Daryl Hannah: Rich Little Rich Girl

Some have tried to sell Hannah in the mold of such old time studio goddesses as Marilyn Monroe or Grace Kelly. Yet if Hannah compares to any Hollywood archetype, it is Kim Novak--another big blonde sleepwalker type--whom Columbia Pictures mogul Harry Cohn manufactured as a replacement for Rita Hayworth. Whether Hannah has the staying power of a Novak is debatable; she lacks Novak's hunger to please. And, after all, Hannah has no mighty Cohn nor the weight of an old-time studio behind her. Landing Steel Magnolias -- which she says she "had to fight for" -- seems less an indicator of Hannah's career ascent than of '80s studiothink. How many ticket-buyers under 40 would spend seven bucks to see a picture starring Sally Field, Dolly Parton, and Shirley MacLaine? How many studio executives would risk relatively unknown Julia Roberts in the centerpiece role of a $30 million movie? Do the math. Enter Hannah.

During the shooting of the movie in Natchitoches, Louisiana, a film crew followed such fellow cast members as Field, Parton, and MacLaine for a video presskit that will be shown on TV. Hannah so shunned them that, last August, a special crew had to be dispatched to her home so that she could be included in the program. "I typically hide from any cameras that are around," she says.

In fact, Daryl Hannah builds walls when she believes her private life is threatened. Off-limits to interviewers are such topics as her real father, her long romantic liaison with singer/song-writer Jackson Browne, her alleged romance with John Kennedy Jr. (nephew-by-marriage of her Steel Magnolias director Herbert Ross), and films, directors, and co-workers she does not like. In fact, when Hannah later learns that I have contacted dozens of people close to her for this interview, she phones to say that she is "uncomfortable" with what is, after all, standard journalistic practice. Explains the actress who has made a metier of playing mermaids, Neanderthals, and ghosts, "Why should people know that I am someone who went to this particular school or had that job, instead of the background of the role I'm playing?"

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