USA Today Newspaper - January 26, 1996

Masterson's Blooming '96

Mary Stuart Masterson tries to stay out of the box-office numbers games when it comes to her films. But the acting pro, who's been in films since age 7, admits it "affects me." So over the weekend her eyes were on the numbers for Bed of Roses, the story of a work-obsessed woman and her flower-store-owner suitor, which made its debut in second place with $6.3 million. She hoped the romance film would outperform some big-budget rivals because, "I want there to be more movies like it."

In fact, the 29-year-old star of Fried Green Tomatoes and Benny & Joon has written and will soon direct her first film, which she says is similar to Roses. Grapefruit Moon is about the baggage in a relationship and is "a week away" from being a done deal, she says. She won't act in this one, but '96 marks the release of three films in which she stars with some of Hollywood's "great American males." She calls Roses' Christian Slater "sweet. He makes you want to take care of him." Alec Baldwin, with whom she stars in March's Heaven's Prisoners, is "the most powerful actor I've ever worked with. He changes the molecular composition when he walks into a room." And she was simply in "awe" of her Lily Dale co-star, Sam Shepard, and "his ability to stay honest and simple and present."

There is a special man in her life, she says, but she won't talk about him publicly. They live in New York -- Masterson's city of preference after several years in Hollywood. She felt less safe there and recalls one L.A. morning when she was due to get her roots touched up. Police had blocked off her street after cornering a "perp." "I found myself mildly annoyed instead of truly afraid," she says. "I knew it was time to move back."