Kim Basinger: Kim Confidential
After a couple of years on maternity leave from Hollywood, Kim Basinger will be back on-screen in the cool noir L.A. Confidential. Here she confides that baby Ireland has none of Alec's looks but some of his temper, claims she has no desire to be a first lady, and details exactly how she came to have a chic new hairdo.
We haven't heard from Kim Basinger for some time because she's avoided the media while: fighting a lawsuit regarding her not appearing in the film_ Boxing Helena_ that wound up costing her over $3 million; giving up on the town called Braselton in Georgia, which she had hoped to make into a creative arts center; having a baby; making Robert Altman's Ready to Wear, which left her in tears each night because she had no idea what she was doing (and yet played a TV fashion industry reporter hilariously); and making Curtis Hanson's adaptation of James Ellroy's L.A. Confidential, in which she plays a mysterious party girl in '50s noir Los Angeles.
Now that she's agreed to come up for some public air, we can reassure ourselves that she still retains her sense of humor, her belief in the vegetable as the only proper food to ingest, her ability to turn a phrase and speak her mind, her wackiness, her beauty, and her determination not to let the bastards get her down.
LAWRENCE GROBEL: You've had an addition to your family since we last talked. She's now a year-and-a-half old. How did your pregnancy go?
KIM BASINGER: The first six months of my pregnancy I was really, really seasick--everybody calls it morning sickness, I call it 24-hours-a-day sickness!
Q: Was Alec much help during the seasickness?
A: Alec was in New York making The Juror. I have a wonderful supportive group of women who work in my house with me, but while rocking and rolling in bed late at night, you just say to God, "Help me, this is horrible!"
Q: Did you know it was a girl?
A: No, we didn't want to know. Subliminally Alec and I both thought it was a boy. When the baby came, my doctor said, "Well, this one ain't got any balls." I thought our child might be missing part of his anatomy. Alec was totally ashen. Then he realized and said, "It's a girl!" I was basically in shock.
Q: Was it a natural birth?
A: No, I had to have a C-section. My baby had been in the vaginal canal with her head down for four months. But three weeks before my due date, she had completely turned. My doctor suggested a procedure where they try to turn the baby [the right way]. Without being dramatic, it was the most painful procedure I've ever dealt with in my life. Alec was holding my feet, two nurses were holding my hands. They moved the baby three-quarters down, but they had to stop to give me a rest. Before they got out the door the baby turned all the way back. I just burst into tears. I said, "I am not going home without this baby today! So schedule whatever you have to and get it out!" Two hours later I was in the operating room.
Q: Did you breast-feed?
A: Yes, but I didn't have milk like these Elsie the Cow women who walk around--I'm sorry! I don't know what that is about. To me it's like a fairy tale, these women who talk about having so much milk that they pump it out into bottles. I never had that. I breast-fed for four months and always had to supplement the baby.
Q: Who does she look like, you or Alec?
A: Let me put it this way: how many times a week does Alec come to me and say, "Are you sure she's mine?"?[Laughs] Does that answer your question? I said to one of my ladies in the house, "How do you think it would feel to be able to kiss yourself on the mouth at the age of 14 months? What is it like to watch you bring up you?"
Q: Whose temperament does she have?
A: I have a temper, but I do not have a temper like Alec. I don't think two people [like that] could live in the same house, OK? But with these two temperaments, Ireland has started something that every mother has told me happens: tantrums.
Q: Will she ever taste meat?
A: Ah, no. She's so healthy, and she eats every kind of vegetable on the planet. She eats rutabaga and lentils and black-eyed peas and turnip greens and beets.
Q: So her teenage rebellion will be eating a Big Mac?
A: You know what? I can't say what my reaction will be at the time, but I hope I will remember myself when I went through these things, when I wanted to wear short skirts up to my you-know-what. Children need to grow up and make their own decisions--how they want to pierce their bodies or do whatever they need to do.
Q: Are you working on another child?
A: I'd love to have another baby. We've also thought about adopting.
Q: Any doubt if you adopted it would be a boy?
A: [Laughs] Most of our dogs are females and Alec is always saying he's surrounded by bitches.
Q: Have you allowed pictures of Ireland to appear in the press?
A: It's not really about allowing them. They've been everywhere. I kept her in the house for the first three months, away from people. Then I took her to New York and I remember a barrage of paparazzi everywhere we went. It was really frightening for her, very upsetting. And I said, "That's it."
Q: Alec got into trouble with a photographer--how crazy did that make him?
A: That was in our neighborhood. It's all in litigation now so I can't really talk about it. It was right after her birth. I was very vulnerable. I've been stalked before. The last thing I heard was Alec saying, "Stay in the car."
Q: When were you stalked? Before Alec?
A: Yeah. I don't like to go back there. It lasted a while, and then creepy things would happen when I'd go on location.
Q: Given the problems you've had with Disney, does Ireland have any Disney animals?
A: If she's drawn to Mickey, so be it. But her favorite is Tweety.
Q: Has Alec changed since her birth?
A: I don't think the reality hits men as quickly as women. Men have to grow into this maturity. They see their wives slipping away from them and they resent it. And they have a harder time with giving up what they were so accustomed to. I've been in awe of Alec's verbal ability--he's a very articulate, intellectual guy. I've never seen him have any adversarial situations he could not deal with. But there's one little creature he just can't seem to master. She has him completely intimidated, baffled. He calls from New York and says, "What's she doing? Let me talk to her." So I put him on the speakerphone and she hears, "Is that my little so-and-so?" And she's on top of the washing machine taking her ride, watching the lights go on. And he says, "She's just having less and less to do with me." I know the way he feels, but I say, "Alec, she loves the washing machine this morning, get over it. I can't get a kiss out of her either."