September 19, 1988 12:00 PM

Photographs by Karen Hardy

Text by Kevin J. Koffler

There’s a mixture of fanzine journalism and revelation in these profiles of young actresses and actors. Introducing one of his Q & A interviews, for instance, Koffler writes that Keanu (River’s Edge) Reeves “could care less about becoming a ‘movie star.’ Success, he feels, is all relative anyway, and for Keanu, pure passion and true happiness are derived from one thing—acting.” But—perhaps explaining why we don’t see Keanu doing many love scenes—he also notes that Reeves “still only bathes once or twice a week. There is still a slightly gamey smell emanating from his bedroom, where mountains of unlaundered clothes cover the floor.” Koffler often asks awkward, dumb questions: “How do you, Corey Haim, bring your coolness out from within and externalize it?” To Patrick Swayze: “Are your feelings of loneliness and emptiness a result of the wall you’ve had to build around yourself because of success?” Many of the actors’ answers, too, are models of ignorant, self-important blather. Esai (La Bamba) Morales says, “We put a little too much trust in the government. It’s like wondering why you get cancer after eating TV dinners your whole life. Americans have to start thinking.” Alfre (Extremities) Woodard says of South Africa, “The architects of apartheid left the Third Reich—that’s how it came into being. Because of economics, the Western world has made it very palatable, whereas they couldn’t bear it the first time around in Germany.” Haim, talking about his biggest fear, says, “You never experience death until you’re dead, and that’s what’s so scary about it.” Haim also has sense enough, however, to answer a question about what issues are important to him by saying, “None. If you get on the bandwagon, you get ragged on. People say, ‘Oh, he’s not really meaning what he says; he’s just doing it for the publicity.’ So if I don’t mean it, why should I do it?” There are other thoughtful comments too. Willem (The Last Temptation of Christ) Dafoe tells Koffler what he likes best about success: “I’m interested in my life, and I’m crazy enough to want other people to watch me as I go through the thing. I like being watched. I like company.” The photographs by Hardy, who has produced other books on male models and actors, are similarly inconsistent. Some of the portraits reek of phony, publicity glossy posing; others suggest, at least, insight into the young performers. If nothing else, the book vividly illustrates how movie stars’ images have changed. It’s hard to imagine Clark Gable, for instance, scratching his crotch while posing for a picture, as John (Stand by Me) Cusack does in one of Hardy’s photographs. (Holt, paper, $12.95)

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