Name: Kim Basinger
Date of Birth: December 8 1953
Location: Los Angeles
I’ve never been the most confident of people about my looks but I am far more confident now than 25 years ago.
Part of me originally felt uneasy about this ‘sex symbol’ thing. I knew it would be difficult to prove myself as an actress after that. I started getting complexes. Then I thought, ‘Why not accept it for what it is?’
A lot of female roles are not fully realised before they’re offered to you. Good writing is hard to come by. When I’m reading a script it will just hit me whether it is right or not. You just see so much that is just not good.
A woman’s relationship with her body is one that no poet has ever captured or has really been depicted well in any book that I’ve read. I think it’s one of the most psychologically intrinsic, interesting relationships that occur on Earth. I think you can tell the strengths and weaknesses of a woman from the relationship she has with her body. That is unless of course they’ve mastered hiding that relationship with a façade, which many women do.
The bad publicity I’ve had in the past has helped my acting, helped me to find emotions I didn’t know I had.
Rejection is such a universal reality for men and women. It is part of the journey of life that we all go through, and I don’t just mean in a love affair… It can be at work, or whatever. But, however it comes, rejection is a hard one to take.
There is a time for self-indulgence in this business and then you get over that. Other things seep into your life. Motherhood is one of those things, and is my top priority.
I wake up around 6 a.m. every morning. I have a 13-year-old daughter and it takes me a good half hour to 40 minutes to get her out of bed. I tell you: right now it’s great exercise in the morning.
My daughter Ireland’s friends know way too much about my life. All these boys are now 13 or 14 years old and they know so much about my business. I used to walk her into school, and then of course as she got older I wasn’t allowed out of the car. But now I wouldn’t want to, because these boys they wave to say hello to me. I ask my daughter, ‘What is up with this?’ And she tells me stories that I don’t want to hear or repeat.
Being a mum is a huge advantage if you’re playing a mother. You can’t help but carry that – not learned, but forced upon you – wisdom with you into the role. I was watching a movie the other day, and the actress – who I’m friends with – had never been a mother. I just wanted to see what I would have done differently. And, although she did the scene beautifully, I could see that she was coming from another place.
The idea of being immersed in another culture has always intrigued me. I’ve always wanted to do a film in another land. I’ve always wanted to speak some kind of weird language. I remember 20 years ago at a press conference in Paris I told everyone who was there that the next time I returned to France I’d really know how to speak French. Well in two decades I’ve made no progress whatsoever.
Believe me I’m no Mother Teresa. I’ve done a lot of wild-ass things in my life. It’s just that I can be wild without drugs and alcohol. And so can anybody.
I don’t have a really great relationship with me on film, or pictures or anything like that.
I avoid watching myself on screen. I’ve lived so deep in the character that somehow it seems that it would be too shallow to watch it. It’s a weird thing but once you have gone the depths that you need to go, I don’t think you have anything to gain by watching yourself back. It would be like, ‘Why?’
Women are pounded over the head with the idea of turning 50. I can’t wait to see what’s up the road. There’s a looseness, a letting go, that I welcome. I’ve let go of bad feelings, anger and anything else that can destroy you.
These days I’m much more liberated in terms of not caring what people say about the choices I make with film roles. Sometimes I just want to do a film because it’s a physical challenge, or I don’t know where the part will end up leading me, or I just want to surprise myself.
Words: Kaleem Aftab
A full version of this article first appeared in Wonderland #18, Apr/May 2009