband and son. She’s able to successfully breach a phone line and come in contact with a young man whose the only person that can help her family against the people trying to do harm to them. At the same time a near retired police officer begins to question the events surrounding him regarding the young man played by Chris Evans, who first tries to approach him about the woman on the phone. Cellular much like the film’s before it is a fast paced and effective thriller, that bears a unique concept that serves as a cross between Phone Booth, Red Eye, and Speed. It resembles Phone Booth in the sense that a phone is used as a major plot device in the story and Chris Evans racing through time across the city to help her along with her family in the same kind of suspense and adrenaline Speed presented. Cellular works because of the convincing performances from the lead characters with Jason Statham playing a villain role this time. While some may view Cellular as a fun advertisement for cell phones, others will appreciate it as a highly energetic and creative thriller that generates some decent suspense with it. The plot isn’t as explored in terms of depth like it could’ve been but it’s effective enough to accompany the film’s running time. If one is looking for a fun thriller to watch that provides reasonable doses of excitement, then Cellular is the movie to see.


    • I think that Kim Basinger is in theory, an actress who has for the most part, what could be considered a “warm charisma” (in that she seems to have a true sensitivity and earnesty about herself) about herself. I said in her What Might Have Been entry, that she perhaps is an actress who is only a good as her director. Or she’s really an actress who is better off when she’s part of an ensemble or if she is the main female, she isn’t exactly the main engine or focus driving the story.

      With that being said, maybe Kim Basinger is better in light comedic roles (e.g. “Nadine”, “Blind Date”, and even “Wayne’s World 2”) and not intense, heavy duty roles in which she has to do a bulk of the lifting. Kim’s personality or acting style at heart, seems to mousy and sometimes downright overwrought, to really make her presence truly worth while.


  13. EXCLUSIVE: Fifty Shades of PDA: Kim Basinger, who will star as Christian Grey’s ex-lover in movie sequel, gets it on with her hairdresser boyfriend as they go for his-and-hers pedicures


    Kim Basinger and her hairdresser boyfriend Mitch Stone smooched up a storm while on a ‘his and hers’ pampering session in Los Angeles

    Mitch was getting pretty handsy with his main squeeze

    The couple sat side-by-side for their 90-minute mani/pedicures, an eyewitness tells Daily Mail Online

    Kim was overheard expressed concerns about her wild child daughter – with Alec Baldwin – Ireland, who recently posed naked for a photo shoot

    She will star with Jamie Dornan as his former lover in Fifty Shades Darker, the upcoming sequel to Fifty Shades of Grey


  14. Mac McDonald Interview – Joker Goon Actor In Batman (1989)


    Paul: What about Kim then?

    There was this one day, I think it was in the first week, we’d been working all week so it was a Saturday and they called us in. I was in the dressing room early on my own and I heard all kinds of work going on. Hammers, saws and drills. My dresser, Dave Whiting (he was a dresser on the film but went on to be a costume designer), came in and I asked him what was going on with all the noise. He said, “Listen Mac, there’s been a bit of a kerfuffle this morning. Kim came in and apparently she had seen Jack’s dressing room. So now, they’re knocking the wall through between Kim’s dressing room and the one next door, and putting in an arch to make it all one big room which will make it 10ft bigger so it will be bigger than his [Jack’s]dressing room.”

    I just though “Ah man, it’s all true! Hollywood has arrived in England.” All this one-up-manship bullsh**. But it probably wasn’t even her [Kim]. She was probably on the phone with her agent and mentioned that Jack’s dressing room was a little larger than hers…then [jokingly] the agent told Kim to put the phone down and he rang the producers and said “What the f*ck is going on over there??” That’s how it works. So I wouldn’t put it on her shoulders because she was very nice and very friendly.

    Although, she wasn’t approachable – simply because she always had a retinue around her of her hair stylist and…she had her own costume designer.

    You’ll notice in the movie that everybody else’s costumes are designed by Bob Ringwood. Beautiful costumes. But on the day we first saw Kim, it was the day we were in the museum, she walks in and I said to Richard [Strange] “Isn’t that Kim Basinger? What’s she wearing?”. She looked like she had just stepped out of the window of C&A. She was dressed like something the Producer’s girlfriend’s assistant would wear. We didn’t know then, but we found out that she had to have her own costume designer. I think he made her look like a frump in most of the film. She should of stuck with Bob Ringwood I think.


    • I seriously don’t know what was wrong w/ Kim Basinger costumes/wardrobe in “Batman”. Granted, I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not a fashion expert by any means. And plus, women in the ’80s seemed to dress more bold or garishly, so it kind of came with the territory.

      I thought that Kim looked really lovely in her white, cream-puff gown when she first meets Michael Keaton/Bruce Wayne. And Kim looked extremely sexy in her black, long sleeve, tight mini-dress (with shoulder-pads!) in the scene where Bruce Wayne and later, the Joker and his goons visit Vicki Vale’s apartment.

      I’m guessing that Mac McDonald didn’t care too much about the three piece green outfit (which is kind of an iconic outfit when you really think about it now) that Kim wore in the museum scene:


  15. RIP to Kim’s “LA Confidential” and “8 Mile” director Curtis Hanson!


    I highly doubt that Kim will publicly “pay her respects” to the man who helped her land her Best Supporting Actress Oscar, since she likes to play it so evasively this days. Hell, when her old flame Prince suddenly died, Kim sent on of her assistants to make the pathetic statement that she couldn’t be reached for comment since she was too busy “working”.


    • Bummer on the passing of Curtis Hanson. Interestingly enough, I just viewed a short bio on Raymond Chandler, and from the noir/pulp element, I feel both tackled the subject similarly and also very well.


      • I just thought about this today, I wonder if Kim and her “comeback” to w/ “LA Confidential” and dramatic fall back down to earth could be considered the closest female equivalent to John Travolta? Let me explain, in the early ’90s both Kim Basinger and John Travolta had saw their once A-list careers seriously on the ropes.

        Kim, after peaking w/ the 1989 “Batman” movie soon saw her career in serious danger due to her ego problems (which I don’t feel that I need to once again elaborate on), financial issues, and a string of box office duds that really questioned her bankability as a leading lady. By the start of the ’90s, the best that John Travolta could do (after peaking w/ “Saturday Night Fever” and “Grease” back in the late ’70s) was appear in a talking baby movie. But then out of nowhere, Travolta makes “Pulp Fiction” is suddenly a respectable, A-list star again in one fell swoop.

        Of course, both Kim and John couldn’t for whatever the reasons, keep the momentum going. Kim for whatever the reasons, doesn’t release another movie following her Oscar winning triumph for three years. And the movies that she finally appear in, immediately bomb and disappear without a trace. With John Travolta, well…”Battlefield Earth” is really all that I have to say! Both of them had a really lousy year 2000.

        Now, it seems like both Kim and John are more known for their messy personal lives than their movies/acting skills. Besides his continued ties to the Church of Scientology There was the unfortunate and rather shady passing of John and Kelly Preston’s son, Jett. And of course, there’s the going rumors and allegations regarding John’s true sexual preference(s). With Kim, we all know about her nasty divorce from Alec Baldwin and the just as (if not more) nasty custody battle over their daughter, which culminated with Alec’s “Rude, thoughtless little pig” tirade.


        • I think a comparison can be made, especially since both of them suffered flops in 2000, with Travolta’s famous mess of a film, and Basinger’s “I Dreamed of Africa”, projects both of them influenced and backed.


        • Regarding “I Dreamed of Africa”, I’ve once read the suggestion that it was a case of Kim Basinger, now that she had an Oscar, suddenly thinking that she was Meryl Streep (and Kim forgot that much of her fan-base was redblooded men) and subsequently picked really inappropriate projects for her post-“LA Confidential” career.


        • Apparently they were the minority, but I knew a few women who liked “I Dreamed of Africa”.


        • Several of the movies that Kim did post-“Batman” (e.g. “The Marrying Man”, “Cool World”, “The Getaway”, “I Dreamed of Africa”, etc.) seemed to be borderline vanity projects, since Kim apparently had a lot of sway (for better or worse) in the productions.


        • I only film of those mentioned that I even liked a little was “I Dreamed of Africa”, and I still don’t like it enough to strongly recommend it.


    • The late Curtis Hanson staged a murder scene for the ages in L.A. Confidential


      I hear you, but there’s a difference between adopting a style (say, noir) well (e.g. Miller’s Crossing) and aping it but not succeeding. I think L.A. Confidential is far more the latter.

      Basinger’s performance really exemplifies it: She’s acting like someone who’s seen noir but her performance has none of the wit or gravity that you’d get from, say, a Judy Davis. Just like Josh Hartnett — who’s been quite good in other stuff — is no good when he’s saddled in a miscast role in Black Dahlia. She hasn’t got it and he hasn’t got it (or, at least, hasn’t displayed it), and just because I should recognize the genre trope doesn’t mean that I should just automatically give them a pass.

      I don’t think a signifier means our automatic reaction should be “Luxuriate in this”; often, it painfully breaks suspension of disbelief and the whole thing crumbles. And what I was saying about L.A. Confidential is that it smells strongly of “we’re putting on a noir!” so much so that there was no taking it seriously on its own terms, since it was a boy playing dress up and not much more.


    • Quite frankly, I sometimes wonder to be rather blunt, if Kim Basinger truly cares about anybody. This is probably unfair because we all have different ways of dealing w/ grief, but that fact that Kim hasn’t openly responded to the passings of Prince and Curtis Hanson especially, just flat out makes her seem a bit insensitive and inattentive.

      I unfollowed Kim on Twitter because I was quite frankly, getting sick of always reading depressing info about animals in harm’s way. She just seems like a sad, miserable, closed off, bitter old lady who can’t let certain things (like what Alec Baldwin may or may not have done to her) go.

      It’s very apparent to me, that one of the big reasons why Kim Basigner’s career suffered is because she has an ego/self-centeredness as big as her hair (her little “look at me” outburst at the 1990 Oscars is pretty much a microcosm of this) besides not coming off as easily relatable/personable.


      • Kim never said anything about the drowning of Natalie Wood who was supposedly her friend! I don’t think she even went to the funeral.


        • Kim quite frankly, doesn’t seem to care much about her daughter either. Not that Alec Baldwin is blameless as I wouldn’t be too surprised that he was verbally abusive towards his daughter (as well as Ireland’s mother, right in front of her) beyond the “rude little pig incident”. It seems like Kim just lets Ireland do her own thing w/o any real boundaries. Kim did recently say in an interview that as a means of “making up” or apologizing to her daughter for putting her through that nasty divorce w/ Alec was to allow Ireland to “write on walls”.

          Essentially, Kim was wanted to make things up by becoming a spineless, ineffectual, inattentive “parent” or “the cool mom”. It’s as if, Kim turns the other way to her daughter’s obvious cries for help/embarrassing and trashy attempts and exhibitionism and essentially lives in denial.



        • Catherine Denevue had this to say about Brigitte Bardot and I think that this really also holds true about Kim Basinger:

          [on Brigitte Bardot] I saw extracts of her book: they were the most horrible things you can possibly read. Imagine writing that you wanted to get rid of your baby son, as she did. Not being a good mother is her problem, but making it public like that… It could have been a very human piece of writing, but in her case it was just harsh and inhuman. I know her a little and she’s a strange human being. She’s very childish. She loves animals, because loving animals is very easy, but emotionally, I think she has a big problem. She’s like someone who never grew up. I don’t consider myself to be a grown-up person but I’m more interested in people than in animals. And I think that if you are involved as much as she is with animals, then there is something strange about your dealings with the human race. She’s like a sauce which has curdled. There is nothing you can do. There is no hope.’


        • I don’t want to fault Kim too much for wanting/needing her privacy, but she needs to keep in mind that fans can and will make and break who you are or how you’re publicly perceived. Kim’s whole comments about “social media taking out all of the mystery” and what not, just if you ask me, makes her sound extremely arrogant and self-serving.

          Kim seems to not entirely be in tune or understand millennials and therefore, has to paint a very broad perception of that type of generation,. That is that they’re unmotivated (with her comments about selfies “scaring her”), non-goal oriented, and vain. She in particular or in general, seems to always see the remotely negative first and foremost.


        • Here’s Kim (around the time that “LA Confidential” came out) pretty much slut shaming Paula Jones, who accused then President Bill Clinton of sexual harassment:

          Q: What’s your take on the Paula Jones vs. Clinton case?

          A: I don’t know the specifics and don’t want to know them. I wonder why one would want to come forth with any of this. Everybody has skeletons in his closet. Why wouldn’t she have spoken up sooner rather than later? Why didn’t she announce it the next day? Coming now out of the woodwork for what? Money? Five minutes of fame? I don’t know this woman or what she went through and I don’t care! OK?

          Q: Have you met Clinton?

          A: Yes. He’s very attractive. But I’ve never been in awe of many people. And I live with a politician in my house. I think Clinton’s cool. He seems like a regular person to me. I’d love to sit down and just talk to him.

          Ms. Basinger then shouldn’t be complaining (if she doesn’t care to show empathy for an allegedly sexually harassed/assaulted woman) to anybody who would care to listen about how Alec Baldwin allegedly mistreated her during their marriage!


        • It seems like because Kim doesn’t like to talk to or court the media and celebrity within itself (and therefore as a direct result live in relative obscurity), it’s extremely obvious that contributed to the perception that she basically disappeared from public life. That’s why whenever Kim pops up in a new movie (or at least, the ones that got a wide-release regardless of how actually important or big Kim’s role in said movies are) from time the time, it’s easy to make you want to say to her, “Where the hell have you been all of this time”.

          Unfortunately, whenever Kim does talk to the media the primary focus seems to more than often be either about Alec Baldwin or daughter. Therefore, it for better or worse, makes it easier for that particular stigma from her past life, to reinforce the public’s main perspective of her. Not to sound insensitive myself, but Kim Basinger isn’t the only famous person to get divorced and to allegedly be subjugated to an abusive relationship.

          I don’t understand why it was so difficult of Kim to release a statement regarding the recent passings of Prince and Curtis Hanson. I thought that Hanson was her friend, so I was extremely bewildered to not see anything said from her in reaction to his death. The last time that I say or heard from Kim directly was seeing her on TV being interviewed at the premiere for “The Nice Guys”


    • Kim in general seems to be very incapable of showing empathy yet, wants us to care about her own personal problems and issues. She seemingly cares more about animals (to an extreme degree) than she does her fellow man or woman it seems. She even took the time to write a letter to a 17 year old girl in regards to an abused elephant:


  16. Deanna Smith-Fagin

    I met and tired to interview Kim Basinger when she was in “Hard Country,” one of her early films. She wad married to a fellow in Atlanta but having an affair with Jan Michael Vincent. Both she and Vincent were so drunk they could barely speak. Kim did not look glamorous when I met her. She looked pale and anorexic, basically straight up and down with very thin arms, and a black alley down the middle of her blond hair. A number of years later,I sat near her and her girlfriend, who was even more anorexic than Kim, at Jerry’s Deli, and I could hear her talking about Alec Baldwin and saying he is not going to get away with his antics, etc., etc., etc.


    • From what I understand, Jan-Michael Vincent is a Hall of Fame booze cruiser to the point in which it has permanently affected his motor skills. Beyond that, I’ve never really heard people say too many good things about him (I always thought he sounded like a tool), even those who are fans of the TV series “Airwolf”.


      • Had say, the What the Hell Happened to… series been around maybe 20 years earlier, then Jan-Michael Vincent would’ve easily been on the list. I can’t think of any bigger Hollywood collapse in the ’80s for a male actor than him. During his prime, JMV was seen as this handsome All American looking guy who once had it all: looks, women, nice income (I think that he was the highest paid actor on television when he was doing “Airwolf”) and his alcoholism ruined his career.


        • I’ll give him credit though, he’s still alive at age 72. I have a Sports Illustrated from the previous decade in which the 1978 film “Big Wednesday” is covered in a “Where Are They Now?” issue, and Gary Busey pointed out in the piece that Jan-Michael Vincent was the king of the party during the shooting of that film. If you can out-party Gary Busey, then you the man.


        • Jan-Michael Vincent was perhaps, the Charlie Sheen of his day. In that he pretty much destroyed his career and reputation (despite for a brief time, being a highly paid TV star) through drugs. alcohol, and whatever sort of debauchery. And now both Vincent and Sheen are paying the ultimate price, w/ Vincent know missing a leg and Sheen having the AIDS virus.


        • I see some parallels there, though Sheen was a bigger star & came out of things better.


    • Thanks for sharing your personal experience.


    • I’ve addressed this sometime earlier but to reiterate it, Kim’s first husband, Ron Britton wrote a book (around the time that she on her Oscar) detailing their relationship called “Kim Basinger: Longer Than Forever”. In it, Ron basically says that when Kim was away shooting “No Mercy”, she cheated on him w/ Richard Gere.

      I wonder if Kim when you saw her at the deli was insulating that Alec Baldwin was unfaithful himself, in sort of a “pot calling the kettle black” scenario when you get right down to it.



      • Have you read the book Terrence? There are only 7 reviews on amazon. Apparently it didn’t reach a wide readership.


        • I haven’t had a chance to read the entire book by Kim’s first husband, which I think came out roughly around the same time of Kim’s brief career resurgence thanks to “LA Confidential”. I’m sure that through Google, you can gradually put together the pieces regarding the more key details. I was none the less hoping that if LeBeau ever updates this article (she’s going to be in the “Fifty Shades of Grey” sequel this coming February so that would be a most opportune time to do it).



        • The article could use an overhaul, not just an update. She was never on Starsky & Hutch.


        • It’s on my list of things to do. It’s just been a relatively low priority since this isn’t one of the more popular articles in the series. When I update it next, it will be very close to a rewrite.


        • Going back to the subject of Kim Basinger’s WTHHT article needing an update/overhaul in the foreseeable future, one thing that I noticed is that there really isn’t a final summarization of “WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED to Kim Basinger’s career”? In other words, how the hell did Kim Basinger go from starring as playing a Bond Girl alongside Sean Connery, becoming Vicki Vale in the biggest movie of 1989 (and along w/ the 1978 Superman movie, one of the godfathers of the superhero movie genre), being a Best Supporting Actress Oscar winning, making for the world’s most beautiful corpse in a Tom Petty video, and being arguably, the heir apparent to Marilyn Monroe to as LeBeau put it, “most recently playing Zac Efron’s mom”?

          I guess if it were up to me, finally asking “What the hell happened…” would be a combination of Kelly LeBrock’s fate (just swipe out Steven Seagal for Alec Baldwin) and Sharon Stone’s fate (i.e. being defined as a sex symbol and never really being able to shake it as well as also having a bit of a reputation or perception of being eccentric/flaky),


        • On a side note, I remember when the war in Iraq was brewing and Kim Basinger lent her name to this petition of celebrities urging the then president, George W. Bush to not go to war:

          I’m not necessarily saying that I immediately disagree with Kim’s point of view, but it reminded me of an unironic variation of the Film Actors’ Guild from “Team America: World Police”.


      • Gossip: Richard Gere and Kim Basinger



        SCREEN goddess Kim Basinger and actor Richard Gere enjoyed a sexy romp in his limousine in a restaurant car park – while her distraught husband spied on them. In a book to be published next month, Basinger’s former husband, Ron Britton, says the sex-hungry LA Confidential star spent alternate nights with him and Gere after he confronted her about the affair.

        In a preview of Kim Basinger: Longer than Forever, The News of the World newspaper claims to have copies of steamy love letters penned by Gere, and saucy photos of Basinger supplied by Britton.

        In one letter, Gere tells Basinger: “How much I wish to make love to you with no withholding.”

        The letters show that a besotted Gere seduced Basinger behind her husband’s back and then pleaded for more. He poured out his heart in the handwritten letters, quoting musician Eric Clapton: “Why has love got to be soooo sad? . . . I miss you very much . . . I wish I could please you tonight.”

        When a shocked Britton discovered the affair, he tracked the cheating superstars to a restaurant and watched them “making out” in the parking lot in Gere’s limo.

        Basinger had tried to hide Gere’s letters in a secret drawer but Britton discovered them while searching for evidence to back up his suspicions.
        Britton writes about Basinger’s sexual appetites and passions.

        “She was always ready for sex. I introduced her to cocaine and (after she took it) she’d be charged up sexually. Then we’d park in different places and have sex. Sometimes we’d be full-blown nude in the car. People walked by . . .”

        Britton, a make-up man who met Basinger on a film set, said she was especially passionate after acting out sexy scenes with actors like Sean Connery (she was a Bond girl in Never Say Never Again) and Jan-Michael Vincent (Hard Country).

        Britton was born Snyder but Basinger asked him to change his name to “something with a B” because it went with a set of expensive luggage she had.

        Then she was chosen to star opposite Gere in No Mercy, her first million-dollar contract. Gere was already famous from An Officer and a Gentleman.
        “She hated Richard Gere from the start,” writes Britton. “We had sex every afternoon . . . she was so tightly wound up (from working with Gere) that she had to find a way to relieve the tension.”

        Britton came to agree with Basinger that Gere was “an idiot”. For example, he would take a waitress to task for pronouncing the name of a wine, Montrachet, incorrectly.

        “Then,” writes Britton, “Kim changed her attitude towards Richard. All of a sudden, it seemed that every other night she’d have to work late with him.

        “I thought about what she’d told me in our early days together, about ‘trying out’ her leading men. ‘After all, I can always lay the actors,’ she had told me.”

        When he confronted her about the affair, she said: “No, it’s not like that, don’t leave. Please stay here.

        “So I stayed until the end of the movie. And when we were together we still had great sex,” he writes.

        However, at the end of April 1986 he found the first letter from Gere in their postbox. “My heart fell. I gave it to her but she didn’t say a word.
        “After that letter arrived, Richard phoned her at home a couple of times. I don’t know what they said. I couldn’t bear to be in the room while she talked to him.”

        Britton, however, had some sympathy for Gere: “I never liked Richard from the moment I met him, and I never will, but I understand the pain he was suffering. After Kim and I split, I heard she went back to Richard.”

        But the relationship didn’t last. Gere started seeing supermodel Cindy Crawford in 1989, a year before one of his biggest hits, Pretty Woman, with Julia Roberts.

        Gere and Crawford married in 1991, but were divorced in 1996. And in an interview that same year, Gere said of Basinger: “She’s probably the most beautiful woman ever put on the planet and she’s so talented. If she didn’t look like that, people would notice the work more.”

        Britton writes: “Kim truly was the most pretty woman in Richard’s mind but she showed no mercy to his heart.”


    • I never thought or heard about the notion of Kim Basinger possibly having an eating disorder, but she thus really skinny (on the unhealthy side) in these photos from the premiere of her movie “While She Was Out”:


    • http://www.allocine.fr/communaute/forum/voirmessage_gen_refmessage=5126982&nofil=363593.html

      The following may or may not be true, and is based on hearsay, rumor, and gossip–most of it from relatively reliable sources, some from more dubious ones, and some based on my own suppositions. I have tried to make this list as accurate as possible, but in some/many cases I wasn’t able to verify rumors. I have not put anything here that I know to be untrue.

      Baldwin, Alec. The bloviator. Arrogant SOB. Punches out photographers. Acts like spoiled infant on-set. Left Janine Turner almost literally at the altar. Drug problem. Linked with Kim Basinger (failed marriage; among other things, he hit her), Kristin Davis, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Tatum O’Neal.

      Basinger, Kim. “Has more neuroses than an inbred poodle.” Acts like a spoiled infant on- and off-set. Jerk. Recovering cocaine and alcohol addict. Linked with Alec Baldwin (failed marriage), Jeff Bridges, Sean Connery, Eminem, Richard Gere, Michael Keaton, Prince, Robert Redford, Burt Reynolds, and Mickey Rourke.


    • I would imagine that Kim Basinger is in general a very difficult person to interview because she’s so introverted and a tad bit ditsy sounding at times.



  17. Deanna Smith-Fagin

    I truly don’t know if Kim had/or has an eating disorder. I do know she had some emotional problems that effected her work. Too, if the people look “skinny” in photos or on TV, they are much “skinnier” in real life. The camera adds weight.


    • Kim Basinger in general seems to have self-esteem issues. I mean why else would she hook up w/ people like Jan-Michael Vincent and later on, Alec Baldwin. And when Kim was w/ Prince, there are rumors that Prince had to call up Kim’s brother to convince her to finally live his place at Paisley Park. She’s either too emotionally clingy, hooks up w/ men who have very violate temperaments, or is too self-consciousness of of her looks/the way that she appears on screen.

      I do think that Kim’s marriage to Alec Baldwin (Kim nor Alec didn’t seem to really understand or rationalize when they did “The Getaway” that most people don’t want to see a real life couple like them have sex on screen together, because it’s too voyeuristic and downright off-putting) and the fall-out from that did irreparable harm to her career.

      The incident involving Alec and the voicemail to their daughter made Kim look just as bad if not worse, because she pretty much used Ireland as a pawn. It’s little surprise that Ireland has so many problems/is desperate for attention know given whom her parents are. It isn’t fair because Alec seems to be a real life “karma Houdini” (i.e. he ever seems to have to truly face the consequences of his frequent angry outbursts). Kim in general, seems to be a women who is prone to hold grudges for long periods of time or not be fully able to own up to her own misgivings.

      I know that Kim has in the past, been open about her apparent bouts w/ agoraphobia/anxiety. But regardless, Kim Basinger seems like a extremely enigmatic and sometimes, contradictory figure. There are cases where I’ve read that Kim is very friendly and nice (albeit not too outgoing) to work with. But there are other cases, where she’s has to be an extremely stand-offish, high-maintenance diva.


    • I don’t knew when exactly this photo was taken, but here’s another shot of Kim Basinger looking rather skinny and frail:


    • I asked a while back if Kim is on the autism spectrum (which would explain her rather anti-social/socially awkward demeanor), but I’m pretty confident at the very least, that she suffers from avoidant personality disorder:

      Hypersensitivity to rejection/criticism

      Self-imposed social isolation

      Extreme shyness or anxiety in social situations, though the person feels a strong desire for close relationships

      Avoids physical contact because it has been associated with an unpleasant or painful stimulus

      Feelings of inadequacy

      Drastically-reduced or absent self-esteem

      Self-loathing, autophobia or self-harm

      Mistrust of others or oneself; exhibits heightened self-doubt

      Emotional distancing related to intimacy

      Highly self-conscious

      Self-critical about their problems relating to others

      Problems in occupational functioning

      Lonely self-perception, although others may find the relationship with them meaningful

      Feeling inferior to others

      In some extreme cases, agoraphobia

      Uses fantasy as a form of escapism to interrupt painful thoughts


  18. Here’s a rather “unique” response that I got when I went around inquiring about Kim Basinger’s decidedly eccentric tendencies:

    Threads like these will continue as long as people remain badly educated about the nature of being a movie star or even the nature of being ANY actor. When the ‘public’ assumes / perceives either an insurmountable gulf OR a kinship between the physical or emotional nature of themselves and a star, they invent strengths or weaknesses in that star that that star has never explicitly professed to have or want.

    You do not have the right to call someone so clearly far removed from your own life and CV a ‘nut-bag’.
    I say ‘clearly’ because no actor would say that about someone in the same line of work. They do not do the same mundane routine as you might. However some aspects of their job can still be relatively mundane to them. So when the world acts crazily about the latest star without them even having to do anything, whilst claiming to have forgotten stars of a mere 20 years ago, is it any wonder that some aspects of celebrities lives sometimes seem richer and quirkier than the vast majority who never sought, let alone achieved, limelight?


  19. Since tomorrow is Ms. Basinger’s birthday, here’s a new photo of her from that “Fifty Shades of Crap” movie that she’s slumming herself for a quick paycheck to do:


    • I think it’s stylish when women wear headbands; there’s just something about it that I like.


      • I assume that Kim Basinger’s casting in “Fifty Shades Darker” is supposed to be some sort of meta statement given that she was in “9 1/2 Weeks” back in the day. I also figure that she’s in a sense, playing her character in “Wayne’s World 2” (an attractive “older woman” who seduces a younger man) played entirely straight and unironically.


    • Re: Could someone tell me whats so great about her role in LA Confidential?


      Thanks for mentioning these movies. Fool for Love and The Door in the Floor are little known movies that would not have come together had it not been for her stellar performances.

      She’s done very well in a few comedies (Nadine, The Man Who Loved Women, The Marrying Man) and she’s always a standout as part of a usually male-driven ensemble cast (LA Confidential, Batman) but in my opinion, Kim excels at portraying very nuanced, introspective characters – those are admittedly not blockbuster friendly though.

      The better example of this is 9 1/2 Weeks (Fool For Love and The Door in the Floor are other good ones). The camera is on her for about 99% of the movie and, with barely any dialogue, you guess exactly what she’s thinking and feeling at any given point – and the movie deals with very complex emotions. I wish she had gained more recognition for it at the time. Plus, taking an actress as beautiful as she is for such a sexually charged performance and going way beyond the softcore is quite the achievement – which is why I also think that Kim does need to work with a good director to reach her full potential.

      Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep and so on are known as “the great ones” and they deserve it, but I find that often times you could switch one for the other and it wouldn’t make a difference. I can’t think of any other actress that can do what Kim does when she’s good. She’s bombed for various reasons in many movies, which I think is also why some people won’t give her any credit, but when the lady is good she’s simply exceptional.


  20. Since it’s almost Christmas time, how about we revisit one of Kim Basinger’s more shameful projects, “While She Was Out”:



    • Kim Basinger in recent years seemingly wants to carve some niche for herself in making glorified Lifetime, “woman in peril”, “Kim Basinger is a scared housewife” movies like “Cellular” and “While She Was Out” (and to a lesser extent, “Bless the Child”, which came off the heels of her Oscar win).

      The fact that Kim was a producer of that the latter (I don’t think that Lukas Haas is a good trade off from Jason Statham as the main person who is terrorizing Kim) quite frankly (depending of course on your point of view), makes it even more reprehensible. It does’t take much of a rocket scientist to put together that Kim envisioned this as an elaborate revenge fantasy against Alec Baldwin (with Craig Sheffer, playing the Baldwin allegory, as Kim’s angry, abusive, a-hole of a husband).

      Kim Basinger is one of the most gorgeous women to ever live. Why in god’s name would any sane, red blooded man (at least in context of the movies that I mentioned) want to do great bodily harm to her? It isn’t exactly the same as what went on w/ her and Jack Nicholson’s Joker in “Batman”. Tom Petty had the right idea by having a “dinner date” w/ Kim’s corpse in that music video before giving her a burial at the see.


  21. How many people here knew that Kim Basinger about ten years ago, did a Lifetime TV movie w/ crazy ’80s style “mall hair” (a la her “Batman” days):



  22. Episode #150 – Grudge Match


    We talk about Grudge Match, the movie that pretends DeNiro has a chance against steroidal Stallone. Meanwhile Dan discusses Kevin Hart’s need to do only Kevin-branded movies, Elliott uncovers Sean Connery’s strange belief he’s in every movie, and one of Stu’s relatives makes an unexpected appearance.


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