All these lovely young actresses from Scream 2 are tough. That’s what we hear. Around Hollywood, that’s the word. “Oh, man, are they tough-as-nails chicks,” says Wes Craven, the director of both Scream and Scream 2, his voice starting to quake. “I mean, I wouldn’t want to meet any one of them in a dark alley. Whoever tried to fuck with them would be dead!”
We don’t want to be dead, of course, so we aren’t meeting the Scream 2 Six — for there are six of them — in any dark alleys. What we have in mind are graveyards, honeymoon villas and bathroom stalls. Who knows what you could learn about an actress in one of those places, cornering her there. We want to find out. We think we can squeeze much from them: forbidden sexual curiosities, unspeakable fears, secret neuroses and longings, the truth about who among them wears a gum guard to sleep. That is to say, maybe we will hear the words of the person desperate to tell all just to escape, just like in one of those movies. Only, it’s real life. Sort of.
Kevin Williamson has his doubts as to whether any of this will bear fruit. Williamson wrote the first Scream movie, which grossed more than $100 million; wrote I Know What You Did Last Summer, which has grossed more than $50 million so far; and wrote Scream 2, which is expected to outgross everything in sight for the holidays — all of which makes Williamson a fellow who must know a thing or two. For instance, about modern fruit-bearing horror movies, he knows this: The booze-swilling slut lives, the dove-white virgin dies, or maybe they both get eaten up some dark night. “None of the old horror-genre rules apply — and yet all those rules apply,” he likes to say, cackling happily and firing up a cigarette with a Scream 2 commemorative lighter. “The only real rules are, it’s the ’90s!”
It certainly is the ’90s. But this is no time to be dwelling on moral decay and the loss of true north. We have our Scream 2 Six to think about. There’s Neve Campbell, Party of Five babe and plucky survivor of the first Scream, who in the sequel is a college freshman pledging a sorority. There are her maniac-dodging sisters on campus: Jada Pinkett, so fine in The Nutty Professor and Will Smith’s flame; Rebecca Gayheart, formerly the face of Noxzema and no doubt still quite creamy; and Sarah Michelle Gellar — Buffy! And then there’s Tori Spelling, who plays Campbell’s character in a movie within the movie (and about whom need we say more?); and, finally, Heather Graham, Boogie Nights‘ very own saucy Rollergirl. She is also in the metamovie. It’s called Stab! We refuse to reveal more.
Williamson ponders these women through the haze of his own smoldering tobacco. “All these women are guarded,” he says, finally and knowledgeably. “I mean, we’re in a business where you have to question everybody’s motives, because you just don’t know. You have to ask, ‘Are you after me because you like me and you want to get to know me? Or do you want to kill me, do you want to stab me?’ You have to look at the killer’s motive and question it.”
Though slightly puzzled by these remarks and not a little chilled, we are not put off. We will see for ourselves the stuff that the Scream 2 Six are made of. First we drive over to the seedy part of town, to Hollywood Boulevard, and buy a plastic bagel and a paper plate and a big brown plastic cockroach to hide between the two. Then we are on our way.
Rebecca Gayheart is pulling into the Westwood Memorial Cemetery, where some poor soul is getting the full Hollywood burial treatment, complete with Gatorade. We know this because the drink has major signage here. Gayheart, who is from Pine Top, Ky. (pop. 800; “near the big city of Hazard!”), says, “Oh, dear,” with sweet, provincial dismay, then drives around to the Corridor of Memories. She comes to stand in front of the simple wall crypt that contains all that is left of Marilyn Monroe, 1926-1962. Marilyn, during her time, certainly saw lots of things, maybe even a killer or two. In fact, she may even have slept with a killer or two. But who hasn’t in Hollywood these days?
In any event, Gayheart lifts her hand. She has picked this spot for our meeting out of an only-in-Hollywood guidebook that gives directions to star murder sites, star grave sites, star suicide sites “and much more!” Why she chose this particular place, she knows not, since she has never felt any special affinity for Marilyn. And yet, her wavy blond hair fluttering lightly in the breeze, her eyes clouded by a pair of glamorously oversize Gucci sunglasses, she presses her hand to the cool, smooth surface of the crypt much as a fan might, with a kind of awe.
“I wonder what she’s wearing,” Gayheart says. “I wonder if she has lipstick on.” Then, frowning, she moves her hand over the stone. “This is so weird,” she says. “I feel a little vibration. I wonder. Is she trying to tell us something?” She produces a pack of Marlboro Lights. “I want to smoke a cigarette with Marilyn,” she says, as if Marilyn were right there with us, craving one, too.
Gayheart is sometimes ambivalent about her brief dalliance with necromancy. She has heard that during her time as the Noxzema girl, sales of the face cream, which had been moldering, took a good leap in the air. It is safe to say, and say it we do, that in a sense she brought the ancient emollient back from the dead. “Uh, kind of, yeah,” she says, modestly. And yet she is displeased. It’s been three years — three years during which she had a short-lived role on Beverly Hills 90210, a short-lived TV series called Earth 2 and a part in Nothing to Lose — and still the public hasn’t forgotten what she once did!
“At least once a day, people refer to me as the Noxzema chick or the zit-cream girl,” she says, pouting.
One day those people may get it. One day!
“Get me mad enough and look out!” she goes on, menacingly. For instance, back in eighth grade in Kentucky, there was this girl named Michelle — “Michelle Jones, actually,” Gayheart snorts. “She knows. She knows what happened” — who harassed her constantly. Michelle Jones would knock into Gayheart and make her drop her schoolbooks and then call her a bitch, thinking she had the hots for Jones’ boyfriend.
Gayheart stood this for a year. “Well, then, at recess one day,” Gayheart says, “she comes over and shoves me, and I fall into a mudhole. A big mudhole. I get up. I proceed to shove her into the mudhole. I punched her. I scratched her. I kicked her ass. No one ever messed with me again. The boys started calling me Rocky.” Other nicknames? “Oh, my hair was kind of big and frizzy, so I would be called Bushhead, Cottonhead, Frizzhead and Helmethead. It was terrible. I hate them all,” she says, laughing gaily, as if she wouldn’t really slaughter them Carrie-like if she had the chance.
Earlier, we had thought to spring our plastic cockroach under a plastic bagel on Gayheart. Now we tiptoe away from that idea.
She carries her cat, Kitty, with her on airplanes and once, during an emergency landing, refused to slide down the escape chute without her Kitty. Gayheart to the flight attendant: “Fuck you!” We further explore the nuances of her character by asking what she likes to do that she will only do alone. What she likes to do is organize. “It’s not something you do with someone around,” she says. “It’s the kitchen cabinets. The bathroom cabinets. Closets. Every drawer. Everything. Meticulously.” She pauses. “Actually, my fiance thinks I’m psychotic.”
Naturally, we are hard pressed not to agree.
“I’m not,” Gayheart says, simply. “I just like things to be right.”
The psychological underpinnings are perhaps these: Nothing ever goes right for long in a deep mine, and Gayheart conies from a long line of deep miners. Back in Pine Top, that’s what her father did, mine coal in the deep veins, as did his father before him. They were poor. At school, Gayheart ate the reduced-price lunches. At the age of 15, she left to become a model in Manhattan. She is now 25. She has lived in Los Angeles for a year and four months. Generally, during the day, Gayheart will be found wearing underwear, but as the hours wear on, she may have a change of heart. “Yes,” she says, musing, “I would say it would be the night hours that I don’t wear underwear. It’s uncomfortable. Why would I?” Thus does she make her way around town.
During her last minute at Marilyn Monroe’s crypt, she confesses to having an issue with biting and grinding. She says she grinds her teeth in her sleep and announces that she is the one of the Scream 2 Six who must wear a gum guard at night, dentist’s orders. Furthermore, she says she’s a person who likes to gnaw on her inner cheek. And did she happen to mention that she also bites her cuticles until they bleed?
“This one’s a little fucked,” she says, finger rising. “See?”
Nervously, we attempt to change the subject. We know she is leaving for Africa shortly. She will be away for a long time and will miss out on many things, including photo shoots for important magazines such as the one we work for. She is making a movie in Africa. But who knows what may really happen to her over there, on the dark continent? We ask her what she’d most likely come back as in her next life.
“Like, the whole vampire thing is very interesting to me,” she says, cheerily.
Now there’s a thought.
We get the heck out of there and think that what we really ought to do now is go hang out with the one known as the Slayer.
For an overly long time, we of all people are thought to be a killer at Torrance High School, where some scenes for the hit TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer are being shot and where Buffy herself, Sarah Michelle Gellar — also the co-star of I Know What You Did Last Summer — sits perched on a director’s chair between takes. Gellar is agreeably though unnaturally blond, with impossible angles to her nose. A small wind blows, scattering her hair. It’s cold out, and somewhat precipitous. This isn’t California weather. “It’s very odd,” Gellar says, shivering slightly.
We agree that it is and say, “If life were a horror movie, convince us that you would be the one left standing at the end.”
Gellar waves her hand in breezy dismissal. “Oh, that wouldn’t be me. I’m always the one that gets killed. And I want to go really gory. Body parts all over the place. Mangled!”
Appalled by this cavalier, non-Buffy-like attitude, we sputter, “But you must want life. To live!”
Gellar frowns. She mulls. “Let me get this straight,” she says. “You’re the murderer, and — “
“Well, we wouldn’t say we are the murderer, exactly,” we say, though a more forceful denial might have been called for.
Gellar studies us. She says, “These are the strangest questions I’ve ever been asked.” Just then, a gust of wind finds a lighting-crew umbrella and takes off with it, twisterlike. “Oh, we’re losing our damn makeshift sets!” Gellar cries out. Then she says, “Do we have any cookies? Hey, would you like a vanilla wafer?”
In a way, of course, this bit of deflection is admirable; it speaks of a certain amount of cunning. It would be a good thing to have among all the real Hollywood killers.
Still, we don’t especially care for it. It’s disconcerting, so much so that a moment later, we accidentally forget Gellar’s name and call her Buffy, as in, “Now for our next question, Buffy . . . ” She graciously allows this to pass without comment, though the pupils centered in her marvelously swizzled green eyes enlarge some, leading us to think that maybe she has filed it away.
The camera rolls. An actress says to Gellar, “You talk about slaying as if it’s a job. It’s not. It’s who you are!”
She returns to her chair a little more open. If we were to mug her any time soon, she says, all we’d probably get away with is a measly four bucks. She grew up in Manhattan and has been an actress since she was 4. She spent part of her youth on the soap opera All My Children, for which she won an Emmy. She doesn’t smoke, doesn’t belch, doesn’t crack her knuckles, has never had her life flash in front of her eyes, keeps with her on the set a new white Maltese puppy named Thor, wants to leave her parents out of it, and wears matching toenail and fingernail polish.
Today, she holds out her fingers and studies her nails, their sheen, so brilliant, so glossy, even under clouds.
“It’s a Buffy thing!” she says, remarkably. “Buffy colors and stuff!”
Because of the Buffy show and because of I Know What You Did Last Summer, Gellar has found herself becoming a spokeswoman for horror movies. Many people have asked her, “What’s this fascination with horror movies?” She has an answer: “We’re a society that lives on Princess Diana’s death and Nicole Brown Simpson’s death. We’re a country that’s fascinated by despair and the horrible things that happen.” She pauses and sort of chuckles, remembering something. She is remembering when she was younger and used to watch her goldfish die. “It was fascinating,” she says, “how they sort of turned upside down and flipped over. You know?”
“Of course,” we say, because now we’re getting somewhere.
Gellar opens her mouth, and into view comes her tongue. Suddenly it’s undulating, slithering around in there like a belly dancer’s tummy. It’s an awesome display. In fact, we have never seen anything like it before.
“Isn’t that weird?” she says. “I have no idea what it is.”
We wonder when she first realized she could make her tongue do that. She says, flatly, “No clue,” though of course we know better. (As Tori Spelling says awhile later, “Well, lucky her boyfriend!”)
Gellar takes us to her dressing-room trailer to meet Thor, the Maltese, and tells us that one thing that horrifies her is the press. “I want people to go, ‘Oh, she’s cool,’ ” she says while opening a can of dog food. “But I’m so private, and neurotic about my privacy.”
“But you’re happy, aren’t you?”
“Uh,” Gellar says, blanching. It seems we have gone too far. She is fearful of us once again. “So, is my end coming now?” she shrieks, as if she’s just been stabbed. “My God,” she wails. “Oh, my God! I’m dying, aren’t I?”
Startled, we look within ourselves. What have we done?
“Sorry for the little outbreak there,” Gellar says. “Thank you. Thank you. I’m finished now.”
The last we see of her, she is on the floor, cross-legged, spoon-feeding her dog. For some reason, we don’t think she’s much of a slayer. We drive on.
In a Byzantine house far, far away from Torrance High live Jada Pinkett and her boyfriend, the ultratalented Will Smith. It is the oddest place, with a ton of windows and a whole confusion of inner corridors. Before we showed up, Pinkett says, her lips were deathly blue. She maintains that this is because she was freezing cold after her morning swim; but with this wool cap on her head and these sweat pants on her legs, all will be well. Her lips are turning back to the pink of the living.
Today, boyfriend Smith is getting ready to step out to his own personal back one and play a little golf with his brother Harry. In the dining room, Harry is holding a glass of orange juice and giving it a funny look. Pinkett sits at a long wooden table, eating purple grapes, laying syrup upon pancakes and diving her fork into scrambled eggs.
Harry says of the orange juice, “I hear this is, like, poisonous.”
Pinkett looks at us in silence.
Harry shrugs and disappears through flapping doors, the orange-juice glass to his lips.
We hear a ka-thunk and fear that Gellar has been on the phone to Pinkett. Maybe Pinkett has been preparing for us. But that noise isn’t Harry keeling over. It’s just the door, flapping in its frame.
“Orange juice?” Pinkett says, offering us a pitcher full of it, kindly.
The daughter of parents who divorced early, she grew up in a rough part of Baltimore and once got robbed there. One big guy said, “I want your jewelry, I want your money, I want all that shit.” He and another big guy pointed their 9 mm pistols at her face. Her bladder loosened up. (“Yeah,” she says from this distance of time and space, “I peed in my pants.” It doesn’t bother her any.) The two guys took her stuff, and, as they were leaving, one of them glanced back at her. She saw his eyes. She saw him making a split-second decision. Two weeks later, that one guy got arrested for robbing and killing two boys. Sometime after that, Pinkett had occasion to talk to him. She asked him why he’d let her live. He said she was too pretty to hurt — “just so blasé like that,” she recalls, “not because taking somebody’s life is just some wrong shit to do. Just, ‘You’re a hot-looking chick, I let you go.’ “
She feels blessed, and others have also felt that way about her. When she auditioned for a part on the TV show A Different World, the first thing that series star Debbie Allen said to her was, “Girl, you got angels on your shoulders.”
Pinkett didn’t ask Debbie Allen what she meant. “I just let that live,” she says, over that wonderful hill of purple grapes.
What she fears most is fire. She has 50 photo albums and countless photos awaiting albums, and she fears losing them to fire. They are her most valuable possessions. She has pictures of herself as an infant; of her with fuchsia hair, with blond hair; of her on the set of A Different World, on the set of Jason’s Lyric; of her the first time she met L.L. Cool J and the group Guy; of Will and her on their first date. Every second of every moment of her 26 years has been thoroughly documented.
“I’m so scared,” she says. “You see, those are tangible memories. Once a week, I’m going through my pictures. There’s nothing like being able to go back and actually hold the moment.”
She worries herself into a frenzy about this sometimes, saying, “If this house burned down, it’s all gone with it!” Pressing her hand to her chest, she exclaims, “Oh, my goodness!”
Pinkett is friendly and open and basically not afraid of plain talk.
“In order to really know about yourself sexually and understand your pleasures and all that,” she says, “you really have to have an open mind, because you have society telling you that being a woman who enjoys sex and knows her body and doesn’t have any inhibitions is a slut, you know what I’m saying?”
Steam is rising off the eggs.
“Forbidden sexual curiosities? Well, I have no sexual inhibitions. So, no, not one. Well, there might be one. I had a girlfriend — I’m not really into bondage, but I had a girlfriend who had quite an interesting experience with it. So, you know. You know what I’m saying? But that’ll never happen. I mean, if it was just me to deal with and not Will, you know, it would be different.”
Just then, just as Pinkett is laughing about what she might do if Smith weren’t around, Smith pops into the room. The two are about to get married, thus taking bondage out of the realm of possibility for at least a little while. Smith gives Pinkett a peck.
“I’m going to shoot this 84,” he says.
“In golf?” Pinkett says.
Every single morning and night, Pinkett prays, and quite often she and Smith pray together. She says, “You know that saying, ‘The family that prays together, stays together’? You can say, ‘Oh, that’s so cliché, that’s just words.’ But it’s the truth.”
When they pray together, they don’t do it next to the bed but on the bed, facing each other on their knees, bowed over, crowns of heads just lightly touching, holding hands. Pinkett can’t remember what she and Smith were talking about the first time they prayed like this. She only remembers him being on the bed with her, him taking her hand and saying, “Come on, baby, let’s pray.”
“It was just incredible,” she says. “It was just, like, such a powerful force kind of glued us together. And I feel like that every time we do it. It’s another way of making love, really. Just a whole other way of making love. Just on a whole other plane.”
She takes us to a dimly lit corridor leading down past Will’s son Trey’s room. At night this corridor is especially dark. Sometimes it frightens her, and when she walks past Trey’s door, she sometimes really freaks out. There’s a man in there. He’s wearing sunglasses and carrying a gun. He’s as tall as Will Smith and, in fact, looks just like Will Smith. Indeed, it is Will Smith, or at least a full-size cardboard cutout of him, from Men in Black. She knows this. Nonetheless, it spooks her every time.
“It’s just a house full of doors,” she says. “So you’re just always terrified that somebody’s going to get in on you someway, somehow.”
Here we try the gambit that seemed to so unnerve Gellar, the one about if this were a horror movie, why would you be the one left alive at the end.
Pinkett is diminutive, only 5 feet. Nonetheless, when she throws herself up straight, she seems quite a bit taller.
“Well, it’s because I’m an exceptional young lady!” she says, and we agree, that is plenty reason enough.
Neve Campbell has the sniffles, so she probably shouldn’t be smoking, but she is. She fills a cup with water to use as an ashtray and sets it next to us so that we can smoke, too. We like to smoke with any of the Scream 2 Six who smoke. We feel that having that in common will bring us closer to them. To spark Campbell’s cigarette, we produce a Scream 2 commemorative lighter.
“Hey, where’d you get that?” Campbell says. “Kevin Williamson,” we say. “It’s graft. He bought us off with a Scream-the-sequel lighter.”
“Are you serious?” she says. “That’s hilarious. That’s just hilarious!”
We nod, smile and ask her how she would react if a killer were among us. Quietly, she says, “How do you even respond to that? Some man comes to your window and is holding a knife. I guess you hope to God that you’ll be strong enough to fight back and get rid of him, get him out of there, outwit him. But, you know, you could also be like a deer in the headlights.”
Campbell has done lots of getting away without getting killed in Scream and Scream 2. She has been supernatural in The Craft. She wonders what kind of impact all this might have on her reactions in a real-life, on-the-streets encounter.
“Maybe because I’ve done this enough in the movies, my instinct would be just, like, ‘Action,’ and I’d start fighting and stuff and be Miss Tae Kwon Do. It could be.” She pauses. There’s the movies. Then there’s life. “Except I’d forget to hit him for real and he’d be like, ‘What are you doing?’ And I’d be wondering why I was dead at the end of the night.”
We are in her dressing-room trailer on the Sony studios lot, where Party of Five is shot, way in the back somewhere. Just a short while ago, somebody slipped past the guards at the front entrance and left a bunch of black roses on her trailer doorstep. The enclosed note read, “Wait for the letter.”
“All of a sudden my life became really scary, when I wasn’t really that scared yet,” she says. “I have heard this really does happen, especially for actresses like me who tend to play girl-next-door parts. If you come across somewhat as a victim to people who are somewhat psychotic, they tend to think that you really are vulnerable.”
Which she indeed is, at this moment. Neighbors have told her of people taking pictures of her through her kitchen window. She doesn’t know whether this is illegal or not.
“Well, if it’s not illegal,” we offer, “and we think it is, since that’s what a Peeping Tom does, then at the least it’s perverted.”
“Yeah, yeah, right, yeah, anyways,” Campbell says, smoking. She has a tendency to get way stressed out. At those times, she becomes compulsive. For instance, maybe the remote control for her pool cover doesn’t work. She’ll spend hours trying to figure out what’s wrong. Her friends will be saying, “Just sit down.”
“I can’t,” Campbell says. “But at some point, I’m going to have to stop all this. I’m getting a kind of a hint from whoever it is. My hair is falling out. Not in vast quantities. But every once in a while I just get a random bald spot on the top of my head, and people go, ‘Uh, Neve, maybe you need to go to the doctor again.’ I go to the doctor, and he puts about 20 needles in my head, and I leave and the hair grows back, until next time. Yeah, so I’m thinking I can either keep doing that or slow down a little. Might be a smart choice.”
Naturally, because this suggests a life being lived at a frenetic pace, we ask about the raciest thing Neve Campbell has ever done in public.
This throws her for a loop. “Like, in my personal life?” she says. “As a person? As Neve Campbell?”
When she was growing up in Canada and attending ballet school, she wasn’t the most popular girl in a tutu. The boys at the school once made up a song ranking the school’s girls in terms of their appeal. The verse for Campbell went, “Neve-aggh! Neve-aggh!”
Just recently, an opportunity for revenge presented itself. One of the boys who used to say “Neve-aggh” showed up on the Party of Five set as an extra. Here she was, a star of sorts, rising far from her early days as a player in a Canadian production of The Phantom of the Opera and as a Tampax pitchwoman. There he was, an extra. She didn’t rub it in his face, though. She didn’t even mention what he used to say. Instead, she felt sorry for the guy and a little guilty for having become a success.
Campbell recently broke up with her husband of two years. She’s single now. Perhaps because of this, she is learning Spanish. “Spanish is such a sexy language,” she says. “You can sound sexy saying anything in Spanish.”
We take this moment to say, “Shall we go outside and around the corner and finish this up in a stall in the ladies’ room?”
“What?” says Campbell. She looks horrified. “What?” she says again. “In what ladies’ room? Where?”
“There’s a public one over there,” we say with a toss of our hand.
“That’s very odd,” says Campbell, taking a closer look at us in this trailer where she has received black roses. “Huh,” she says. “Wow,” she says.
We tell her we are to meet Heather Graham on the top level of a parking garage. Terrible things always happen in parking garages; by comparison, a bathroom stall is tame. We tell her that we’ve told the rest of the Scream 2 Six that we will be talking to Neve Campbell in such a stall. They were all terribly jealous. They thought they should get the stall. They felt stall-deprived.
“They did not,” she says, acutely. “You are so full of it. And look — why would anyone go up to the top of a parking garage to meet a total stranger? I would never do that.”
We sense ourselves at a loss. We say, “What are your forbidden sexual fantasies?”
Campbell shrieks, “Oh, my God! Oh, no!”
We say, “How often is it that when you go out, you don’t wear underwear?”
For whatever reason, Campbell warms to this one. She says, “Well, normally I wear underwear. I don’t always wear a bra, but underwear, yeah, I like underwear. It’s a good thing. Now, I don’t mind thong underwear; you feel a little more free. But, no, I’m not the type that would get off on not wearing underwear.”
“What do you like to do that you only do alone?”
Campbell says, “Masturbating is a good one.”
“You might not do that alone,” we suggest.
“This is true; this is true,” Campbell says. “OK. Write in my journal. That is what I do alone.”
She will not share any of her writings with us. Because she never graduated from high school, she is insecure. She is honest about it, and that’s fine. “Plus,” she says, giving us a look, “I don’t feel like I have to share.”
She can make a noise that sounds like someone singing three songs at once. It’s a combination of a spuh sound, a clicking-saliva-type sound and a humming-type sound. It amuses her to make this noise. If it’s too quiet in a room, she will make the noise to make the room seem more festive.
“Or if I’m bored,” she says and wonders what making this noise, for these reasons, says about her. Later on she ushers us out of her trailer and apologizes for not going to the stall with us. “Sorry,” she says. “But you can look at mine in here.”
We have a gander at the small, trailer-size toilet area. We notice that it’s spotless, pure white, pristine.
She says she wants to give us a hug. She is nice and warm.
Outside, we check our coat for loose Neve hairs and are happy to see there are none.
There are such things as eruptive prominences. And here are some different kinds of galaxies: E3, barred spiral, dwarf elliptical, bright nuclear N-type, peculiar. We are enthralled. We are so pleased that Heather Graham, no doubt having learned a few things from her roles in Drugstore Cowboy, Swingers and Boogie Nights, has refused to meet us at the top of a parking garage and insisted instead upon the Griffith Observatory. It has interesting exhibits. Some of the words we have read so far, while they might apply to the far-off, also seem to us to apply to the nearby and, indeed, to a few of the Scream 2 Six. In this regard, we wonder where Graham will fit in.
Outside, she comes to us in polyester pants, Dr. Martens boots and a raver’s quilted jacket. Her hair is blond and flowing. She clacks Care Free sugarless gum. On a bench overlooking the entire L.A. ordeal, we recommend to her our own favorite, cinnamon-flavored Tic Tacs. “No, because they’re not as much fun as gum,” she says, “though it’s probably better than gum, because gum leads to teeth-grinding at night. I’ve been with people before where I’m sleeping next to them, I look over and they’re just grinding and grinding their teeth. I feel really bad for them.”
Her motto is: Don’t take things too seriously. She says stuff like, “I think it’s good to enjoy who you are and not hate yourself for things that you aren’t.”
We say things like, “Has that been a problem for you in the past?”
Clacking her gum, she says things like, “Maybe.”
She has never made up a nickname for a boyfriend’s penis and has no intention of ever doing so. She has thought this out. She has her reasons. “It’s like, if you give a penis a name, it’s sort of like saying the penis isn’t the guy. It’s like you’re having sex with this other thing — it’s stuck on the guy but it’s not really the guy, it’s a whole other person. And then you think, ‘Well, what’s the point of having sex with this other person when I thought I was having sex with you?’ To me, it’s like the most gross thing — it’s like, ‘OK, if I want to have sex with, like, you know, Harry, if that’s the name of your penis, and your name is, like, you know, Bob, then what’s the point?’ You know?”
We think we do, though we aren’t sure. On the matter of penises, though, Graham isn’t finished. She has a few other things to say.
Lowering her voice, speaking somewhat conspiratorially, she says, “I like to make it talk.”
“Sometimes I like to think that it’s talking. I make it talk and dance around. And sometimes I make it sing Broadway show tunes.”
She makes a happy, sassy popping sound with her gum.
Big Dork, she says, are the two words that say the most about her.
If she laughs really hard, she has a tendency to pee in her pants. “But when I’m really scared,” she says, “I don’t usually pee in my pants.”
Later she says, “I don’t really prefer underwear and don’t usually wear it unless I have my period,” leaving us to wonder whether we should try to make her laugh really hard or not, given other things we now know.
Pondering how she would maim if she were to maim, she says, “Well, I remember there’s a scene in La Femme Nikita where she takes the fork and stabs the guy in the hand. I thought that was kind of cool, you know?”
“I’m not planning on having kids,” she says after a while, “but I can see the appeal.”
“What a chilling thing to say,” we say. Actually it’s not what she said so much as how she said it, which was weirdly.
“Yeah, right?” Graham says, smiling.
At one point, after listening to us reel out the Gellar-upsetting, if-life-were-a-horror-movie-etc. question, Graham smacks her gum loudly and asks, “Can I be the killer?”
And just like that she is gone, leaving our heads spinning. We don’t even know where she comes from, nothing about her parentage, nothing about other past acting roles. A little computer research is indicated. All we learn is that she comes from a strict Catholic family, that her father is an FBI agent, and that she played Agent Cooper’s girlfriend, the ex-nun Annie, on the deeply disturbed TV show Twin Peaks. This, in fact, explains a lot, and when we ask ourselves what kind of galaxy Graham would come from if not our own, we decide upon bright nuclear N-type, with a few years spent in peculiar.
Is that a bagel?” Tori spelling asks.
Nodding, we say, “Pick it up.”
“No,” Spelling says.
She looks at the thing and sees something brown through the bagel hole. She begins poking at the bagel. It slides across the table inside our wonderful honeymoon villa at the oasislike Sunset Marquis Hotel, off Sunset.
“What is it?” we say.
“Bug in it,” Spelling says, standing up straight.
Spelling looks at us as if we have lost our mind, as if to say, “It’s just a pathetic plastic bagel sitting on top of a phony plastic cockroach.”
She comes to us, then, well prepared for our little games, having lived in Hollywood her entire life, all 24 years of it as the daughter of Aaron Charlie’s Angels–Starsky and Hutch–The Love Boat–Fantasy Island–Dynasty–T.J. Hooker–Melrose Place–Savannah–Beverly Hills 90210 Spelling, the well-known producer. She has lived in a $100 million mansion with two rooms reserved specifically for the wrapping of gifts. Her loving dad once dumped a pile of imported snow onto the front lawn so she could have a truly white Christmas. She was given the middle name Davey. Furthermore, over the years, there have been sniping rumors of breast enlargements, nose jobs, anorexia, nepotism and more, all of which might be enough to really kill a person.
And yet here she is! She lives!
Among the newest rumors about Spelling is that she can scream a scream to make your ears fall off. She offers to let us hear this scream but only if we will scream with her. After the terrible racket has died down, she says, “The gardener outside is going to freak. We’re here in the honeymoon suite, and they’re thinking you’re killing me on our honeymoon night.”
She snickers at this.
Spelling tells us she has been watching horror movies since she was 5 years old. They are her favorite. The ones she prizes most are The Shining, The Fury, The Amityville Horror, the Friday the 13th series (“only certain ones, though”) and the Nightmare on Elm Street series (“only 1 and 3, though”). As a child, she most often watched these kinds of movies in the company of her mother. “That’s probably unconventional, but it didn’t disturb me for life or anything,” she likes to say.
Every night, though, Spelling looks under her bed to see if the boogeyman is there. So far she hasn’t even caught a glimpse of him. But that doesn’t stop her from checking.
And if you ever get a chance to sleep with Spelling, be prepared: The TV doesn’t go off. She always sleeps with the TV on, set to Channel 4. She likes to hear the talking. The talking drowns out the possibility of imagining that she is hearing something. It also drowns out the possibility of really hearing something if there’s really something to be heard. But let’s not get into that. We heard on the radio the other day that Spelling has been showing off her breasts at a New York strip club. We give this no credence until Spelling tells us one way in which she is naughty.
“I have these dirty little fantasies of being a stripper,” she says. “It’s about getting to wear the fun high shoes. And, well, I love to dance. It’s about the dancing,” she decides. “It’s about the sexy dancing and having people watch me.
“I have the high stripper shoes, too,” she continues. “At my place, I’ll put them on sometimes and dance around in front of the mirror.”
For some things there are no answers. For instance, why Spelling hasn’t had a boyfriend in four years. Today she is wearing a simple but extremely short and provocative black skirt and a T-shirt on the front of which is a silk-screened photo of two people kissing; perhaps this is intended as an ironic comment on what’s missing in her life. She dates around, of course, but of love, she hasn’t known it recently, or maybe ever. “I don’t know if I’ve ever been in love. I don’t think I have been. I wonder. I don’t know. Is that weird?”
At the present time, she wouldn’t even really know if a man she likes is really a man she likes. “I’m always like, ‘This is the one!’ My friends are like, ‘OK, we’ve heard this the last four times.’ I’m really into destiny, and I’m always like, ‘He’s my destiny and my fate and my soul mate!’ And then a week later, we break up.”
Spelling fears planes. Riding on a plane, she sticks her fingers in her ears and rocks back and forth. She is happiest in a plane when she locks herself in the bathroom. She likes that enclosed feeling. She says, “I don’t feel as much.”
She also didn’t feel as much when her grandfather died; what was more traumatic was when her poodle, Angel, expired. “We were more of a pair,” she says, full of remembrance.
What Spelling always says to people — and it’s kind of dorky, she thinks, though we don’t — is, “Smile, it’s free!”
“If I see someone is sad, I just go, ‘Hey, smile, it’s free!’ ” she says in a tiny, brittle china-cup voice.
In many ways, despite the fact that Spelling ruined our plastic-roach amusement, we are charmed. We enjoy listening to her talk. We let her go on. “Have I ever been evil? Oh, well, when I was little, I used to try to kill my little brother all the time.”
“You mean play-kill?”
Spelling frowns. “Kind of not really. Like, I hated him. Like, when I was about 10 and he was about 5, he would do anything I told him to do. So I put ammonia in a bowl, and I told him it smelled like roses and to sniff really deeply. Oh, that was an evil thing, wasn’t it? It burned his nose and made him cry. I get points for that one, don’t I?”
We agree that she does.
She is curious about a threesome, with her and two men — “but not like with them being together, just like them with me, yeah!”
At the same time, she’s had only two real boyfriends in her life; didn’t lose her virginity until she was 18; goes to the cash machine, withdraws money, hands it to the poor; buys pizza, gives it to the hungry on the theory that “it’s the little things that make people happy”; and takes home chewed up, discarded dogs and names them Gracie Allen.
To summarize, she sees herself this way: “I’m a good girl with bad thoughts. How’s that?”
She thinks about sleepwear. Lately she has been sleeping in the nude. When she wasn’t sleeping in the nude, she was sleeping in a T-shirt and underwear. Sometimes that made her feel secure, for should an earthquake “or something” occur, she was prepared to run out of the house, though maybe if she was in the nude and just happened to have her fun, high stripper’s shoes on, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing. In any event, on most occasions, the best reason Spelling can come up with for wearing underwear is to protect oneself from drafts.
As it happens, Spelling has a lot of curious personal habits in addition to checking under the bed for the boogeyman. For instance, at meals, all leftovers on her plate have to be left there in even numbers. She can’t leave three peas behind; it has to be an even number: two peas, four peas, whatever, but even. Another thing is, when she drives through a yellow light, she has to scratch her head. Sometimes, if she’s really stressed out and she goes through a yellow light, she not only has to scratch her head, she also has to spend the rest of the trip reading every billboard she sees out loud.
Revealing this, she says, “Well, now I’m starting to sound freaky.”
We don’t think so. We are moved in ways we haven’t been moved so far. We find her delightful. Each question brings a more thoroughly intoxicating answer.
“What fascinates you?”
“My butt!” Spelling says. “It fascinates me because I don’t work out and it still hasn’t fallen. I’m waiting. Any day now, it’s going to happen. And yet it still has that perkiness. I mean, I like it so much that when I dance, I’m always looking back at it. I’ll even turn around and dance looking at it.”
She giggles happily.
There is a knock at the door of the honeymoon villa. We don’t get up. We are busy. But the knocker is insistent, so finally we open the door. A woman is holding a watering can. She looks around us at Spelling and startles. “Oh, I am so sorry,” she says.
“No, no, we’re all done here, come right on in,” we say.
She looks nervous but enters anyway. She is watering the plants when Spelling goes up to her. In Spelling’s hand is the plastic bagel and the paper plate, with the plastic cockroach hidden between the two. She holds it out. She says to the watering-can woman, “Would you like a bagel?”
We don’t want to go. We are liking Spelling. Everything she does is just so pure and sweet and kind of twisted or sort of evil.
We like that in a woman of the ’90s.