Movies USA Magazine - November 1989, Pages 25 & 26

Baby Love
Written by Laura Morice


Mary Stuart Masterson has been waiting a lifetime for this opportunity. Okay, so she's twenty-three. That may not seem like a very long time to you, but to Masterson -- who made her acting debut at age seven when she played the daughter of her real-life father, Peter Masterson, in The Stepford Wives -- it's been endless. "I may be young, but I have a lot of life experience," she points out.

Throughout her acting career -- which includes impressive performances in At Close Range, Some Kind of Wonderful and Chances Are -- Masterson has been stumped by the same problem that every young actress in Hollywood complains about: Strong, well-developed roles for young women are few and far between. Their options are usually limited to playing somebody's sister, somebody's daughter or somebody's girlfriend. "It got to the point when it was, like, `Do you want to go up for a part as Tom Cruise's girlfriend or Andrew McCarthy's girlfriend or Sean Penn's girlfriend?`" Masterson remembers. "I was like, `I've had enough. Can't I just be
a person in a movie?`"

Then came Immediate Family. Masterson was given the opportunity to play Lucy Moore, a seventeen-year-old who becomes pregnant by her boyfriend (played by Kevin Dillon) but can't afford to keep the baby.

After weighing all of her options, Lucy decides the best thing to do would be to give her child up for adoption. She chooses Linda and Michael Spector (Glenn Close and James Woods), a couple who, despite enduring every fertility procedure offered by modern science, have been unable to have their own child.

The film promises to make Mary Stuart Masterson as big as her name. But more importantly to her, it touches on an emotionally painful procedure that more and more couples are going through: adoption. Immediate Family shows both sides of this heartrending and often awkward situation -- while managing to make you smile.

"That's what I loved about this film," Masterson says. "It really explores how both sides feel. Each couple has something the other wants. Lucy and her boyfriend have a baby but no money. Linda and Michael have a beautiful home and fabulous things but can't have a baby. Adoption is a very awkward process; it's not something you're ever taught how to handle while growing up. I think this film really shows that."

Masterson immersed herself in the role, right down to shopping for Lucy's wardrobe. "I got totally into it. I picked out the Guns N' Roses t-shirt and those boots. I had to have those boots," she laughs. She even strapped an eight-pound sack around her stomach to help her feel the weight of pregnancy.

To prepare for this role, Masterson watched dozen of tapes of babies being born. Then she took a trip to the hospital and saw a live delivery. "It was bizarre to be in the room and be a woman and be the one not having the baby," she says. "There was a primal instinct to push."

She insists that watching the live birth hasn't scared her off the idea of parenthood. "I really want to have kids and be a mom at some point," she insists. In fact, she's already preparing for the part, recently buying a home in Connecticut, which she chooses over her home town of New York ("The city is like a jail; every time I look at it I want to get out") or Los Angeles ("Getting outside of L.A. is like getting outside of yourself").

Don't get her wrong. Masterson hasn't soured on the business. It's just that she already has the critical eye of a Hollywood veteran. A fact that makes her praise for this film mean even more. "This is the best film I've ever worked on," she says. "And Kevin Dillon was such a pro. He was really respectful of everybody's time and space. That's especially important among young people. Young actors are either the absolute worst or extremely professional." If Masterson would put herself in one of those categories, it's easy to see where she stands.