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BY DESIGN : Bet They'd Be Superstars in Silent Movies

November 02, 1995|MICHAEL COLTON

When Cindy Crawford makes her film debut Friday in the oft-delayed "Fair Game," she joins a long list of models who have made the leap from magazines to the screen. While Candice Bergen, Andie MacDowell, Isabella Rossellini, Rene Russo and Cybill Shepherd, to name a few, made the transition, others retreated to the comfortable womb of fashion.

Movie roles filled by models have much in common. Not surprisingly, clothes are shed. And voices seem awkward. If the rumor that the re-dubbing of Crawford's lines put off the release of "Fair Game" is true, she can turn to Andie MacDowell for comfort. Her lines in "Greystoke, the Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes" (1984) were actually spoken by Glenn Close.

*

Nudity scale, 1 to 10, if 1 is Katharine Hepburn and 10 is Traci Lords

Acting scale, 1 to 10, if 1 is Tori Spelling and 10 is Meryl Streep

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Model: Christie Brinkley

Film: "National Lampoon's Vacation," 1983

Character: Girl in the Red Ferrari, a girl in a red Ferrari

Best line: "It's too bad you're married. I'm in the mood for some fun."

Nudity: 6 (seduces a bumbling Chevy Chase while naked in a motel pool) (skinny-dipping scene) (seduction scene)

Acting: 4 (Thankfully, her acting career was as short-lived as her last marriage.)

*

Model: Naomi Campbell

Film: "Miami Rhapsody," 1995

Character: Kaia, a married British fashion model who has an affair with married man

Best line: On modeling: "It's not all peaches and cream. It's bloody hard work!"

Nudity: 3 (sex scene (off-screen))

Acting: 2 (Despite reading her lines with all the passion of a dead cat, she has landed a role in Spike Lee's upcoming "Girl 6.")

*

Model: Iman

Film: "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country," 1991

Character: Martia, a yellow-eyed, cigar-smoking, shape-shifting Chameloid who befriends Capt. Kirk (William Shatner) on an asteroid penal colony

Best line: "That was not his knee. Not everybody keeps their genitals in the same place, Captain."

Nudity: 0 (always wears a large fur frock, even while seducing Kirk) (seduction scene)

Acting: 6 (When she morphs into William Shatner, she does a damn fine impression.)

*

Model: Kathy Ireland

Film: "Necessary Roughness," 1991

Character: Lucy Draper, a place-kicker for the Texas State Fighting Armadillos

Best line: "Welcome to foot . . . ball!" (as she kicks an opponent in the groin)

Nudity: 2 (nothing you can't see in an average Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue) (shower scene)

Acting: 4 (We can almost follow the casting director's train of thought: "All right, we got a football movie here. Football . . . sports . . . Sports Illustrated . . . Kathy Ireland . . . Irish Republican Army! Wait, go back one."

*

Model: Elle MacPherson

Film: "Sirens," 1994

Character: Sheela, a free-spirited, lusty model for a controversial painter (Sam Neill)

Best Line: "You lie on the ground with your eyes closed while he licks your belly button."

Nudity: 10 (an astonishing six fully nude scenes, which may explain why MacPherson's new multi-pic deal with Miramax) (skinny-dipping scene)

Acting: 7 (Career advice: Avoid movies in which Hugh Grant engages in a lewd act in public and protests: "We'll be arrested! We'll be excommunicated!")

*

Model: Paulina Porizkova

Film: "Her Alibi," 1989

Character: Nina Ionescu, a Romanian murder suspect who becomes the inspiration for a mystery novelist (Tom Selleck)

Best line: "Can you not feel the twin points of my [breasts] crushed against your chest?"

Nudity: 2 (Despite such lurid dialogue, this one's strictly PG.) (shower scene) (sex scene (off-screen))

Acting: 5 (She's OK, but a part in this "comedy" would be enough to kill anyone's career.)

*

Model: Anna Nicole Smith

Film: "Naked Gun 33 1/3," 1994

Character: Tanya Peters, a nurse at a sperm bank and girlfriend of the villain (Fred Ward)

Best line: "You're all man. I like that in my men."

Nudity: 5 (In an homage to "The Crying Game," it turns out her breasts are not her largest appendage.) (seduction scene)

Acting: 1 (Sorry, kid, but with that voice, you ain't cut out for the talkies.)

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