Date: Tue, 06 Jun 1995 07:22:42 -0400 From: KONG WAI LEE <email@example.com> To: Multiple recipients of list MSM-L <MSM-L@vm.temple.edu> Subject: Mademoiselle Article Dragged this article from March 1994, Mademoiselle. Wai Kong Lee Dept. of Computer Science Concordia University `Mary Stuart Masterson Goes Bad` Written by Laurence Hooper In the last year, Mary Stuart Masterson has found herself a new house in L.A. and a new love and has experienced a welcome change in her career. Only one thing in her life has stayed the same -- she still hangs out with her dog, Spencer. During this tumultuous time, Masterson, 27, has moved beyond the girl- next-door types that she's played ever since she was a stoic tomboy aching for love in `Some Kind of Wonderful` in 1987. Next month, she stars in `Bad Girls,` an ensemble Western with a killer female cast, all of whom were sent to cowboy camp for two weeks to learn to ride horses. In the movie, Drew Barrymore, Andie MacDowell and Madeleine Stowe play frontier prostitutes. Masterson plays a timid young woman, Anita, who becomes a strong, willful hooker after her husband dies in a cholera epidemic. While the transition from married woman to frontier prostitute may be hard on her character, Anita, it's a boon for Masterson, giving her a chance to play a character who transforms herself during the course of the film. Not surprisingly, Masterson is in heavy demand these days: After such high- grossing movies as `Fried Green Tomatoes` and `Benny & Joon,` she is finally getting enough work to act nonstop. Besides playing in `Bad Girls,` she'll appear this fall in the highly stylized romantic comedy `Radioland Murders,` produced by George Lucas, as the wife of a comedy writer who is framed for murder in 1939. Between acting jobs, Masterson has tried to direct her own movie and finish a college degree. "I don't have a grip on anything!" she exclaims in a good-natured anxiety attack from the North Carolina location of `Radioland Murders,` where she's been working 15-hour days and ordering take-out pizza. "I really need to take a break," she says. `Masterson of Her Domain` Masterson attended New York University for a semester, and has worked toward a bachelor's degree through a correspondence course with a Vermont college. But lately, she has been too busy for college. Nearly two years ago, Masterson left her home base in New York after a rift with her husband, an investment banker she prefers not to name. A failed marriage "taught me not to do my life for other people," she says. "I'm being extremely selfish right now, and I'm very happy about it." And with a certain amount of glee, Masterson says she's been dating. "Yes, I have a sex life, and it's good," she acknowledges, though she's reluctant to reveal any details. "You fall madly in love, of course you want to proclaim it all over the world. But the problem is, then you've opened the door wide for people to ask about every little development and problem." While forging her own new life, Masterson helped develop the role of her character, Anita, in `Bad Girls,` "a Woman with a big 'W,'" rather than a girl. Through her research into the Old West, Masterson found that under the Homestead Act of 1862 pioneer men could claim more land if accompanied by a wife, but single women couldn't claim land on their own. This fact was worked into a rewrite of the `Bad Girls` script, which portrays Masterson's character as a young woman who's "been raised to believe she just can't do anything by herself." Of course, Anita ends up doing fine without a man and -- this being a 1990s kind of Western -- she kicks some ass along the way. "`Bad Girls` is an action film," say Masterson. "It's not just a bunch of girls sitting around talking about boys." Her character, Anita, doesn't hesitate to use a pistol to protect her girlfriends. `Bad Girls` director Jonathan Kaplan credits Masterson for her many contributions. She "really had imagery for this woman's story," he says. "She had such a vision of the character," adds Kaplan. Masterson's work on the script will come in handy for her next project. She's already started working on `Around the Block,` a small movie set in Austin, Texas, that she's written and plans to direct and star in. "It's about love, sort of, and being separate in order to be together," she says. It has plenty of autobiographical elements -- "but not the same characters as in my own life drama." Except for her faithful dog, Spencer. Masterson hasn't forgotten to give him a role.