Alicia Silverstone: The Crown Princess of Young Hollywood
Alicia Silverstone, Tinseltown's reigning teen queen, has a passel of new movies in the pipeline. Here she explains why she turned down Aaron Spelling's offer to join "Beverly Hills, 90210," reveals why she'd like to gun down Parisians, and tells what it's like to go out on the town with Leonardo DiCaprio.
"People think, 'Wow, you're an actress, so people must be really nice to you and kiss your ass.' Nobody kisses my ass. On the contrary, people are mean; make me feel like a nobody. Take, like, Leonardo DiCaprio's whole group, those kids that do the Young Hollywood scene. Now that I know Leo, I know he's really separate from them, but a lot of girls in that crowd say things about me like, 'Why is she getting all these parts? She just uses her sex, that's why.' If they only had a clue how much I'm constantly avoiding that. I've only made love with one person in my whole life. I don't really like men--there's so much macho-ness--I just like them to be my friends. Guys are all trying to be like, 'Screw as many girls as you can.' They're so ridiculous, so pathetically insecure. That's probably why my favorite thing in the world is a box of fine European chocolates which is, for sure, better than sex."
Such pronouncements, uttered by Alicia Silverstone with the solemn conviction that only a just-turned-18-year-old can bring to a conversation, could deflate this great nation's collective tumescence for the girl who played the jailbait temptress of The Crush, and then slinked her way through three popular Aerosmith videos. Well, almost deflate it: I mean, have you seen her in that movie or those videos? All that and the MTV Movie Awards she's won have brought Silverstone exposure that has put her in a place where she's now starring in four more Films due out this year. And, she's about to tear into the sought-after centerpiece role in director Amy Heckerling's big-studio comedy Clueless, a Fast Times at Ridgemont High-type spin on Jane Austen's Emma. Silvers tone has become, arguably, this second's most desirable Hollywood teen dream girl.
Blame it, if you tike, on the way she looks - Silverstone could be the secret offspring of '60s superstarlets John Phillip Law and Sue Lyon--but people do wonder if, as the old James Brown song put it, Silverstone's used what she's got to get just what she wants. "Every one of those movies I auditioned for, every job, I worked my ass off to get" asserts Silverstone over breakfast at the Chateau Marmont, "If people look at what I do and go, 'She's just really sexy and pretty, that's all,' that's total bullcrap. How many millions of pretty girls have been in videos without ever going on to do a lot of movies? What studio executive cares about pretty girls who appear in music videos? You don't get to carry a whole film unless people see that you're able to carry off a whole film. Period."
Agreed, but surely Silverstone has noticed the attention men in this town have been all too willing to pay her. ''I do notice it." she says. "I mean, some guys are so obvious. Old men, older men, do it all the time, they're always looking at me. There's weird stuff out there and I sense it very fast, so I usually run the other way. I'm not very sociable. I really stay away from it. Many people right now tend towards making me appear the 'sex girl'--people just know me from one movie and the videos. When my next couple of movies come out they'll go, 'Wow, she's not a psycho crazy person or a tough brat.'"
Why is Silverstone so eager to throw off the siren image she's known for? Didn't giving off heat waves in their earliest roles do nothing but good for Demi, Julia, Patricia, Winona, et al.? What's wrong with being thought of as sexy in an industry that feeds on it? "I'm also very good at doing a thousand other parts," she demurs. "If people just go, "Wow, you're really sexy' and don't get anything else about me, it's limiting. Even shooting the pictures for this article, at one point they got this idea to put me in a little slip with red, red lipstick: Miss Sex Kitten, right? I immediately felt so bad, like a victim. Well, I just did this thing called The Forum, have you heard of it? It's, like, this education."
I tell her that I have indeed heard of the three-day intensive training, which some have compared to such dig-down-into-yourself self-help marathons of the past as est. She explains, "So, through The Forum, I'd just gotten that, you know, 'You're not a victim." I know now I have to speak up about feeling vic¬timized. When I first came to Hollywood, I trusted everybody and really got screwed left and right. I'm a real people-pleaser, you know? In my work I can be that sexy girl because I'm an actress, but it's not me. The Forum really helped me a lot with that stuff. And that's where I really met Leo."
Hmmmm, Leo again? Leonardo DiCaprio, the Oscar-nominated star of What's Eating Gilbert Grape and the cover subject of this issue, seems to be cropping up regularly in Silverstone's conversation this a.m., and I'm getting curious. Leaving aside what she's just told me about how all men are dogs, is she dating DiCaprio or anything? "I don't know him well, I just think he's pretty cool," she explains. "I met him at The Forum, because he was taking the education at the same time I was. I had no idea he was going to be there. We had met before, like, 15 times and everybody thought we were friends, but we were just like, 'Hey, what's up?' I've finished The Forum but Leo is going to do the advanced course. So, last night, Leo and this wonderful woman, Caitlin-- who is also in The Forum--and I went out to Denny's. These people started bugging me. This guy comes over, probably because one of his friends sent him over, and says to Caitlin. 'Are you the girl in The Crush?' He didn't even get it right, but Caitiin, all smiley, says, 'No,' and I just looked at him. I was in this bitchy mood because [of] what [I'd been] dealing with in class, discussing how to get through stuff exactly like this.
"People approach you and they don't really get that you're a human," she explains. "People think you're an object."
"Anyway." she continues, "so, we're trying to eat our stuff, then this totally loud, obnoxious guy turns to me and goes, 'Oh, so you were in the movie,' and I'm all bitchy, going, 'Yeah.' And he's saying, 'I'm really glad to meet you, you're a wonderful person,' but I'm like. 'How do you know that?' He says. 'Could my friend get your autograph?' and I said, 'If your friend wants an auto¬graph, he should come ask for it, but not when we're eating, okay?'"