Sean Young Says She Only Did a Nude Scene Because Her Role Left Her No Way Out—Your Votes Please
09/07/1987 at 01:00 AM EDT
Kevin (The Untouchables) Costner compares her to Rita Hayworth and "the screen beauties of the '40s." Harper's Bazaar recently named her one of the 10 most beautiful women in the U.S.A. Nice, but so what? With six films behind her, including Stripes, Blade Runner and Young Doctors in Love, Sean Young, 27, has been labeled luscious before. Now, in No Way Out, the summer's hottest espionage thriller, Young has earned another label: actress. Exclaimed the New York Times: "She'll never again be confused with the scenery." The lady in question is most relieved, and not at al surprised. Padding across a Persian rug in her Greenwich Village apartment, en route from meditating to her first cup of coffee, she announces: "Nobody could have played that part as well as I."
The part evoking such self-confidence is that of a kept woman—jewels, furs, town house—who falls in love with a Navy admiral, played by Costner. Sticky thing is, her keeper is his boss, the Secretary of Defense (Gene Hackman). Sounds pretty sex-kittenish, but that's not the way Young sees the role. "I just didn't settle for this poor tragic character," she says. "A male fantasy in a sexually abusive part—that's probably all the producers were interested in. But as an actress I took that cliché further along. I showed her pain."
And she suffered for her art. A clothes-ripping, flesh-flashing go-round with Costner in the back seat of a limo marks Young's nude scene debut. "It wasn't a pleasant experience," she says (sorry, Kevin). "Nothing could be more disturbing than having to show your body on film. But I feel really proud of that scene. My character is moving at a very fast pace, and she's giving it all away sexually."
Sean, on the other hand, is not. "I've never been real active sexually," she says. "Never. Not ever...I don't personally have any concerns about AIDS. I just know it's not my destiny to die that way." A recently confirmed Catholic, Young believes "that sort of intimacy should be on a spiritual level." One can only assume that her actor boyfriend goes along with that. She won't give his name. "He doesn't want to be known as Sean Young's boyfriend," she explains.
Sean will be seen in Wall Street, playing Michael Douglas' wife. It's a small role, but Sean takes her acting seriously. For some of her colleagues, this attitude rankles. One of the film's stars, Charlie Sheen, found this attitude so unbearable that he furtively tacked a note on her back saying "I am the biggest @#*#! in the world." She says Douglas quickly ripped the note off and chided Sheen. "Sadly, success usually reduces humanity in people," she says of Sheen's behavior. "I'm really determined not to let that happen to me."
Sean is too busy to fret, what with her full schedule—singing lessons, Bible reading ("It's a great little book") and tap-dancing classes to maintain a borderline skeletal 5'9" and 120-lb. physique. Besides, she's probably recorded her version of events in one of the 51-volume spiral notebooks that she's been writing in daily since 1973. "I'm a pretty good writer," she says, predictably. "What is here,"—she points to her head—"comes out on the paper without much bull. There's something amazing about that."
Young's most trusted adviser is her mother, Lee Guthrie, a writer of unauthorized biographies of Woody Allen and Cary Grant. Her parents (Dad is a retired TV news producer) have an unusual marriage. "They live together when they want to," she says. (Sean's sister, Cathleen, 29, is a writer; brother Donald, 31, works with computers.) Sean was raised in Ohio and went to boarding school at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. "It was a very privileged place," she says. "I was allowed to dance in the woods and do what I was meant to do." Her mother, who now lives just a few blocks from her and serves as her ad hoc career counselor, gave the sexually sadistic script for 9½ Weeks a quick toss: "I didn't want Sean seeing that movie, let alone acting in it," she says. "I think as a woman gets more powerful in Hollywood, she refuses to do nude scenes." Guthrie has always had lofty ambitions for her daughter. "My mom saw what an ethereal creature I was," says Sean, "and set about to train me to be realistic."
As daily reminders in her absence, Sean has printed the words "patience, persistence, consistency, balance" on her radiator. "That's what I concentrate on in life," she says. So far it's gotten her where she wants to go, and her star vehicle has arrived on cue. "I feel very lucky and blessed," she allows. "But sometimes it just takes longer for everything to come together when you are really talented."