It took 32 years before Bound for Glory, the autobiography of folksinger Woody Guthrie, finally hit the cameras. Along the way were five failed screenplays and a prickly casting problem. James Taylor and Guthrie’s son Arlo were rejected because they weren’t actors, and Dustin Hoffman was too busy. So producer Robert Blumofe gambled on David Carradine, a 39-year-old veteran of 500 acid trips, TV’s Kung Fu, and a broken common-law marriage with Barbara Hershey Seagull that sent him amok. “This came along at the lowest time in my life,” says Carradine. “It was extraordinary that I was able to pull myself up enough to do it.” So far, says Blumofe, “he hasn’t lost us five minutes.” And Carradine thinks it has worked because he shares with Guthrie “an heroic naivete. I still believe in rainbows.”
The movie of ’76 most likely to soar as the Godfather—or sink as the Gats-by—is The Last Tycoon, the Fitzgerald property produced by Sam Spiegel and directed by Elia Kazan. Who’s starring? Spiegel sought, he says, “a face that has never been seen in halfway elegant clothes and that nobody will recognize—the character must not be confused with the actor.” The last time any producer could make that statement about a buried acting treasure named Robert De Niro was 1975.
This coming year, De Niro, 32, will also play the mouth-off behind the wheel in Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver and an Italianate dandy in Bernardo Bertolucci’s epic 1900, plus co-star in a musical, New York, New York, with Liza Minnelli, no less. Hardly gone Hollywood along the way, Bobby is pure New York actor and still keeps a $75-a-month flat in Greenwich Village with black actress Diana Abbott and her 8-year-old daughter. Known as a guy who carries method acting to a mania, he fills notebooks with research, got a hack license for Taxi Driver and lived four months in Sicily to acquire an obscure dialect to play the young Godfather—which won him a supporting Oscar. “Producers waving scripts are coming at me from every direction,” broods De Niro. “If I let them, my life would be planned every day from now through 1980. Ultimately a star becomes a corporation and freedom goes flying.” De Niro figures on remaining unincorporated.
Geneviève Bujold is embarked on her second, first full-hearted, and, at 34, last, Run for the Grosses. Her 1970 Oscar nomination as Anne of the Thousand Days led to a big Universal contract. But Bujold contrarily preferred mostly arty little roles back in Quebec, and the studio sued her for $750,000. Now, says Jennings Lang, the then-Universal boss, “She’s discovered the fun of making movies instead of films.” This year she will be seen in Brian Depalma’s Obsessions, NBC’s Caesar and Cleopatra (opposite Sir Alec Guinness); and, with Jack Lemmon, in Main Man and the Gypsy. There is also a swashbuckler with Robert Shaw, produced by Jennings Lang, who, previous history aside, is convinced “Genevieve’s going to be the next big thing around in the girl department.”
Audrey Hepburn has the same peach-pit dimples, but why is she cloaking them under a wimple? Having finally surfaced from an eight-year sabbatical, she is, at 46, still the breathstopping slip of her former sylph in Dick Lester’s Robin and Marian. She plays a slightly older Maid, retired to a nunnery until menopausal romance roots again in Sherwood Forest with Hood (Sean Connery). “Fortunately,” says Audrey, “I appear as my own age. I don’t want to be a perennial teenager.” She quit the movie scene to care for her two sons, Sean, now 15, by Mel Ferrer, and Luca, 5, by her present husband, Roman shrink Andrea Dotti. Hepburn resists all the business about her ballyhooed Comeback of the Year. “I never said I was quitting, goodbye, that’s it. And,” she adds, “I won’t make any promises about continuing. I love doing pictures, but I enjoy the luxury of married life.”
“What Dom Pérignon is to champagne,” says Truman Capote, “I am to acting, but then you must realize that I happen to be a particularly good fan of mine.” What the author is bubbling about is his movie debut as an eccentric billionaire in Murder by Death, a Neil Simon whodunit with a compensating surfeit of seasoned talent including Peter Falk, Elsa Lanchester, David Niven, Peter Sellers, Maggie Smith and Nancy Walker. “Thank God for Truman Capote,” observed director Robert Moore, a TV and Broadway pro, himself shooting his first film. “He’s the only actor in the cast who needed me more than I needed him.”
Life would be super-cool for Bianca Perez Morena de Macias, 30, except for one problem: she is married to a man she half-yearns to upstage, and his name is Mick Jagger. Originally Bianca wanted to be a diplomat like her Nicaraguan dad, but she felt defeated since the public “dislikes me, because I am pretty and have a mind—they turned me into something I was not, a bitch.” So, reluctantly, Bianca is broaching a new career. “Every woman,” she concedes, “wants to be an actress—it is a fantasy that makes me feel silly.” That could be the result of her first film, Trick or Treat, in which she plays a lesbian lover in a ménage à quatre. “I am not bisexual,” Bianca rapidly reports, “but I refuse to judge what other people do. My closest male friends are homosexuals, but with women, it is so much more subtle and scares me.” Bianca feels the same unease about her acting debut. “I’ll be the first aware of it, and I will never forgive myself if I’m not the best.”