What the Hell Happened to Kim Basinger?

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. 560 Comments.

  1. Deader Than Disco / Film

    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, 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).

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    • 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.

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

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0377092/board/thread/254926908?d=256953544#256953544

    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.

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

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

      http://www.peoplemagazine.co.za/celebrity-news/international-celebrities/russell-crowe-kim-basinger-will-always-be-my-pal?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+PeopleMagazineSA+%28People+Magazine%29

      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.”

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

    http://esme.com/hall-of-fame/solo-mom-in-the-spotlight/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.”

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  5. The Curious Career of Kim Basinger

    http://www.gq.com/story/the-curious-career-of-kim-basinger?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

    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.

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  6. The Curious Career of Kim Basinger

    http://www.gq.com/story/the-curious-career-of-kim-basinger?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

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

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  7. Jennifer Lawrence once told a room full of journalists that Kim Basinger died:
    https://t.co/fCNhb7pzzK

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    • 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.

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  8. Zac Efron: Joking His Way to Movie Stardom

    http://variety.com/2016/film/columns/zac-efron-neighbors-2-1201784981/

    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?

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  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.

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  10. Blind Items Revealed #2

    http://www.crazydaysandnights.net/2016/07/blind-items-revealed-2-527.html

    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

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    • Blind Items Revealed #40

      http://www.crazydaysandnights.net/2015/01/blind-items-revealed-40-2.html

      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

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