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RODERICK MANN

Broderick: 'Help! I'm Trapped In My Teens'

June 07, 1986|RODERICK MANN

"It's time I started playing my own age," said Matthew Broderick. "I'm 24 years old. But because I look younger, producers will keep casting me as a teen-ager."

Broderick, who has earned plaudits for his work on the stage ("Brighton Beach Memoirs") and in movies ("WarGames"), wants only one thing these days--the chance to grow up. He's meeting a lot of resistance. Producers with their eye on the youth market want this slightly built actor to freeze-frame his age at around 17.

He's tired of it.

"That's one of the reasons I said no to the film version of 'Brighton Beach Memoirs' " (Neil Simon's autobiographical hit), he said the other day. "The character in the play is 15. I was 20 when I played it on stage but when they came to shoot the movie, I was 23 and I didn't feel I could do a good job of playing someone so young. I was afraid I'd be a disappointment.

"It was a difficult decision for me. Really difficult. I hate the idea that there's going to be a film around for years with someone else playing that role (Jonathan Silverman now has the part; Gene Saks directed). I don't even think I'll be able to go and see it."

Broderick still hasn't been able to turn his back on his teen-age years. In his new movie, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" (opening Wednesday), he plays another teen-ager. "It's no problem for me doing that," he said, "and I enjoyed making the film. It's just I don't want to get the reputation for being just a cute teen-ager. I'd hate that."

Clearly, whatever age he plays, Broderick is much in demand.

He has earned good reviews for most of his theater work--he was here in Los Angeles last year in "Biloxi Blues"--and with the exception of "Ladyhawke," his movie work has also been praised.

Now he's up in the $750,000-a-film range, though on occasion--as when he worked in "1918" and "On Valentine's Day" for old family friend Horton Foote--he has dropped his price considerably.

One reason he's so anxious to turn his back on teen movies is that he finds a lot of them offensive.

"I remember high school very well," he said, "and in many ways it was quite a difficult time. Yet when you see these films, they suggest that the average student spends most of his time watching naked girls in the shower. It wasn't like that at my school, so watching films like that tends to make you feel a bit of a nerd."

CAREER MOVES: "I didn't intend to stay when I first came here five years ago," said Victoria Tennant. "But this town has been good to me. So now it's home".

Tennant is the British actress who came here in 1981 to play a role in the TV series of Herman Wouk's novel, "The Winds of War."

She came. She liked. And she stayed. And since that time she has worked a lot--TV productions, like "Under Siege" and "Chiefs," and movies, including "All of Me," on which she met her current escort, Steve Martin.

Now she's been signed for the sequel to "The Winds of War," reprising her role as Englishwoman Pamela Tudsbury opposite Robert Mitchum's Pug Henry. She starts filming next month in London.

Tennant also has a new movie for Orion just completed, "Best Seller," in which she's an editor at a publishing house and becomes involved with one of her writers (Brian Dennehy). John Flynn directs.

"For the first time, I get the chance to be sexy on the screen, to wiggle my bottom a little," said the cool-looking Tennant, clearly pleased.

"The other day a television interviewer asked, 'Is that considered acting, then?' I said, 'If you don't wiggle it in real life--and I don't--then, yes, that's acting.' "

TOO LATE: Geraldine Page, this year's Oscar winner for her role in "The Trip to Bountiful," is now in France filming opposite Farrah Fawcett and Tom Conti in "The Beate Klarsfeld Story," an account of how former Nazi Klaus Barbie, "the Butcher of Lyons," was brought to justice.

And she's been intriguing the French press with her stories about Tennessee Williams, with whom she enjoyed a fruitful stage association ("Sweet Bird of Youth," "Summer and Smoke").

"He was a genius all right," she said, "but by the time I got to him, his brains were cooked. If he wrote those wonderful plays in that state of mind, you wonder what he might have written had his mind been straight."

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